St Andrews history brought to life in new app

Picture: Google Play
Picture: Google Play
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SIR SEAN CONNERY is to be the voice for a new mobile phone app which brings to life the medieval history of St Andrews.

The Medieval St Andrews app - which is being made freely available in time for St Andrew’s Day - was officially launched at the St Andrews University today.

In one swipe, hundreds of years of the town’s rich history will be brought to life in the innovative app which features 22 important medieval sites and the earliest map of St Andrews.

The app features “guest appearances” by honorary alumni Sir Sean Connery and Joanna Lumley.


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Both feature in selected excerpts on the university’s history and collections; Sir Sean Connery from the specially commissioned 600th anniversary film “Ever to Excel” and Joanna Lumley’s audio commentary on the Museum of the University of St Andrews collections.

The makers behind the app hope that it will develop a new understanding of the buildings and spaces of medieval St Andrews in a creative and innovative way.

The app brings together historic material and archaeological data donated by local and national bodies, as well as the university’s own important archive material and the treasures of its library.


The interactive experience - which will initially be launched for android devices before being made available in the Apple store by Christmas - allows users to interact with multimedia that layers medieval text with interactive 3D digital reconstructions of the medieval buildings of the town, alongside audio commentary by historians explaining the significance of sites.

Designed by academics working across the university, the app is the result of a multidisciplinary effort involving computer scientists, classicists and historians, all with a collective interest in the medieval history of St Andrews.

At a special event in St Andrews on Thursday, Higher history pupils from Dunfermline High School were given a sneak preview of the app in action.

The project team was led by Dr Katie Stevenson, a senior lecturer in Late Medieval History and Director of the Institute of Scottish Historical Research at the university.

She said today/yesterday [FRI]: “A group of historians were already team-teaching a module about medieval St Andrews, but it wasn’t until we got together with archaeologists, architectural historians and computer scientists that we realised we could pool our expertise, resources and skills to create something significant to help others benefit from our knowledge and research.

“What is particularly special about the app is that at its core is the work of St Andrews’ postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

“A computer science postgraduate designed the prototype for the app, our Open Virtual Worlds research group created the 3D visualisations and our historians and art historians have provided the context and audio commentary.”

Amongst the 22 key sites are St Andrews Cathedral, St Rule’s Church, Greyfriars and the University’s own St Mary’s College.

Brand new, never before seen digital reconstructions of key medieval buildings, including the town’s Tolbooth (removed in the nineteenth century to make way for traffic), the West Port, St Andrews Castle and St Salvator’s Chapel are also embedded into the app.

The app was supported by the National Library of Scotland -- who donated use of the 1580 Geddy map; Historic Scotland, who donated new and previously unknown material on the St Andrews sites; St Andrews Museum and Fife Council’s Archaeology Department, who provided local data for the sites.


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