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Lindores, Lawrence of, ? 1372-1437, Rector, University of St Andrews, Scotland

Biographical Information

Occupation, Sphere of Activity

Lawrence of Lindores was born around 1372, and studied at the University of Paris from 1393.

He was the first philosopher recorded at the University of St Andrews, and he became the leading figure in its early days, being Principal Regent of Pedagogy and Rector and Governor of the University. Under Lawrence, the University of St Andrews adopted the Paris system of division into four Nations.

From an early date Lawrence took a strong grip on the Arts Faculty, holding the post of Dean of the Faculty from 1416, and Bursar from 1426-1428. He was probably the driving force behind the aggressive claim of the Faculty, at the end of 1424, to be the sole judge of its liberties and powers. This was seen as a threat to the mother University, and steps were taken to systematise the office of Dean, to introduce assessors, and to make the Bursar, then Lawrence, answerable for his accounts. King James I used this rivalry between Bishop-Chancellor Wardlaw and Lawrence, to petition the Pope, in 1426, to transfer the University from St Andrews to Perth, in line with the King's policy of bringing the Scottish Church under royal control. This move failed, but it made the academic community aware of its common interests.

In 1418, Robert of Montrose, rector of Cults, granted property and annual rents to found a college of theologians and artists, dedicated to St John the evangelist, under Lawrence as first Master, Rector, and Governor. Aware of the threat from the King, the Chancellor gave the new College of St John his full patronage. As a further step toward promoting discipline and harmony, it was decided, in 1430, to suppress the private houses of regent masters in favour of a single Pedagogy, linked with the College of St John, under the unifying influence of one master, Lawrence of Lindores and two colleagues.

Lawrence exercised a unifying influence by reason of his great reputation as a scholar, by his tenure of offices both in the University of St Andrews and the Faculty of Arts, by the powers of his purse, and his strong personality. Many years after his death his name was still a force in the University.

He was the Papal Inquisitor of Heretical Pravity in Scotland, whose main job was to root our heresy, and who is now mainly remembered for burning heretics, including Paul Craw. His works were widely read in Continental universities over the succeeding one hundred years and were Copernicus' source of knowledge of medieval physics.

He died around 1437.



Other Significant Information


Honours, Qualifications and Appointments

1416: Dean of Faculty of Arts, St John's College, St Andrews

1419: Master, Rector, and Governor of St John's College, St Andrews

1426-1428: Bursar, University of St Andrews

1430: Rector and Governor of the University of St Andrews


List of sources for the biographical information:

Dunlop, A.I., Acta Facultatis Artium Universitatis Sanctiandree, 2 Vols., (, Oliver & Boyd, 1964)

Rules or Conventions

Authority record created according to the National Council on ArchivesRules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names (NCA Rules)1997 and International Council on Archives: Ad Hoc Committee on Descriptive StandardsInternational Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families (ISAAR)CPF1995.

Author and Date of Biographical History

Personal name authority record compiled for the GASHE project by John O'Brien, Glasgow University Archive Services, 15 August 2002