Deans Court

Deans Court is a student hall of residence at the University of St Andrews, and arguably the oldest dwelling house in the city of St Andrews, Scotland. It lies at the east-end of St Andrews, between where both North street and South street commence. The entrance of the courtyard opens up to the ancient, ruined, St Andrews cathedral. The Hall is open exclusively to postgraduates, and comprises the main building and four annexes, two on North Street, two on South Street.

History

The main building of Deans Court has its origins in the twelfth century, when its vaulted core served as a section of the Archdeacon's house. Today, the vault is used as the dining hall. A small armorial plaque, moved from its original site, bears the arms of James Haldenstone, Prior from 1418 to 1443. Although most Priory lands were seized during the Reformation, Deans Court was saved by Sir George Douglas, an elder of the Parish Church who had helped Mary, Queen of Scots, escape from imprisonment at Loch Leven. Douglas remodelled Deans Court around 1585, adding a round-arched foot-gate in the courtyard and possibly extending the property to the west.

In the 17th century, at least a section of the building was home to Sir James Gregory, an astronomer and mathematician who was Professor of Mathematics at the University from 1668 to 1674. The building was Victorianized in 1876 and became home to the Stirling family, whose coat of arms can still be seen above the archway to the inner garden. The building served as an annexe of St Leonards School for several years until 1930, when the property was acquired for the University by Sir James Irvine, and was heavily renovated over the subsequent two decades. It was re-opened as a postgraduate hall of residence in 1951, and is now home to some 50 students. The University's coat of arms can be seen over the main door way, along with the University's motto, ΑΙΕΝ ΑΡΙΣΤΕΥΕΙΝ (Greek: Ever To Be The Best)