16th Century and Before

Welcome to the Renaissance! Here you can explore the history of St Andrews up until the turn of the Seventeenth Century. Explore people such as John Napier and John Major in themes such as mathematics and logic.

Scottish Mathematician John Major (1467-1550) worked in Paris and St Andrews teaching logic and theology. He studied at Cambridge for around a year before furthering his studies in France.

He contributed to a range of fields, including ethics, metaphysics, theology, biblical commentary, history and (above all) logic, at which he especially excelled. Furthermore, he did considerable work in legal human rights granting human rights to the so-called “savages” conquered by the Spanish.

John Napier (1550-1617), was a Scottish landowner, mathematician, physicist, astronomer and discoverer of logarithms. He is credited with the invention of the so-called ‘Napier’s bones’ (a calculating device), and made common the use of the decimal point.

He was enrolled in St Salvator’s College in the University of St Andrews at the age of 13, and it is suspected that he left Scotland to further his education in mainland Europe.