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Abbreviated version of the ‘Scotichronicon’ by Walter Bower.

Identifier: Adv.MS.35.1.7

Scope and Contents

The exemplar for the manuscript was being compiled no later than 1444 under the direction of Bower himself. Richard Augustine Hay, writing in the early 18th century, at the beginning of the manuscript, states that it was written 1453-1454 by a canon of Inchcolm called Peter, and presented to Couper Abbey by William Earl of Orkney and Caithness in 1445 (probably a mistake for 1455), but he cites no evidence for this (see ‘Scotichronicon by Walter Bower in Latin and English’, ix, chapter 12, from which much of this description is adapted) – see also ‘Catalogue of the mediaeval Manuscripts in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates at Edinburgh’, volume ii, pages 393-395.

The abbreviated version was designed as a more compact version of Bower`s original work. Some chapters are omitted and some greatly shortened. Other material is re-arranged. The whole is divided into 40 books in place of the 16 books of the original. Some passages of the manuscript have been edited and printed in the notes to ‘Scotichronicon by Walter Bower in Latin and English’. The `Prologus` prefixed to the ‘Scotichronicon’ is omitted and another substituted for it which discusses John of Fordun. A table giving parallel passages between this version and the Corpus Christi manuscript (MS C) (Bower original working copy of the complete work) may also be found in ‘Scotichronicon by Walter Bower in Latin and English’, ix, chapter 12. On pages 433-449 is the ‘Liber Alius’ corresponding to MS C VI cc.24-57 with lacunae and also on page 450 a fragment of the ‘Liber Extravagans’ with a variant and abbreviated text of the `Prologus`, lines 1-13 and ‘Poema Scotica’, lines 1-108 (omitting lines 8, 9, 97, and with two extra lines after line 58). The leaves of the manuscript after page 450 have been lost. For a complete edition of the ‘Liber Extravagans’, see ‘Liber Extravagans’, edited by Dauvit Broun and A B Scott, in ‘Scotichronicon by Walter Bower in Latin and English’, ix, chapter 6a-f.

The manuscript is in double columns, written by more than one hand. The text begins with an elaborate initial `S`, blue with an intricate floral scroll. Its background consists of elaborate filigree work in blue and pink. Other initials are plain red, positioned at the beginning of books. According to Professor R J Lyall, it is datable on watermark evidence to circa 1450 x 1480.


  • Creation: Circa 1450 x 1480.


1 Volumes (479 pages. Folio.)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Paper and vellum. Pages 1/2 and 23/24 (start and finish of the first gathering) are parchment and the rest is paper. The binding is brown calf with gold tooling and initials RH (presumably Richard Hay) on the back. Blank leaves have been inserted to strengthen the volume.

Custodial History

The manuscript belonged to the Cistercian Abbey of Coupar Angus in Perthshire. At the Reformation it passed into the hands of William Sinclair of Roslin, whose ownership can be seen on the initial page of the text. It remained in his family until their castle was besieged and taken by General Monk in 1651. It was then publicly auctioned and bought by Sir Lewis Stewart whose grandson gave it to Father Richard Augustine Hay who presented it to the Advocates’ Library in 1729.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented, 1925, by the Faculty of Advocates to the nation on the foundation of the National Library of Scotland.

Existence and Location of Copies

Microfilms available:



Related Materials

Corpus Christi College, MS C.


Watt, D E R. ‘Scotichronicon by Walter Bower in Latin and English’ (Aberdeen, 1998).

Borland, Catherine R. ‘Catalogue of the mediaeval Manuscripts in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates at Edinburgh’, volume ii (unpublished manuscript).

Physical Description

0.00 linear metres479 pages. Folio.260.00 x 385.00 millimetres


260.00 x 385.00 millimetres

National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
National Library of Scotland
04 08 2015
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Local Descriptive Rules
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Repository Details

Part of the National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division Repository

Archives and Manuscript Division
National Library of Scotland
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