Henry Wardlaw

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Bust of Bishop Henry Wardlaw.

Henry Wardlaw (died 6 April 1440) was a Scottish church leader, Bishop of St Andrews and founder of the University of St Andrews.


He was a son of II Laird of Wilton Henry Wardlaw who was b. 1318, and a nephew of Walter Wardlaw (d. 1390), Bishop of Glasgow, who is said to have been made a cardinal by the antipope Clement VII in 1381.

Educated at the universities of Oxford and of Paris, Henry Wardlaw returned to Scotland in about 1385, and his influential connections obtained him several church benefices. He passed some time at Avignon, and it was while at the papal court that he was chosen Bishop of St Andrews; he was consecrated in 1403. Returning to Scotland, he acted as tutor to the future King James I of Scotland, and finished the work of restoring the cathedral at St Andrews. Having helped to bring about the release of James from his captivity in England, he crowned the king in May 1424, and afterwards acted as one of his principal advisers. He appears to have been an excellent bishop, although he tried to suppress the teaching of John Wyclif by burning its advocates.

Wardlaw's chief claim to fame is the fact that he was the founder of the University of St Andrews, the first university in Scotland. He issued the charter of foundation in February 1411, and the privileges of the new seat of learning were confirmed by a bull of the Avignon Pope Benedict XIII, dated 28 August 1413. The university was to be "an impregnable rampart of doctors and masters to resist heresy."


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Wardlaw, Henry". Encyclopædia Britannica. 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  •  Henderson, Thomas Finlayson (1899). "Wardlaw, Walter". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 59. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  • McGladdery, C. A. "Wardlaw, Henry (c.1365–1440)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/28722. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
Religious titles
Preceded by
Gilbert Greenlaw (unconsecrated)
Bishop of St Andrews
(Cill Rìmhinn)

Succeeded by
James Kennedy
Academic offices
Preceded by
New creation
Chancellor of the University of St Andrews
Succeeded by
James Kennedy
Bishop of St Andrews