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8 - The Burgh of St Andrews and its Inhabitants before the Wars of Independence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 April 2017

Matthew Hammond
Affiliation:
Research Associate at the University of Glasgow and a former Lecturer in Scottish History at the University of Edinburgh.
Elizabeth Ewan
Affiliation:
University Research Chair and Professor, History and Scottish Studies, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario Canada
Julian Luxford
Affiliation:
Julian M. Luxford is Senior Lecturer at the School of Art History, St Andrews University.
Matthew Hammond
Affiliation:
Research Associate, University of Glasgow
Michael H Brown
Affiliation:
Professor of Medieval Scottish History, University of St Andrews
Katie Stevenson
Affiliation:
Senior Lecturer in Late Mediaeval History, University of St Andrews Keeper of Scottish History and Archaeology, National Museums Scotland
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Summary

THANKS to the remarkable survival of the text of a charter of Robert, bishop of St Andrews (1127–59), our understanding of the foundation of a burgh as the kingdom's premier ecclesiastical centre, St Andrews, is better than for many much larger royal burghs. Dating to between 1140 and 1159 (and possibly to 1152), Robert's charter relates that King David I (1124–53) had provided the bishop with one of his burgesses of Berwick-upon-Tweed, Mainard the Fleming, a man whom numismatic sources reveal was a royal moneyer there. It was Mainard who ‘started to build and stock the said burgh from scratch’, a task which prompted the bishop to make him the burgh's first grieve. The burgh was founded around the same time as the Augustinian cathedral priory, which A. A. M. Duncan has argued definitively dates to 1140. St Andrews was certainly the first episcopal burgh in the kingdom, and probably the second non-royal burgh, after the abbot of Holyrood's burgh of Canongate. In the 1140s its harbour would have made a convenient stopping point between the burgeoning trading centres at Berwick and Perth; by later in the century, how-ever, many other such ports acquired burghal status under the king and his relatives, notably Inverkeithing, Kinghorn, Crail and Dundee.St Andrews' burgesses quickly acquired full parity with the king's, obtaining a charter in 1160 from King Máel Coluim (Malcolm IV, 1153–65) granting them the same rights as his own royal burgesses across the kingdom. Surviving as a contemporary single-sheet manuscript, this is the earliest surviving royal charter to a burgh in the kingdom (see figure 8.1). A persistent theme of the burgh's early history was its tendency to keep pace with royal burghs in terms of developments in governance and trade.

Settlement and commerce had certainly preceded the burgh's foundation. As the seat of the kingdom's top bishop, with the shrine of St Andrew acting as a magnet for pilgrims, the church settlement on the headland had long been a place where people came together and mixed. Archaeologists have noted the significance of Kirkhill, near the harbour, as the centre of early settlement.

Type
Chapter
Information
Medieval St Andrews
Church, Cult, City
, pp. 141 - 172
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2017

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