Historic Scotland

Opening times

Open year-round.

 

Overview

Explore the cliffside site of the earliest collegiate church in Scotland.

St Mary’s Church was built in 1123 as a permanent home for the Culdees, an order of Celtic monks who rejected the new monastic orders of the Middle Ages. Known as 'St Mary on the Rock', it was next to the new priory at St Andrews Cathedral, but outside its wall.

In 1249, the Culdees became the first college of secular priests in Scotland. The college thrived for more than 300 years, until the Protestant Reformation of 1560.