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Prior of St Andrews

The Prior of St Andrews, Robert de Montrose, had
precedence over all the other priors and abbots of
Scotland in the days of King Robert III. It happened
that a certain monk by the name of Thomas Plater was
jealous of the good Prior Robert, who ruled the priory
with a firm hand. Plater managed to obtain possession
of a dirk, which he concealed within his robe, and re
solved to put the good prior to death.

It was well known that each evening after vespers
Prior Robert walked in a certain direction through the
darkened cloisters to his dormitory. One night, as he
was about to climb the stairs to his sleeping quarters,
the Monk Plater leapt out of the shadows where he had
been hiding and stabbed the good Prior. But the hurried
stabbing did not prove to be immediately fatal and the
victim lingered on in pain for three days. Before he
died he managed to reveal the identity of his attacker.
Plater was tried and found guilty of murder. He was
sentenced to solitary confinement in a cell for life but
did not live very long after being sentenced. His ghost
was doomed to haunt the cathedral and its grounds in
the coming centuries.

The ghost of Plater was said to appear when the
priory bell was sounded to call the brethren to vespers.
One reported sighting was of the evil-looking face of a
monk looking out from one of the windows in one of
the cathedral towers.

At one time, when part of the priory was being restored, a number of human bones were discovered and
reburied. The story is also told of how the apparition of
a monk dressed in a long robe appeared beside the bed
of a local hotel worker and conveyed the message that
he was the ghost of Thomas Plater and the masons
working in the priory buildings had disturbed his remains. The apparition continued to appear at intervals, and arrangements were made for the skeletons which had been found to be exhumed and buried in consecrated ground.

In one of the vaults of the priory an altar was erected
and an appropriate service held. The service was con-
ducted by a Benedictine monk and the local priest in
July 1898, over five hundred years after the murder.
However, in recent years the ghost of a monk has been
seen again in St Andrews and it is possible that the
bones of the murderer still remain in unconsecrated
ground.

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