30th of November – St Andrew’s Day (Andersmas)

St Andrew, apostle. Saints Sapor and Isaac, bishops; Mahanes, Abraham, and Simeon, martyrs, 339. St Narses, bishop, and companions, martyrs, 343.

Born. – Jonathan Swift, humorous and political writer, 1667, Dublin; John Toland, sceptical writer, 1669, Ireland.
Died. – Euripides, tragic dramatist, 406 B.C.; Maurice, Marshal Saxe, 1750, Castle of Chambord; James Sheridan Knowles, dramatist, 1862, Torquay.


St Andrew was the son of Jonas, a fisherman of Bethsaida, in Galilee, and was the brother of Simon Peter, but whether elder or younger we are not informed in Scripture. He was one of the two disciples of John the Baptist, to whom the latter exclaimed, as he saw Jesus pass by: ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’ On hearing these words, we are informed that the two individuals in question followed Jesus, and having accosted him, were invited by the Saviour to remain with him for that day. Thereafter, Andrew went in quest of his brother Simon Peter, and brought him to Christ, a circumstance which has invested the former apostle with a special pre-eminence.

After the Ascension, the name of St Andrew is not mentioned in the New Testament, but he is believed to have travelled as a missionary through Asiatic and European Scythia; to have afterwards passed through Thrace, Macedonia, and Epirus into Achaia; and at the city of Patra, in the last-named region, to have suffered martyrdom about 70 A.D. The Roman proconsul, it is said, caused him to be first scourged and then crucified. The latter punishment he underwent in a peculiar manner, being fastened by cords instead of nails to the cross, to produce a lingering death by hunger and thirst; whilst the instrument of punishment itself, instead of being T-shaped, was in the form of an X, or what is termed a cross decussate. We are further informed that a Christian lady of rank, named Maximela, caused the body of St Andrew to be embalmed and honourably interred; and that in the earlier part of the fourth century, it was removed by the Emperor Constantine to Byzantium, or Constantinople, where it was deposited in a church erected in honour of the Twelve Apostles. The history of the relics does not end here, for we are informed that, about thirty years after the death of Constantine, in 368 A.D., a pious Greek monk, named Regulus or Rule, conveyed the remains of St Andrew to Scotland, and there deposited them on the eastern coast of Fife, where he built a church, and where afterwards arose the renowned city and cathedral of St Andrews. Whatever credit may be given to this legend, it is certain that St Andrew has been regarded, from time immemorial, as the patron saint of Scotland; and his day, the 30th of November, is a favourite occasion of social and national reunion, amid Scotchmen residing in England and other places abroad.

The commencement of the ecclesiastical year is regulated by the feast of St Andrew, the nearest Sunday to which, whether before or after, constitutes the first Sunday in Advent, or the period of four weeks which heralds the approach of Christman. St Andrew’s Day is thus sometimes the first, and sometimes the last festival in the Christian year.

*  For more on St Andrew.

On this Day in Other Sources.

After a world of business and turmoil, wherein the state of Scotland was plunged and tossed in by a political and ambitious judge, to whose determination they, in a parliament at Perth, had foolishly submitted that which only belonged to them properly to judge of; at last King Edward of England, for his own private ends, to the great detriment of the Scottish commonweal, against all law and equity, discerns in favour of John Balliol, who was accordingly solemnly crowned at Scone, the last day of November, in 1292, not without the contrary protestation of many of each estate present; the greatest being absent. 

– Historical Works, pp.77-88.

It may surprise some readers to find a charter bearing the style of John, King of Scots, and dated the tenth year of his reign. John Balliol, whose reign dates from his coronation [on 30th] November 1292, is generally said to have resigned his kingdom to his liege lord, Edward, in July 1296. The Scotch Envoy at Rome in 1300 formally denied that transaction, and asserted that Edward, after sending Balliol into England to prison, used the seals, which he had taken forcibly from the Chancellor, for fabricating the letters of resignation.1 He maintained that John was still King of Scotland; and, whatever may be the truth with regard to Edward’s forging Balliol’s resignation, it was then the policy of Scotland, in its desperate struggle, to put forward the unhappy John as its rightful king.

