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Bruce and Beaton return to St Andrews with tales of bloodshed and bibles.

26 August 2010


St Andrews Castle played an important role in the lives of many colourful and controversial characters in Scottish history.  And this Sunday, 29th August, there’s a chance to meet some of the most famous – including Robert the Bruce, John Knox and Cardinal Beaton -  as they return to the ruins of this once powerful stronghold to share their fascinating stories and tell tales of St Andrews’ brutal and bloody past.

Bruce, Beaton, Bibles & Battles – from 12.30pm to 3.30pm on Sunday – features a costumed cast who’ll bring to life these iconic figures from our country’s past and the drama of their days.  And in addition to meeting them and hearing of their exploits, visitors to Sunday’s family event will also be able to explore Bruce’s 14th-century camp and see weaponry displays and demonstrations.  Youngsters will also get a chance to learn if they have what it takes to become a recruit in the king’s army.

Nick Finnigan, Historic Scotland Events Manager, said: St Andrews Castle is a great venue for Bruce, Beaton, Bibles & Battles because it was the setting for so many incredible events which determined the course of Scottish history.  In the run-up to the 1560 Reformation, political intrigue, plotting and murder were rife, and our characters will be providing an insight into those dramatic times.  

“Cardinal Beaton, for example, who vehemently opposed the move to closer political ties with Henry VIII’s Protestant England, had the Protestant preacher George Wishart burned in front of the castle.  This resulted in Beaton’s own murder and the great siege of 1546-7 when John Knox was one of the garrison.  I’m sure visitors of all ages will find the tales of these incredible events captivating.”

Bruce, Beaton, Bibles & Battles is included in the cost of admission to St Andrews Castle (adult - £5.20; child - £3.10; concession - £4.20; Historic Scotland members - free).  The programme is as follows:

12.30 :  Meet the cast - The key characters are introduced

12.45 :  Robert the Bruce  - Hear Bruce’s story up to the famous Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, and watch demonstrations of military tactics and weaponry

1.15   :  An Army for the King - Young recruits are needed to fight for Robert the Bruce’s army

1.45   :  Aftermath of Bannockburn - Robert the Bruce tells of events in Scotland after the victory

2.00    : George Wishart – Meet this preacher, Reformer and martyr of the 16th century whose attack on the clergy led to massive civil unrest.

2.15    : Bullets, Billhooks and Breastplates - Find out why warfare in the 16th century was so bloody and brutal

2.45    : Cardinal Beaton – Hear how the staunch and resolute Cardinal intends to keep Scotland in the old faith

3.00     : Wishart`s Return - Witness Wishart`s end at St. Andrews and the aftermath following his death

3.15     : John Knox - With fire and brimstone, the infamous preacher takes up the gauntlet of Reform

3.30     : Farewell – the cast departs to a volley of muskets



  • St Andrews Castle is situated in St Andrews on the A91. Postcode KY16 9AR. Tel: 01334 477196.

  • On a headland to the north of St Andrews, the ruined castle was once the main residence of the bishops and archbishops of St Andrews – the focal point of the Church in medieval Scotland.  Cardinal Beaton was murdered here in 1546.  Today, visitors can explore the underground 16th-century siege mine and counter mine and the ‘bottle dungeon’.  There is also a visitor centre with exhibition.

  • St Andrews Castle is just one of 345 outstanding heritage properties and sites in the care of Historic Scotland.  Ranging from prehistoric dwellings to medieval castles, and from cathedrals to industrial buildings, these include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country. Among the most popular are Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles, Skara Brae, and the Border Abbeys.  For further details of all of Historic Scotland’s sites visit:

  • Historic Scotland’s Mission is: to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.

For further information, interviews and images

Ellen Drummond Ferroni
0131 668 8685 / 07801 820757