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ST SALVATOR’S CHURCH, ST ANDREWS.
The Church of St Salvator, or the Holy Saviour, more generally known as the College Church, runs along the north side of the main street of St Andrews, having at its west end a tall square tower, surmounted by a hexagonal spire, resembling that of Glasgow, but smaller and simpler, and at the east end an oriel of three lights. Though kept in a serviceable condition, it is a sad wreck of what it must at one time have been. The stone mullions of the windows, which, from the character of some of the remaining details of other parts, we may suppose to have been rich and beautiful, are all gone, and the arches are filled with panes of glass, held together by narrow wooden sockets, according to the practice of domestic architecture. Some niches and mouldings along the southern side still show defaced remains of old richness and beauty.
The great progress which architecture had achieved in the western states of Europe, beyond all the other arts, which—after the work of the mason had come to a state of perfection vainly attempted to be imitated in later times—were merely struggling into existence and shape, gave the forms of architectural objects and devices a natural predominance in the other branches of textile art. The shape to which the edifice owed its strength and its surpassing beauty, was thus naturally adapted to many other purposes. The statue of the saint was surmounted by miniature emblems of the same pillars and groined arches which covered the lofty choir, and sculpture never appeared without being nearly buried in architecture, of which it was but a mere adjunct. On the sepulchral monuments, and on the fonts and other ecclesiastical utensils, the same forms were repeated. The devices were adapted to shrines, to gold and silver plate, to jewels, and other ornaments of attire—to chairs and tables, and other domestic furniture; and the illuminator of hour-books or saints' legends, having no better choice, transferred the tracery, by which he was on all sides surrounded, in gold and bright colours to his parchment.
But in very few such works have architectural forms and devices been so profusely and gorgeously leaped together as in the rich monument of black marble, erected to the memory of Bishop Kennedy. Towers, pinnacles, crockets, canopies, arches, pillars, mimic doors and windows-all have been thrown together in rich yet symmetrical profusion, at the will of some beautiful and fantastic fancy, as if a fairy palace had been suddenly erected out of the elements of feudal castles, of minsters, abbeys, cloisters, and vaults. So it will appear to the eye in the accompanying engraving, which yet could not give the whole; for on either side within the arch is a deep lateral recess, where a tiny flight of steps descends, as it were, from the airy regions above, to a ground crypt. The entrance of the recess on the right hand is just visible in the engraving. The window tracery on the upper parts is hollow, and has that indescribable lightness so beautifully exemplified on the pinnacles of Strasburg, where it has the effect of ductile lace hung over the solid stone.
A gorgeous silver mace is preserved in the College of St Salvator, which is traditionally said to have been discovered in this tomb in the year 1683, along with five others of inferior workmanship, two of which are preserved in the Divinity College of St Mary's, at St Andrews, while the other three were respectively presented to the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. This species of corporate generosity is not a common occurrence, and would require some confirmation; but whatever may be the real history of the six maces collectively, that preserved in St
ST SALVATOR'S CHURCH, ST ANDREWS. 1-2.
Salvator's at once attests its intimate connexion with the tomb by a remarkable similarity of design-towers, pinnacles, crockets, niches, and other architectural devices, bristling in the silver as they do in the marble, with the advantage that a portion of the statuary, which must have given grace and variety to both, still remains to the mace. Among these little silver figures, mixed with others of the most solemn character, there are some, probably intended to be demoniacal, which exemplify the singular propensity of the decorators of Gothic work to lapse into the ludicrous. An inscription attached to this mace bears that it was constructed in 1461, for Bishop Kennedy, by goldsmith of Paris named Mair.
