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Fraser's Scottish Annual
The Stones of St Andrews


THE ancient city of S. Andrews has many charms. Indeed, few places even in Scotland can yield more to the imagination and the mind. If you are in search of the picturesque you will find it here. You will find it in the rugged sea-beaten coast, crested by spires and towers and buildings great and small, beaten upon by the waves of the cold and stern North Sea. You will find it too within the city, in the quaint irregular streets of the older portion, the dwellings of the people broken again and again unexpectedly by fragments of the rare old architecture of the past in college, and monastery, and church. If you are in quest of knowledge the gates of the earliest of the Scottish universities are open to you, and the very atmosphere of history will be about you in the halls, and class-rooms, and college walks. Or you may be simply in search of a place of summer recreation. You can recreate your powers here in' truth, for are not the links of S. Andrews world. famed as the home of the ancient and royal game of golf, and do not the winds austere and pure from the North Sea brace you up as you tramp over the ground? And if there is anything in environment, in recreation, and there surely is, the very sight of the ancient little city famous in story ought to help you to drive the ball with a will.

But if you are a student of history, especially if you are of Scottish blood with an instinct for history, you will find S. Andrews a veritable treasure trove. You may take your stand on one of a number of spots, on the' old fisher quay, on the rocks that jut out to sea, or on the face of the cliffs above the rocks and the quay, and without changing your position you may read in the stone fragments about you the past religious history of Scotland.

There, half way up the cliff is a black hole, all that remains of a very ancient cave; above, a high square tower, built about by the walls of an ancient church; just beside it, occupying a great portion of the open ground, are broken pillars, broken walls, ragged masonry reared skyward, and with here and there windows telling of the presence of a once great cathedral; and, breasting the sea, as if growing out of the solid foundation rock, the rugged walls of a storm beaten castle. In these four memorials you may read the religious history of Scotland from the earliest Christian period to the time of the Reformation. I would carry you in thought to this ancient ecclesiastical capital, leaving out of view for the present the quest of the picturesque or any other purpose, and trying to read in these memorials the story of the past.

The cave on the face of the cliff first engages the attention. There is little within it to interest or attract, only the black rock around and above and the cold sea breeze blowing in, yet it is a place of greater importance than many a pretentious building, for here can be read on the rock walls one of the first pages in Scottish church history. The constant tradition testifies that here a man of God, Regulus or Rule by name, held communion with God, and from this humble place went out to teach the Gospel to the pagan natives.

When we make enquiry as to who he was, whence he came, and how he was led to this place, we are met by uncertainty. It is improbable that there is historic basis for the legend which tells of the coming of a monk of Constantinople of the fourth century who, bearing as a precious relic certain bones of the Apostle Andrew, was cast up on this stern coast.

More probable is the tradition which speaks of the Christian missionary as one from the Column- ban band of Iona; whether he belonged to the earlier period of missionary activity in Scotland, or to the later Columban brotherhood, the picture is fascinating and highly instructive. As we think of him in his solitary communion with God and in his active service for God, we are at one of the sources of the religious life of Scotland. As we trace the course of that influence from this and other fountains through the centuries we feel that the Cave of Regulus, weird and silent, is a great teacher.

But up there above the cliffs, like a sentinel on guard over the sea, is a high square tower. About this tower is built a simple little chapel, oblong, and with no architectural feature whatever. The sight of it at night when it rises black against a moonlit sky and moonlit sea, like the spirit of the past, is impressive. On these walls may be read the second page of the religious history of Scotland. It was named in honour of that Regulus of the earlier time. It is probably a "Culdee" church dating back even to the year 1000 A.D. The difficult question as to the relation of the Columban and Culdee activity in religious work in Scotland would carry us far beyond the limits of this sketch. This church, in brief, represented the Christianity which combined the activities of Columba and his disciples with other and previously independent labours. They were not "Roman Catholics." They did not acknowledge the authority of the Bishop of Rome. The form of government and order of divine service appears to have been in part Episcopal and in part akin to our Presbyterian order. Although corruptions crept into even this simple community, the chapel of S. Regulus was a light shining in a dark place, and within its walls many a rude native has listened to the Gospel message. Here we are at the heart of things, for S. Andrews is even now gradually taking its place as the ecclesiastical capital of the land.

But close to the tower of S. Regulus the ruins of a once great cathedral command attention. Here and there masses of masonry rise; here and there are bases and portions of massive pillars; here and there are portions of doorways and windows of the period of transition from the rounded Norman to the pointed Gothic. Nature, in kindness, spreads many a green leaf and much grass over the shattered wreck, for this is all that remains of the Metropolitan Church of Scotland. How came it to be here so close to the little chapel of S. Regulus, almost obliterating it by its magnificence? Two tides here met,the "Roman," powerful through the influence of the good Queen Margaret, the Saxon Princess of the eleventh century, who brought to the home of Malcolm Canmore the power the Rome, and the earlier Scottish known as the "Culdee." At first these two forces occupied the land independent of each other, but at last the earlier gradually passed out of sight and "Roman" Catholicism prevailed. On the walls of this cathedral, built in the fourteenth century, many a page in Scottish church history may be read. Amid the growing power and corruption of the priesthood the reformed teaching was beginning to be felt. About the year 1400 John or James Resby, an Englishman, under the spell perhaps of the work of John Wyclif, told the Gospel. In the year 1433 Paul Crawer (or Craw), a Bohemian physician, suffered martyrdom before the college gates because he would loyally proclaim the evangel. As the pride and corruption increased the power of the Reformation became more profoundly felt, and men listened to the dying testimony of the learned and nobly born Patrick Hamilton, as in 1527 he sealed his fidelity with his life. He died, but not in vain. "The reik of Patrick Hamilton (as one of the enemies of the Reformation said), infected as many as it blew upon."

At this point we turn from the cathedral and associate it with the storm-beaten castle. It may be that little of the actual building of the period immediately before the Reformation survives. But here the proud Cardinal Beaton dwelt, and here in 1546, looking from a window, he watched the burning of the saintly George Wishart. But this is not all. Amongst the refugees who occupied this castle after the tragic death of the Cardinal, one John Knox was found. He was urged to become their minister and leader. In this castle his decision was reached, and from this place he went forth and Scotland was free.

The children of the Scottish race at home and abroad cannot afford to forget these things. They may be made memorable by a visit to this grey city breasting the North Sea. The cave and the chapel, the cathedral and castle yield their stores to those who have sympathy and imagination and knowledge, and tell of the great things of the past and of the treasure handed down.

DAFT Will Law was the descendant of an ancient family, and was often taken notice of by gentlemen. Posting through Kirkcaldy, he was met by Mr. Oswald, of Dunnikier. He asked him where he was going in such a hurry. "Going," says Will, with apparent surprise, "I'm gaun to my cousin, Lord Elgin's burial." "Your cousin Lord Elgin's burial, you fool. Lord Elgin's not dead," replied Mr. Oswald. "Deil ma care," said Will, "there's sax doctors oot o' Embro' at him, an' they'll hae him deid afore I win forrit."

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