Highly ranked and draped in tradition, the University of St Andrews is both the first university in Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking world. But where did this seat of endless innovation and academic excellence begin?
The seed for St Andrews University was first planted in 1410 after a cluster of Augustinian clergymen formed an academic society with classes and lectures in divinity, logic, philosophy and law. Before this, Scotland was starved of any real learning institution. Due to the Scottish Wars of Independence, Scots students had no choice but to seek academic enlightenment abroad and left Oxford and Cambridge for Paris. Something had to be done.
Scots were left in an even greater predicament due to the two duelling popes — Pope Boniface IX favoured by the French cardinals and Pope Benedict XIII supported by the Scots. Thanks to its status as the leading Scottish bishopric and its learned monastery, St Andrews was the perfect place to soothe academic turmoil and Scotland’s students. By 1411, the classes proved so successful that they led to a charter of incorporation and privileges from Henry Wardlaw, the Bishop of St Andrews. All this attention garnered its status as a safe haven of higher learning and a ‘properly constituted corporation’. Still, it wasn’t a recognised university.
The Bishop sought official ‘university status’ from Pope Benedict XIII, who was in exile. Albeit a prisoner to England, King James also expressed his approval and voila — the good Pope accepted the application in 1413 and sent six papal bulls, which took five whole months to reach St Andrews from his hideout in Peniscola. The bulls descended upon Scottish soil in 1414 and the rest, as they say, is history!
Time went on and the university’s reputation continued to soar. The year 1544 witnessed the banning of beards, the possession of weapons, gambling and football. By 1897, the University joined with a college in Dundee, a union which lasted until 1967. A momentous year, 2009 saw St Andrews take the crown as the first Scottish ancient university to appoint a female Principal. There’s no telling what the next centuries will bring.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.