James Kennedy, the founder of St Salvator's College, was Bishop of St Andrews from 1440 to 1466. He was the last who died with the title of bishop, the see having been made metropolitan under his successor. He was a zealous and able churchman, devoted to his order, and unmindful of his own immediate interests. He lived simply in his own person, but arrogated power, wealth, and grandeur to the church, exemplifying his principles in many munificent donations. He founded and richly endowed the college and church of St Salvator in 1456.* In erecting for himself his costly monument, he appears to have thought that the pomps and vanities which he achieved during life might not unbecomingly await the reception of his mortal remains. His tomb is thus quaintly mentioned by Pitscottie, as his “ lear” or lair. “ He foundit ane triumphand colledge in Sanct Androis, called Sanct Salvitouris Colledge, quharin he made his lear verrie curiouslie and coastlie, and also he biggit ane schip called the Bischopis barge, etc.; and when all thrie were compleit, to witt, the colledge, the lair, and the barge, he knew not quhilk of thrie was costliest; for it was rekoned for the tyme, be honest men of consideratioun, that the least of thrie cost him ten thousand pund sterling." +
Besides their share of damage at the Reformation, the bishop's church and mausoleum suffered from an untoward incident, little more than eighty years ago. From the massive character of the roof, some wise people began to dread that it would fall by its own weight, and proposed to anticipate such a catastrophe by taking it down. They found, however, after it was too late to preserve it, that it was too compact to be taken to pieces; and they were compelled, by severing its juncture with the wall plates, to let it fall in one mass. The effect on the monument, and all the interior decorations, can easily be conceived.
of Cronicles, 167-8.
* Tytler's Scotland, 3d edit., iii. 331. Lyon's History of St Andrews, i. 219.
# Lyon's History of St Andrews, ii. 195.
ST REGULUS' CHURCH AND TOWER, ST ANDREWS.
Close to the vast fragments of the metropolitan cathedral of Scotland stand the ruins—if so a building can be termed of which the stone-work is still nearly entire of the more ancient Church of St Regulus. Beside the red crumbling remains of the great fabric, this small simple church, so nearly complete, would, to a person who saw them both for the first time, without any guides from history or the progress of architecture, convey a distinct idea that it is a more modern building than its majestic companion, which, built no one can tell precisely how many years later, has advanced much farther in decay, and may perhaps be level with the earth when the small relic of an older and simpler ecclesiastical system shall still subsist, to show how substantially, yet how simply, early Christianity took root in Scotland. It is a disputed question whether the Culdees, for whom the Church of St Regulus is reported to have served as a place of worship, were under a hierarchical or a presbyterian polity; but if architectural analogies were allowed to influence such an inquiry, whoever looked upon this old Church would pronounce that the simplest forms of worship alone were pursued within its walls; and he might thus perhaps find a common simplicity, if not meagreness, characterising alike the structures which preceded and those which followed the ages during which Gothic architecture and the Roman Catholic Church together triumphed.
This building, which with all its plainness is singularly interesting, contrasts in every way with the cathedral. It is built with a cold gray stone, while the latter consists of a warm red. The walls of the cathedral have been massive, but ill built, of ruble work; those of the old church are thin, but remarkably well built, with courses of square hewn stone. The cathedral exhibits some scanty traces of ornaments; the old church retains all the decorations it seems to have ever possessed, and they are of the simplest and most unpretending character. The superior style of the mason-work accounts for the state of preservation in which this edifice has reached us. The body of the church is a simple parallelogram, with neither transept nor aisle. It has a wide arch over the doorway-simply circular, but without the massiveness of the Norman, and possessing a slightly nearer approach to the character of the pure Roman. It has been lighted by very small round-arched windows, which, probably having been unglazed, are pitched high in the wall, to prevent as much as possible the sufferings of the congregation from the cold east winds which seldom cease to blow on this exposed rock. The whole imparts, in the thinness of the walls, the want of ornament, and even the clean, regular character of the masonry, a cold and comfortless sensation, very different from the mingled feelings of solemnity and mysterious awe usually experienced within Gothic ecclesiastical edifices. Yet every lover of antiquity must feel gratified that this valuable relic has been allowed to remain in its present state; and that a dread, some time ago entertained, of the possibility of its being fitted up within in modern comfortable style was not realised.
The square tower, fully represented in the plate, is a very conspicuous feature of this building, and its disproportioned size adds by contrast to the thinness and meagreness of the body of the church. Like the rest of the edifice, it is built in courses of finely hewn stone; and in this feature, along with some other details, it resembles the celebrated round towers of Scotland and Ireland, and at the same time has a good deal in common with those towers which in England are generally
ST REGULUS' CHURCH AND TOWER, ST ANDREWS. 1-2.