University of St Andrews

University Library Special Collections


St Mary's College

Images related to the St Mary's College collection

St Mary's College is both the youngest and oldest of the colleges in the University. It is a re-foundation by Archbishop James Beaton in 1538 of the old Pedagogy established by the Faculty of Arts on a site on South Street given to it by Bishop Henry Wardlaw in 1430. The last Principal of the Pedagogy became the first Principal of St Mary's.

The college was re-founded again in 1554 by Archbishop John Hamilton in an attempt to reinvigorate the Catholic church. After the Reformation and the New Foundation of the University Colleges in 1579, Andrew Melville took up office as Principal, and St Mary's became fully established as the home of the teaching of Theology or Divinity as it remains to this day.

Its records date from 1413 and relate to the land, churches and endowments in St Andrews and elsewhere which were administered by the College. There is material relating to professorships from 1692, bursary and mortification papers, prizes and scholarship material from 1554-1889, legal and financial papers from 1658-1897 and correspondence from 1825-1889. Other papers include minutes from 1736-1903, diet books from 1709-1814 and rentals from 1682-1916. Much of the collection is of a domestic nature.

Manuscript or muniment?

Not quite sure what the difference is? Learn about how to distinguish between our different archival collections.

Collection development policy

Discover how the Special Collections Division makes decisions on the development of its manuscript and muniment collections.

Current projects

Read about the exciting projects the Archive team is currently working on, and those that have been completed recently.