Disclaimer and a Picture

Dear Readers,
Today is Graduation Week in St Andrews, and tomorrow is the day I receive my own degree (in mediaeval history, of course!) so I am afraid to say that it may be a few days before regular posts resume. I thought it might be fun, however, to share a few photos I’ve collected over the years of St Andrews’ and the University’s mediaeval heritage over the next week.

Facsimile papal ‘Bull’ for the foundation of the University of St Andrews, (1413), on display at the University’s Museum.

To do so, I thought it best to begin at the beginning, with the foundation of the University! This began in 1411, when several faculty members came together to start teaching in this small seaside town in Scotland (at that time, one of the country’s largest centres) but only became official in 1413 with papal confirmation.

Today’s photo is only the facsimile of this confirmation document, since the original is not on display, but it certainly conveys the gravitas of a Papal Bull. Named after the bulla, or lead seal used to authenticate the document, this text established the university, gave its students immunity from local secular authorities, and laid out the principals of its self governance. Now, if only my diploma could look so grand….


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