Although known worldwide as the `Home of Golf', St Andrews was also the ecclesiastical powerhouse in Scotland for centuries prior to the Reformation. Author Gregor Stewart takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the town's past, unearthing tales of double crossing and infighting while introducing the reader to the nefarious characters who were jostling for power. He reveals connections between St Andrews and the order of the Knights of St John, who owned buildings in the town, and James Gregory, who laid a meridian line from his laboratory that pre-dates Greenwich by 200 years and is now widely credited as the `place where time began'. The book also explores the macabre: St Andrews was a centre for execution, using an early version of the guillotine, and there are descriptions of the fates of those accused of witchcraft and heresy. Secret St Andrews delves beneath the surface of this attractive university town, revealing a lesser-known and less savoury history that even most local residents don't know.
Gregor was born and raised in St Andrews, Fife, where he first became interested in history. He initially started out writing books about the paranormal, however, for Gregor, saying a place was haunted was not enough; he wanted to delve into the history behind the haunting. The levels of research carried out inevitably uncovered many other stories and facts, which were not related to the supernatural, that lead Gregor to start to write local history books. Having worked in Dundee for around two decades, Gregor welcomed the opportunity to research the industrial past of the city and explore how this has helped shape the city.