Bow Butts *
Bow Butts is an open piece of grassy
parkland to the east of the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse. It provides
a panoramic view of the West Sands, the
Bruce Embankment and along the cliffs by the Scores. Today the
area is a pleasant recreation spot. In the summer visiting bands
entertain people from the bandstand, Ice cream and teas are served
from the Pavilion and there is easy access to the SeaLife Centre
and the British Golf Museum.
The area is dominated
by the obelisk of Martyrs' Monument, erected in memory of four
St. Andrews martyrs ... Patrick
Hamilton, Henry Forrest,
Paul Craw and Walter
Myln; who were each burned at the stake for their beliefs.
Their martyrdoms helped to usher in the Reformation in Scotland.
The name Bow Butts originates from the ancient
requirement on all able bodied men to be able to bear arms in
time of war, the weapon of choice being bow and arrow. Bow Butts
was the archery range for St. Andrews.
golf and football (soccer) in Scotland had become so popular that
James II of Scotland enacted a
ban on them on Sundays, saying that they were to be "utterly
cryit doun and not usit".
Men and boys twelve years and older were
expected to participate in the archery competitions held four
times a year. Those who didn't turn up were taxed two pence to
help pay for the drink served to those who did particpate.
Archery at the Bow Butts continued as a
sport until the 18th century, by which time its neccessity for
national defense had diminished and it had become more of a sport
encouraged by the university. Save for the Royal Company of Archers,
St. Andrews University now holds the largest collection of archery
medals anywhere. The tradition being that the winning archer presented
a medal to the university at his own expense.
Looking along the cliffs
over the water, is the location of "Witch Lake". Suspected
witches were cast into the lake. If they drowned they were innocent.
If they floated it was evidence of sorcery on their part and they
would be hauled off and burned at the stake. In time the area
was used for an outdoor swimming pool, "The Step Rock",
which has more recently been converted to the SeaLife Aquarium.