St Andrews is a university town and former royal burgh on the east coast of Fife in Scotland. The town is named after Saint Andrew the Apostle. St Andrews has a population of 16,680, making this the fifth largest settlement in Fife. There has been an important church in St Andrews since at least the 8th century, and a bishopric since at least the 11th century. The settlement grew to the west of St Andrews cathedral with the southern side of the Scores to the north and the Kinness burn to the south. The burgh soon became the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland, a position which was held until the Scottish Reformation.
The famous cathedral, the largest in Scotland, now lies in ruins. The town is home to the University of St Andrews, the third oldest university in the Englishspeaking world and one of the UK’s most prestigious. The University is an integral part of the burgh, and during term time students make up approximately one third of the town’s population. St Andrews is also known worldwide as the “home of golf”. This is in part because the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, founded in 1754, exercises legislative authority over the game worldwide (except in the United States and Mexico), and also because the famous links (acquired by the town in 1894) is the most frequent venue for The Open Championship, the oldest of golf’s four major championships. Visitors travel to St Andrews in great numbers for several courses ranked amongst the finest in the world, as well as for the sandy beaches.
The Martyrs Memorial, erected to the honour of Patrick Hamilton, George Wishart, and other martyrs of the Reformation epoch, stands at the west end of the Scores on a cliff overlooking the sea. The first inhabitants who settled on the estuary fringes of the river Tay and Eden during the mesolithic (middle stone age) came from the plains in Northern Europe between 10,000 to 5,000 BC. This was followed by the nomadic people who settled around the modern town around 4,500 BC as farmers cleaning the area of woodland and building monuments. In 906AD, the town became the seat of the bishop of Alba, with the boundaries being extended to include land between the River Forth and River Tweed. The establishment of the present town began around 1140 by Bishop Robert on a L-shaped vill, possibly on the site of the ruined St Andrews Castle. According to a charter of 1170, the new burgh was built to the west of the Cathedral precinct, along Castle Street and possibly as far as what is now known as North Street. This means that the lay-out may have led to the creation of two new streets (North Street and South Street) from the foundations of the new St Andrews Cathedral filling the area inside a two-sided triangle at its apex. The northern boundary of the burgh was the southern side of the Scores (the street between North Street and the sea) with the southern by the Kinness Burn and the western by the West Port. The burgh of St Andrews was first represented at the great council at Scone Palace in 1357.