Ancient Monuments

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Dominican Friary, 25m south of Blackfriars' Chapel, St Andrews

A Scheduled Monument in St Andrews, Fife

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Latitude: 56.3386 / 56°20'19"N

Longitude: -2.798 / 2°47'52"W

OS Eastings: 350763

OS Northings: 716538

OS Grid: NO507165

Mapcode National: GBR 2R.4MB1

Mapcode Global: WH7RZ.ZYS3

Entry Name: Dominican Friary, 25m S of Blackfriars' Chapel, St Andrews

Scheduled Date: 22 February 1994

Last Amended: 30 October 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13321

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: friary

Location: St Andrews and St Leonards

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: St Andrews

Traditional County: Fife


The monument is the remains of the medieval Dominican Friary in St Andrews, also known as Blackfriars. The friary was in existence by 1464 and was destroyed in 1559. The monument includes the upstanding remains of the N transept of a chapel built in the early 16th century. The transept has a vaulted roof and an unusual semi-octagonal apse at the N end; it measures about 12m N-S by 11.5m transversely. The monument also includes ground S of the transept where there is very high potential for buried archaeological remains of the remainder of the chapel and other friary buildings. The monument lies 20m above sea level on the S side of South Street, immediately N of Madras College. The monument was last scheduled in 1994, but the documentation did not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of all modern structures including modern walls, a flagpole, iron railings, signs, and street furniture. The scheduling specifically excludes the top 30cm of all roads, pavements and areas of hard standing.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it preserves the last upstanding portion of St Andrews' Dominican Friary and can make a significant addition to understanding and appreciation of Scotland's medieval religious houses. The upstanding N transept retains many structural and decorative characteristics, including a very unusual N apse. In addition, there is high potential for significant buried remains of other parts of the friary church and conventual buildings to survive, with the capacity to transform knowledge and understanding of the friary. The friary's chapel and conventual buildings would have been important and prominent parts of the medieval townscape, and the N transept remains an important feature in today's urban landscape and a visible reminder of St Andrews' medieval past. Historical documents provide a context for the development and then dissolution of the friary. The end of the friary coincided with momentous historical events in St Andrews in 1546-7 and 1559, which saw respectively the burning of George Wishart and murder of Cardinal Beaton, and a visit and sermon by John Knox. Our understanding of the character of medieval friaries in Scotland would be diminished if this monument was lost or damaged.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NO51NW 5, NO51NW 5.01, NO51NW 89.01.

Fawcett, R, 2011 The Architecture of the Scottish Medieval Church 1100-1560, p.365. New Haven and London.

In 2013, part of the monument was a property in the care of Scottish Ministers (St Andrews: Blackfriars Chapel).
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Blackfriars Chapel, St Andrews
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Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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