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St Rule's Tower is located in the grounds of St Andrews Cathedral but predates the cathedral we see today by at least 100 years. It is believed it was part of the church that was on the site of the cathedral until the early 12th century.
St Rule's Tower was retained during the construction of Saint Andrews Cathedral (which took some 100 years to build), to allow worship to continue uninterrupted. It is believed that the tower and adjoining choir were part of this church built around the 11th century to hold the relics of St Andrew. Legend credits St Rule (also known as St Regulus) with bringing relics of St Andrew to Scotland from their original location at Patras in Greece.
At 33m St Rule's Tower for its date is immensely tall, and would have been seen from both land and sea from many miles away, to guide pilgrims to the place of the Apostle's relics.
In the Middle Ages a spire atop the tower made it even more prominent. The tower was originally ascended using ladders between wooden floors, but a stone spiral staircase was inserted in the 18th century.
Today all we have left of the original church is St Rule's Tower, we can get an idea of what the original church would have looked like as it is illustrated in stylised form on some of the early seals of the Cathedral Priory.
If you have a head for heights and a long spiral stair case we would highly recommend climbing the stair to the top of St Rule's Tower to get superb views over St Andrews town, the harbour, and surrounding countryside.
St Rule's Tower is in the custody of Historic Scotland.