In this humble little town of ours we are fairly big fans of tradition. Educating people of the past history that surrounds and embodies our ancient neck of the woods. Today is one of the days that most celebrates what has been before, both in terms of town and university, and serves as a pretty good reminder to all of how each is entwined to the other. Every year there are various people who come out of the woodwork to bemoan the KK as well as the pomp and ceremony, however, I think whatever your opinion of the KK they do uphold the tradition of the Procession.
For those not so aware of what this is, it is a procession around the town, made up of a collection of the most important people who make up the history of St Andrews. It starts with St Andrew himself (whose remains –or some thereof – where brought to the town, giving the place its name, and the country a patron saint) and the University crest. From there is goes on through people who founded the University and members of the church, noblemen who have made significant contributions to the world and are linked to either Town or Gown, the martyrs, a solider to represent those who died in the wars, to leaders of the University, Lord Rectors, and some famous graduates and professors.
One of the highlights (and surely the most fun to play) is Kate’s Jester, bringing a little light relief by trying to gain Kate’s attention and giving out sweets to the assembled crowd.
Others, such as Archbishop James Sharp, getting hauled from his carriage and brutallymurdered by the covenanters, or Robert Fergusson staggering down the street (usually play by someone who’s drunk) swigging from a bottle of port always draw large applause.
The end of the procession is Lady Katherine Kennedy, niece of Bishop Kennedy (a founder of the University) who accompanies her, in the carriage. She is obviously at the heart of the KK and is played by who they deem to be the most promising bejant in the club and, unlike the rest of the 130 or so characters, it is unknown to the public who shall play her until she rides out of United College Quad in her carriage.
The number of people who turn out every year for the event is certainly standing proof of its importance. As the procession passes Holy Trinity church on South Street, past the Lord Provost of Fife andother local dignitaries, every character is read out and it is explained why they are included. Whilst I firmly believe in looking forward to what is coming I think that it is important to remember those who have gone before us, especially those with similar ties to this little corner of Scotland as we ourselves do. Without some of these people, especially the former rectors, we would not have Peter Pan (J M Barrie), The Jungle Book (Rudyard Kipling), and of course The Man from the Ministry of Silly Walks (John Cleese; above).