Saint Andrews, Priory of
SAINT ANDREWS, PRIORY OF
Former monastery of canons regular of st. augustine, attached to the former cathedral of Saint Andrews, East Fife, Scotland (Latin, Prioratus Sanctiandree in Scotia ). It was founded in 1144 from Nostell Priory, Yorkshire, by Bp. Robert of Saint Andrews, an Austin Canon, with the collaboration of King david i. It was intended to replace the virtually laicized Celtic community of culdees, established there perhaps as early as King Angus I (731–761). In 1147, Pope Eugene III confirmed the canons' exclusive right to elect the bishops.
The "Culdees," probably losing all that was monastic and Celtic, survived as a juridical body, becoming a collegiate church of secular canons (St. Mary's on the Rock, c. 1250); they intervened in elections up to 1255, being excluded definitively by Pope Boniface VIII in 1298 or 1299. The priory soon became the leading house of Austin Canons in scotland, where the order enjoyed a prestige it achieved nowhere else in Europe. However, the priory suffered from civil disorder, from the side effects of the western schism, from disputed elections and curial interference in the 15th century, from the imposition of unworthy priors by royal nomination after 1483, and finally from the practice of commendation imposed in 1538.
Yet throughout, Saint Andrews retained remarkable vigor and influence, attaining a period of real greatness under Priors James Bisset and John Haldenston (1393–1443), and was admired by historians Walter Bower (in the 1440s) and Hector Boece (in the 1520s). It had a grammar and a song school in the 15th century. Prior James Bisset was one of the founding fathers of St. Andrews University in 1414, and the priory remained closely connected with university affairs, especially in the theology faculty. Prior John Hepburn (1483–1522) founded St. Leonard's College on the model of Standonck's Montaigu. Andrew of Wyntoun (d. c. 1420 ), author of De Orygnale Cronykil of Scotland, and W. Bower (d. 1449), continuator of J. de Fordun's Scotichronicon, were both canons of the priory.
During the reformation, Saint Andrews became a focal point of both Catholic and Protestant reforming ideas. G. Logic, the Lutheranizing principal of St. Leon-ard's College, although not a canon, trained many of the community, and in the 1550s the influence of both Zurich and Geneva was evident there. James Stewart, illegitimate son of King James V of Scotland, was made commendator in 1538; he later became the political leader of the Protestant party, 1558–70. In 1560 the priory ceased to be a religious community, but the legal fiction of a body of canons was continued until 1592 when it was made a temporal lordship. In 1560 the names of 28 canons can be recognized; the Subprior John Winram (d.1582) became an ambiguous leading figure in the new Reformed Church in which 12 or more of the canons took service, but others are recorded as remaining true to the old faith. In June of 1559 the cathedral, at least, had been "purged" by the Reformers under John knox; the extent of the damage done is disputed, but the buildings rapidly became ruins. The meager remains are today a public monument.
Saint Andrews Priory made no new foundations but annexed three earlier priories: Portmoak, or Loch Leven, an ex-Culdee house (1152–53); Monymusk, another ex-Culdee house (before 1245); and Pittenweem, or Isle of May, formerly Benedictine (before 1318).
Bibliography: Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree in Scotia, ed. t. thomson (Edinburgh 1841). j. haldenstone, Copiale Prioratus Sanctiandree, ed. j. h. baxter (Oxford 1930). Early Records of the University of St. Andrews, ed. j. m. anderson (Edinburgh 1926). Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers, ed. w. h. bliss et al. (London 1893–). Acts of the Lords of Council in Public Affairs, 1501–1554, ed. r. h. hannay (Edinburgh 1932). johannis de fordun, Scotichronicon cum supplementis et continuatione Walteri Boweri, ed. w. goodall, 2 v. (Edinburgh 1759) 367–376. g. martine, Reliquiae Divi Andreae (St. Andrews 1797) 160–201. Hist. Mon. Comm., … Fife … (Edinburgh 1933) 228–250. s. cruden, The Cathedral of St. Andrews (Edinburgh 1950). g. w. s. barrow, "The Cathedral Chapter of S. A. and the Culdees," The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 3 (1952) 23–39. d. e. easson, Medieval Religious Houses: Scotland (London 1957) 78–80, 82, 191.