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St Andrews Cathedral Priory - 1318


The Reconstruction

St Andrews Cathedral was once the largest and most important church in Scotland. In the late fifteenth century the chronicler Walter Bower described St Andrews Cathedral as ‘the lady and mistress of the whole kingdom’. There has been a religious site in St Andrews since the early Middle Ages. In the 1160s work began on a vast new cathedral, replacing the church now known as St Rule’s. The rebuilt cathedral was eventually consecrated in July 1318 in the presence of King Robert the Bruce. St Andrews Cathedral served as a major religious centre until 1559, when it was ‘reformed’ by Protestant activists who made a bonfire of its religious images. In the years after the Reformation the cathedral gradually fell into ruins. When Dr Samuel Johnson visited in the 1770s he commented on the ‘poor remains’ of a formerly ‘spacious and majestic building’. This reconstruction shows the cathedral in about 1318. It was created by researchers at the University of St Andrews. The cathedral site is now managed by Historic Scotland, and a version of the reconstruction can be seen in their visitor centre.

Project Team


Sarah Kennedy, Iain Oliver, Alan Miller

Specialist Advisors:

Richard Fawcett (University of St Andrews), Rebecca Sweetman (University of St Andrews)


Ways to Access the Reconstruction


Research and Design

Historical Research

How the Reconstruction Was Made

A digital landscape was created using survey data and height map. Models were created in 3D modelling programs and imported into OpenSim (an online, opensource, cross-platform, 3D multi-user virtual environment). The models were then scaled, orientated and assembled. The landscapes were populated with flora and fauna. Where applicable, models of characters and animals were imported and animated.