Statue to honour university founder

Bishop Henry Wardlaw
Bishop Henry Wardlaw

A MEMORIAL statue to Bishop Henry Wardlaw, founder of St Andrews University, is to be unveiled this summer to mark the 600th anniversary of its foundation.

It was on February 27, 1412, that Bishop Henry Wardlaw granted a charter of incorporation to a group of 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, and Bishop Wardlaw’s charter is incorporated in the Papal Bull of August 28, 1413.

Behind the initiative is Dr Barbara Crawford, director of the Strathmartine Trust, who, along with trustees and patrons, led a fundraising appeal and commissioned a bronze statue by the renowned Kilmany-based sculptor, David Annand.

Dr Crawford, an honorary Reader in history at St Andrews University, said: ”The statue is a contribution to the 600th anniversary commemoration and, at the moment, in the process of being cast at Powderhall Foundry.

“We have raised the total cost of the sculpting and the casting in bronze, due to many generous donations, including some from local trusts.

“The preliminary total was £65,000, but there are additional costs because of some adornment to the episcopal cope which the statue will be shown wearing, and which is modelled on the saintly figures on the Arts Faculty mace, gifted by Wardlaw to his new foundation, and which may have been in origin his own episcopal crozier.

“The figure is shown in his episcopal vestments, with crozier in his left hand and the Papal Bull in his right hand.

“His mitre is copied from the surviving remains of Wardlaw’s effigy, which can be seen in the cathedral museum.”

The chosen location for the statue, agreed with the university, is on the lawn in St Mary’s Quadrangle, being close by the site of Wardlaw’s initial foundation.

The unveiling will take place on June 29 during a reunion weekend – aptly Dr Crawford’s own year’s 50th graduation anniversary – by university Chancellor, Sir Menzies Campbell.

The Strathmartine Trust was founded in 1999, by the late Ronald Gordon Cant, to encourage and support the study of Scottish history. The Strathmartine Centre in St Andrews is an independent study centre equipped with library, study and meeting rooms which are intended primarily for independent researchers, retired people with historical interests and visiting scholars.