The resurrection of Bishop Wardlaw
A new statue of Bishop Henry Wardlaw, founder of the University of St Andrews was unveiled in the grounds of St Mary’s College on Saturday (June 29, 2013), near where the first college building (St John’s College) and Wardlaw’s pedagogy are known to have existed.
The new statue is modelled on the surviving remains of Bishop Wardlaw’s effigy, held in the Cathedral Museum – the effigy’s head having been found hidden in the Cathedral’s perimeter wall, its torso having been put to purpose as a window lintel on South Street, and its accompanying plaque having been discovered as a South Street paving stone in the 19th century.
The project is the brainchild of Honorary Reader in History Dr Barbara Crawford OBE, taken forward by the Strathmartine Trust – and has been made possible by the donations of friends, alumni and town residents keen to ensure that Bishop Wardlaw is remembered as the founding father of the University.
On 27 February 1412 Wardlaw granted a charter of incorporation to the scholars and students based in his Cathedral of St Andrews. This was the Foundation Charter of the first Scottish University, ratified by Pope Benedict XIII. Bishop Henry’s charter is incorporated in the papal bull of 1413, which arrived in St Andrews in February 1414 to be greeted by lavish celebrations.
What’s more, the account of the contemporary chronicler Walter Bower tells us that Wardlaw was kind and liberal, slight of build but pleasant in personality, and also credits him with building the bridge over the Eden at Guardbridge.
He has been resurrected by sculptor David Annand, whose previous works include a sculpture commemorating The Declaration of Arbroath, a figure celebrating the 70th Birthday of Seamus Heaney and his poem ‘Digging’, and the Kelty Miner commissioned by local miners in Fife.
Dr Barbara Crawford said:
“David Annand’s statue is going to provide a monumental and dramatic enhancement of the open space of St Mary’s College Quadrangle and the whole University environment. I hope very much that the unveiling of this statue on Saturday commemorating the founder of the University on its 600th anniversary will be an occasion for both the University and the local community to join together in welcoming this commemorative sculpture and in rejoicing and celebrating Bishop Wardlaw’s achievement.”
Sculptor David Annand said:
“Winning this commission and working on it has been a terrific privilege and massive learning curve. Studying the artefacts from the 15th century has given me a serious lesson in the incredible skills of the craftsmen of that time.
“Anyone with the tiniest knowledge of stone carving would see, from the remains of Wardlaw’s tomb effigy, that it was a superb piece of carving and skill. It also proved to be an invaluable reference for his mitre and his various accoutrements. I would recommend a visit to the Museum of St Andrews (MUSA) just to see the mace there which is a demure masterpiece of gold and silversmithing.
“I must thank Barbara Crawford, Richard Fawcett and all the members of the Strathmartine trust for their patience and good council through the whole commission. Finally, the staff of the foundry, Powderhall Bronze Ltd in Edinburgh were brilliant in helping me to make the sculpture a suitable tribute, not just to craftsmanship but to a Bishop of great vision.”
The new statue was officially unveiled by Chancellor Sir Menzies Campbell at a ceremony in St Mary’s Quadrangle.
Notes to News Editors
The statue cost £70,000 to create, funded entirely by generous donations, while the University of St Andrews met the cost of the plinth and engraving.
For details of sculptor David Annand and his work visit: www.davidannand.com
Supporters of the fundraising campaign include: the Royal and Ancient Championships Ltd, The St Andrews Pilgrim Foundation, The Kinburn Charitable Trust, The Cookie Matheson Charitable Trust, The After Many Days Club, The Kate Kennedy Club, The Tay Charitable Trust, and The Binks Trust.
Category University news