RESEARCHERS at a Scottish university have created a virtual reconstruction of a historic Scottish church, giving a glimpse of what the parish looked like more than 500 years ago.

Holy Trinity Church in St Andrews, Fife, played a central role in the Scottish Reformation.

It was where Protestant leader John Knox first preached in public during the siege of St Andrews Castle in 1547.

Now researchers at the University of St Andrews have created a virtual reconstruction of how the original church looked just before the Reformation of 1559.

Using historical documents and images, the academics – helped by members of the Open Virtual Worlds – revealed the church’s 16th-century appearance.

Although its origins go back to at least the 12th century, the Gothic church was built on its current location on South Street in 1410.

It has been redesigned over the centuries, including being stripped of its images and altars during the Reformation.

The majority of the building was demolished in 1907 to be replaced by the current Gothic structure. Other than the medieval tower, little remains of its original design.

Dr Bess Rhodes from the university’s history and computer science department said: “Events here in the summer of 1559 transformed the religious future of this country.

“The Reformers’ success was by no means assured, and the decision of the congregation of Holy Trinity to back John Knox and the Protestant cause was a key turning point in Scotland’s Reformation.”