Melville, Andrew

Melville, Andrew

Melville, Andrew, 1545-1622, Scottish religious reformer and scholar. He studied abroad, came under the influence of Theodore Beza, and was a professor at Geneva. He was principal (1574-80) of the Univ. of Glasgow; in 1580 he became principal of St. Mary's College, St. Andrews, and in 1590 he was made rector of St. Andrews. He reorganized the Scottish universities and greatly broadened their educational scope. However, Melville's greater task was the molding of the Scottish church; upon him fell the mantle of John Knox. He was entrusted (1575) with drawing up The Second Book of Discipline and was largely responsible for the introduction of a presbyterian system into the somewhat tentative church organization developed by Knox. A foe of prelacy and of royal supremacy, Melville asserted the independence of the church, which brought him into conflict with the court party of James VI (later James I of England). He was called before the privy council on a charge of treason in 1584 and fled to England, but shortly returned to Scotland. He was several times moderator of the general assembly. Melville's struggle to protect the independence of the Scottish church continued. In 1606 he and other clergymen were summoned to confer with James I, but no settlement was reached. Melville offended the court by his harsh criticism of the king and particularly by a Latin epigram directed against Anglican practices. In 1607 he was committed to the Tower of London, where he remained for four years. On his release he was allowed to teach at Sedan, France, a leading Calvinist center. Melville wrote a number of Latin poems of some merit. The standard biography is that of Thomas McCrie (1819).

Andrew Melville Hall is a student hall of residence of the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

It is named after Andrew Melville, a 16th century Scottish scholar, theologian and religious reformer who was a graduate of the University.


Designed in the New Brutalist style by the renowned architect James Stirling, Andrew Melville Hall was built during a major expansion of the University in the 1960s using prefabricated concrete modules. Errors in construction meant that extensive remedial work was required over several decades. Plans for further buildings to the same design were abandoned.

It is of a striking design and is situated prominently at the North Haugh on a ridge overlooking the St Andrews Links. The design of the hall resembles a ship passing at sea, a common theme of the architect's style.

It has become an important architectural landmark and has been ranked number 12 in the top 100 Scottish buildings of the last 50 years. Despite this, many students and townsfolk continue to regard it as an eyesore.


During the academic year around 250 students (both male and female) live in Melville, the vast majority of these in single rooms. Every room looks out over surrounding parkland, inhabited by a large number of wild rabbits. The hall is divided into five blocks, designated A, B, C, D and E. Blocks A and B are usually occupied by male residents, however for the first time in 2008 there are 8 girls staying on the top floor of A block. Blocks C and D remain generally female residents, and E is often a mix.

Each block is divided up into a number of floors accessed through a central stairwell from the ground floor concourse. Typically each floor consists of eight study-bedrooms arranged in two groups of four on either side of the stairwell, a number of showers/bathrooms and a pantry. The buildings' striking geometry is reflected in the irregular octagonal shape of the bedrooms. Blocks A, D and E have glass enclosures similar in shape to a garden greenhouse atop them to provide natural light to their stairwells; this has led to the top floor of block A being called "the greenhouse".

The hall itself has three common rooms in the central block, as well as a library and study room off the main concourse in E block and similarly a computer and study room at the end of A block. It is a catered residence, with three meals a day being served other than on Saturday and Sunday, when students can prepare food for themselves in the three communal kitchens which are situated on the main concourse.

While the main access to the hall is from the North Haugh, the central block's staircase leads to a path to David Russell Apartments, the nearby Sports Centre and playing fields. In the summer vacation the residence is open for use by conferences and block bookings.

As all residences in the University of St Andrews, it has a number of staff and students that contribute to its running. Various groups contribute to the operation and maintenance of the hall. A warden's team is responsible for student welfare, discipline, and has oversight for community development. A student committee elected by the residents, headed by the senior student, is responsible for student matters. A residence management team is responsible for the day to day running of the residence, including catering, house services, and maintenance


  • Kenneth Frampton, "Andrew Melville Hall" Architectural Design Sept. 1970
  • Scotsman Newspaper, "Blue-sky buildings"
  • Architectural Opinion
  • Best 100 Modern Scottish Buildings of last 50 Years (AMH Number 12)

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