Sallies Quad

Sallies Quad, or more formally, the United College of St Salvator and St Leonard, is one of the oldest remaining parts of the University of St Andrews and sits at the heart of the town, both geographically and spiritually. Former intern in the Development Office, Naomi Boon, investigated the history of the Quad and how it has changed over the University’s 600 year history…

The steeple of St Salvator’s Chapel is a well-recognised sight in the St Andrews skyline and is a rare but stunning example of the town’s late gothic architecture. The chapel was founded in 1450 as a part of Bishop James Kennedy’s College of the Holy Saviour and despite a long and varied history, remains the central hub of the University, popular with students and tourists alike.

old quad pic

Photo courtesy of Special Collections, University of St Andrews library

The college tower rises above the main entrance to the old college. It was originally finished with a flat summit, but a stone spire was added in the mid-16th century.  The oldest photographs show a clock featuring on the tower from the earliest times, situated immediately below the belfry.


Photo courtesy of Special Collections, University of St Andrews library

Today, the chapel is a mixture of old and new. It bears the scars of religious strife but remains a beautiful, living building much used by both students and staff. It is today very much as it was intended to be by Bishop Kennedy: the heart of the University.

The Quad has served a wealth of functions throughout the University’s history, hosting foam fights on the lawn on Raisin Weekend, to the old glassed-in cloister which has served as a social space for generations, from a space for the debating society, to a functioning gymnasium.

“The Gymnasium I remember vividly on the South side of the Quadrangle. It was a great meeting-place on wet afternoons. We had no instructor, and were left to the freedom of our own wills, so did not learn much. I am afraid the most popular bit of apparatus was the trapeze, used simply as a swing.”

Robert Stewart, University of St Andrews student, 1879-81.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Photo from 1911, courtesy Special Collections, University of St Andrews library

The refurbishment of St Salvator’s Quad in 2015 has ensured that this historically important space will remain a focal point of University life for many years to come. This redevelopment was one of the University’s 600th Anniversary fundraising initiatives.

One of the main objectives was to introduce a hidden infrastructure to allow the Quad to be a venue for major events, such as international celebrations, important community events and graduation parties. This was made possible by replacing the degraded tarmac with hard-wearing flagstone, restoration and extension of the central lawn, ramps making the space safer and more accessible, as well as installing hidden power, water and lighting for events.


In 2016, additional work was done to refurbish the appearance of the clock tower

The redevelopment captured the imagination of over 1,500 donors, whose generous support raised in excess of £700,000. Alumni from every corner of the globe responded to the flag stone campaign, with accompanying stories and special memories from their time at St Andrews.

graduation in the quad

Photo courtesy of the University of St Andrews

Thanks to the special Anniversary gifts given by generous alumni, the refurbished Quad is ready for future generations of students to enjoy and for another 600 years of memories to be made.


Photo courtesy of the University of St Andrews

These flagstones proved incredibly popular with donors wishing to see their loved one’s name etched into the future of the Quad. A second wave of flagstones was released at the end of 2016 and there are still a few available for alumni and friends to inscribe. For further information, visit

 For further information on the Quad and its wonderful history, see


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s