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Castles and Historic Buildings of Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland

 Castles of Scotland - St Andrews Castle

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St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland

St Andrews Castle is located in Royal Burgh of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland. The castle is built on a rocky promontory overlooking the adjoining North Sea. There has been a castle standing at the site since the 12th century. The site is protected by steep cliffs to the north and east, and thick curtain walls and rock cut ditches on the other sides. The stone castle built around 1400 had five square towers with ranges along the inside of each length of curtain wall, and other buildings in outer courtyards to the south and west. A disturbing feature of the castle is the Bottle Dungeon - a bottle shaped pit dug into the rock below the Sea Tower and only accessible through the narrow neck through a trap door from the floor of tower vault. The castle is open to the public, and there is a visitors centre.

The castle was modified by Archbishop James Beaton in the early 16th century with the addition of large gun towers, and the installation of heavy carriage-mounted guns. In 1546, a Protestant preacher, George Wishart, was burnt at the stake in front of the castle walls. In reprisals, Cardinal David Beaton was murdered at the hands of local Protestant lairds who captured the castle. This was followed by a siege where the attackers tried to get in to the castle by digging a tunnel under the castle. The defenders dug a "countermine" to intercept the tunnel and hold off the attackers. Visitors today can go down the countermine and into the tunnel. The siege ended in 1547 when a French fleet which reduced the castle to ruins. The castle was rebuilt, but after The Reformation of the Scottish Church in 1560 the castle declined and over time started to fall into disrepair.

In 1606 passed to the Earl of Dunbar, although ownership returned to the church before the castle finally fell into ruin. In 1656 the burgh council used stones from the castle to repair the pier. The main structures remaining principal remains are part of the south wall enclosing a square tower, the "bottle dungeon," the kitchen tower, and the underground mine and counter-mine.

Other Castles in the Area
  Balgonie Castle, Fife
  Ballinbreich Castle, Fife
  Broughty Castle, City of Dundee
  Claypotts Castle, City of Dundee
  Collairnie Castle, Fife
  Dairsie Castle, Fife
  Dudhope Castle, City of Dundee
  Fernie Castle, Fife
  Kellie Castle, Fife
  Lordscairnie Castle, Fife
  Newark Castle, Fife
  Pittarthie Castle, Fife
  Ravenscraig Castle, Fife
  Scotstarvit Tower, Fife

Scotstarvit Tower
St. Andrews Castle

Photograph by Euan Nelson. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Scotstarvit Tower
St Andrews - Castle - Fore Tower, Hamilton facade

Photograph by Rob Farrow. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Scotstarvit Tower
The Castle from Castle Sands

Photograph by Nikki Mahadevan. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

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