– Sketches, pp.172-203.

1  Fordun, XI. 63, quoting the pleading of Baldred Bisset, the Scotch Envoy at Rome.

Onuphrius [Panvinius] notes that [Angelo Corario, Cardinal of San Marco] was created at Rome [Gregory XII. on] the last day of November [1406]; against this Pope, says he, there sat at Avignon, Pedro [Martinez de] Luna, called [antipope] Benedicte XIII. one whose manner of life and conversation differed very much from his birth. 

– Historical Works, pp.144-152.

On the 30th November, 1509, the king confirmed [John Morrow] in his office of sheriff, making it hereditary, and granted “for his good service” a tack of the lands of Peelhill, with the small customs of the Burgh of Selkirk.1 To his many other possessions there was added the splendid mansion on the south side of the High Street of Edinburgh, which had been built by the Lord Chamberlain, Alexander, Lord Hume.2

– Scots Lore, pp.364-374.

1  Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. ii. 3388. 
2  Mylne. The Master Masons of Scot. p. 15. John Murray had a house in Paisley also. See page 89, supra.

Perhaps the part of the Chronicle of the Curate of Fortirgall which may prove most useful, is his record of the weather, – of good and bad seasons, and of the consequent fluctuation of the prices of victuals. The first noticed by him is 1554, when there was frost and snow “whiles” before Andersmas (30th November),.. 

– Sketches, pp.341-394.

We have some trace of these men in the Lord Treasurer’s accounts as inmates of the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. On the 30th of November, [1567,] thirty-two pounds are paid to Andro Lindsay, keeper of that prison, for the furnishing of meat and drink to Robert Elliot, alias Clement’s Hob, and Archy Elliot, called Archy Kene. On the same day, twenty-three pounds four shillings are disbursed for a month’s board in the same black hotel, for ‘Robert Elliot, called Mirk Hob; Gavin Elliot, called Gawin of Ramsiegill; Martin Elliot, called Martin of Heuchous; Robert Elliot, son to Elder Will; Robert Elliot, called the Vicar’s Rob; Robert Elliot, called Hob of Thorlieshope; Dandy Grosar, called Richardtoncleucht; and Robert Grosar, called Son to Cockston

– Domestic Annals, pp.35-44.

An unlucky wight who disregarded this injunction is thus dealt with a few weeks after the date of the order: “Robert Thomsone is fund in the wrang and amerciament of Court for the lifting of the myd tre of the Port beside the Castelyett, it being lockit, and the porter at his denner, at his awin hand, and entering thairat, it being lockit, and dwme gevin thairupoune.”1

– Old Glasgow, pp.162-175.

1  30th November, 1574.

The last of November, this same year, [1592,] John Colquhoun was beheaded at the cross of Edinburgh, for murdering [Humphry] the Laird of Luss, his brother. 

– Historical Works, pp.340-416.

Nov. 30 [1623]. – ‘… about nine hours at night, there appeared like a rainbow in the west, the moon shining clearly in the east, with some rain in the meantime, whereat many wondered.’ – Cal

Upon the last day of November, [1624, due to the pest,] the president and other lords of Council and Session, meeting together, resolve to rise, and continue the session till the 8th of Januar.’ – Cal

– Domestic Annals, pp.177-227.

In the last paper, Rev. James Morrison, Urquhart, a corresponding member of the Society, contributed a notice of a sculptured stone of the early Celtic type recently discovered at Easterton of Roseisle, near Burghead. 

The Society then adjourned to St. Andrew’s Day, 30th November next [1895].” 

– Scots Lore, pp.335-340.

Associated Words from Jamieson’s Scottish Dictionary.

ANDRIMESS EWIN, s. The vigil of St. Andrew; the evening before St. Andrew’s Day. Chart. Aberbroth.


ANDYR’S-DAY, ANDROIS MESS, ANDERMESS, s. The day dedicated to St. Andrew, the Patron Saint of Scotland; the 30th November. Jamieson’s Pop. Ball.

4 thoughts on “30th of November – St Andrew’s Day (Andersmas)

Leave a Reply