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University’s ‘hidden treasure’ to be revealed

The University of St Andrews hopes to reveal a new view in the historic town – an ancient ‘hidden treasure’ unseen for far too long.

Currently obscured by a forbidding wooden door, the picturesque garden of St John’s House and the Department of Mediaeval History will soon, it is hoped, be in the public eye once more.

St John’s Garden is located between a number of listed buildings on South Street and its access point in Market Street. The garden and its adjoining properties were owned by the Knights Hospitaller of the Order of St John and the actual use of the garden can be traced at least as far back as John Geddy’s panoramic map of St Andrews of 1580. An archaeological excavation in the garden in 1999 uncovered its late medieval soil and a wide variety of medieval pottery.

Thanks to local effort and a unique partnership between the University, the St Andrews Pilgrim Foundation, the St Andrews Preservation Trust and St Andrews World Class, the garden will be hidden no more as a result of the proposed replacement of the present unattractive entrance with a more fitting wrought iron gate (similar to that which offers a view into St Mary’s College on South Street) beneath a new stone arch.

In addition, the project will include the garden being replanted in accordance with its historic character, refurbishment of the exteriors of the wall and garages at either side of the new gate and repair of the pavement adjoining it.

If planning permission is granted, residents, visitors and those who work in St Andrews will be able to enjoy a view of what will become a highly attractive feature of one of the town’s main thoroughfares. It is hoped that the work, which will be in the hands of local craftsmen, can begin in the near future.

Commenting on this development, the University Principal, Dr Brian Lang, said, “I am delighted by the prospect of this beautiful addition to the town’s landscape and particularly pleased by the nature of the partnership whose members have so enthusiastically brought their vision to fruition. I am most grateful to the Pilgrim Foundation and the Preservation Trust.”

Maries Cassells, Trustee of the St Andrews Pilgrim Foundation, commented that, when her late husband initiated the Foundation, he had in mind just such an exciting and beautiful project to enhance the conservation of the town through the joint working of like-minded organisations.

Anne Morris, Chairman of the St Andrews Preservation Trust, added that the Trust had always maintained that there are few towns with their medieval footprint as well-preserved as it is in St Andrews and that she was, therefore, extremely grateful to the University and the St Andrews Pilgrim Foundation for inviting the Trust to play its part in the restoration of such a significant and historic feature of the town.

ENDS

NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS:

‘BEFORE AND AFTER’ IMAGES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE – CONTACTS BELOW.

Issued by Press Office, University of St Andrews

Contact Gayle Cook, Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk

Ref: New view 130307

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