Kate Kennedy Crest

Timeline of The Kate Kennedy Club

We celebrate a long history shaped by St Andrews and all those who have graced its streets. The archives we keep are full of stories of kings, queens, academics, revolutionaries (and some badly behaved students), all of whom have left their mark on the town, and the town on them.

See Timeline

The beautiful Lady Kate comes to town.

Legend has it that the original Kate Kennedy lived during the fifteenth century and visited her uncle, Bishop Kennedy of St Andrews come Springtime. Kate was so beautiful that every time she came to the Auld Grey Toun, the citizens would gather in order to catch but a glimpse of her face.


The Procession is Forbidden.

Spring celebrations got more and more turbulent until the general chaos claimed its victims: during the festivities in 1891, two ships collided in St Andrews Bay. The majority of students were too drunk to help the drowning and wounded sailors. As a result, the University Court banned the Procession.

The Club is Founded and the procession is reinstated

Two students at The University of St Andrews, James Doak and Donald Kennedy were galvanised by J.M Barrie's rectorial address "On Courage". They formed the Kate Kennedy Club and, assisted by Principal Sir James Irvine, reinstated the procession which has become a highlight of the calendar ever since.

Shipwreck on West Sands (circa 1891) from Special Collections

War prohibits festivities

The Second World War marked the last break in the annual pageant until the 2020/21 Pandemic. Principal Irvine forbade the tradition as he was afraid that St Andrews students might be accused of “fiddling while Rome is burning”. However, after the end of the War, the Principal restored the festivities as well as the Kate Kennedy Bell. It rings at the start of each procession to celebrate peacetime.

The Cosmos Centre Opens

On the 1st July, 1971, Princess Anne opened the Cosmos Centre. As one of the original donors, the Club has endeavoured to continue supporting the invaluable services the centre provides to the local residents of St Andrews. Alongside our financial donations, Club members volunteer their time to assist with the running of the after-school club, organising games with the kids and helping Diane and her team with the errands.


Women are admitted into the Club

At a meeting of the Kate Kennedy Club on Monday 19 March 2012, a formal motion was proposed to allow all first-year students, regardless of gender, to apply for membership to the Kate Kennedy Club. The motion was duly passed. Ever since, outstanding women have contributed greatly towards the club's successes. The Club continues to diversify membership through a universal application process and encourage forward thinking individuals.

Lord Lyon presents the Kate Kennedy Club with Arms

In March 2012, the Lord Lyon King of Arms presented the Kate Kennedy Club with Arms designed by Ormond Pursuivant Mark Dennis. The Kate Kennedy Club Arms are described officially as follows:

"On a cartouche parted per saltire Argent and Azure a chief Gules, a cartouche Argent a chevron Gules between three cross-crosslets fitchee Sable with a double tressure flory counter-Flory Gules suspended from and encircled by a true lover's knot and ribbons Or, and on a wreath of the liveries Argent Sable and Gules is set for crest a bishop's mitra pretiosa Proper displaying on both flanks a cross-crotchlet fitchee Sable, and on an escroll over all the motto: EVER YOUNG AND GRACEFUL."