Skip to main content

16th-century manuscript containing a register of charters and leases of St Andrews Priory, Pittenweem Priory and the archbishopric of St Andrews, covering the years 1553-1574.

Identifier: Adv.MS.17.1.3

Scope and Contents

16th-century manuscript written in Scotland, containing a register of charters and leases covering the years 1553-1574.

Davis has dated the manuscript to the second half of the 16th century. The volume is multi-scribal, containing entries in various contemporary hands.

Affixed to the beginning of the volume, folio ii, is an analysis of the contents by James David Forbes, who at that time was principal of the United College at the University of St Andrews.

The manuscript is complete except for one missing folio at the start of the volume. Several pages towards the beginning are soiled with dirt and damp-staining.

The manuscript is divided into the following sections, each prefaced by a title page in a large gothic font:

Chartulary of the Priory of St Andrews, 1553-1566. Folios 1r-196v.

This part of the manuscript is a record of charters and infeftments, most of them granted by the Commendator, James Earl of Moray, and the Convent. There are 379 deeds in total, primarily concerned with grants of land, signed by various different notaries.

'Registr[um] Cartaru[m] et alio[rum] munimento[rum] terrar[um] prioratus de Pettinweyme. Incipien[s] in anno d[omi]ni 1553. Per reverendu[m] in Christo p[at]rem et d[omin]um Jacobu[m] eiusde[m] p[ri]oratus et S[an]cti Andr[eae] Co[m]mendatariu[m]'. Folios 197r-295v.

This section contains charters of the Priory of Pittenweem, under St Andrews Priory, from 1553-1567. There are 171 deeds in all in the name of the Commendator John, Prior of Pittenweem. A deed near the beginning is in the name of Robert Bishop of Caithness, the next Commendator.

'Registr[um] Cartar[um] et alio[rum] munime[n]to[rum] terrar[um] ac decimar[um] eccl[es]iar[um] Archie[pisco]patus Sancti Andr[eae] Incipien[s] a p[ri]mo Nove[m]bris a[n]no d[omi]ni 1553 p[er] r[everend]um in Christo p[at]rem et d[omin]um Joh[ann]em eiusde[m] sedis Archiep[iscopu]m.' Folios 296r-400v.

This section contains 131 deeds of John Hamilton archbishop of St Andrews; Robert Bishop of Caithness (Commendator); James Earl of Moray; John Wyntoun, Superintendent of Fife. The documents are not entered in a consecutive order. The earliest document is dated to 1553 and the latest to 1574.

Lining and ruling is in drypoint.

Most charters are introduced by a rubric, but the manuscript is not decorated except for large penwork initials which are occasionally flourished in places.

There is an early foliation in Arabic numerals, possibly 17th-century, which runs consecutively between the first two sections. This foliation is one number out of sequence as it was in place before a leaf was lost. The third section has its own internal foliation, also in Arabic numerals, which runs 1-104. Both sets of foliation have been superseded by a consecutive modern Library foliation.


  • Creation: 2nd half of 16th century.


Language of Materials

The material is in a mix of Latin and Scots.

Conditions Governing Access

Normal access conditions apply.

Conditions Governing Use

Normal reproduction conditions apply, subject to any copyright restrictions.


1 Volumes ; 40.2 x 30cm x 10.5cm


iii + 400 folios, as well as 2 modern paper flyleaves to the front and 2 modern paper flyleaves to the rear.

Custodial History

The manuscript was possibly in the possession of Sir James Balfour, listed as the 'Chartularium Episcoporum Sancti Andreae' in Robert Sibbald's 'Memoria Balfouriana'.

According to a note in Crawford's 'Peerage of Scotland', in the early 18th century the manuscript was in the possession of Samuel Semple, minister.

The manuscript was bought by the Library of the Faculty of Advocates from Dr George Martine of Clermont in 1731.

Ownership inscriptions for the Library are on the rectos of folios i and 1.

The previous shelfmark assigned to the manuscript by the Library of the Faculty of Advocates is given on the recto of folio i: 'W.1.2', since superseded.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

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


Borland, C. R. 'Catalogue of Mediaeval Manuscripts in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates at Edinburgh', 4 Volumes. (Unpublished manuscript, Edinburgh, 1906-1908). Volume II, folios 511-513. NLS Reference: FR.198a/2.

Crawford, G. 'The peerage of Scotland: : containing an historical and genealogical account of the nobility of that kingdom. Collected from publick records of the nation, the charters and other writings of the nobility, and from the most approved histories.' (Edinburgh, 1716), pages 294, note c.

Cunningham, I. C. 'Sir James Balfour's Manuscript Collection: The 1698 Catalogue and other sources' in Edinburgh Bibliographical Society Transactions, Volume, VI, Part 6 (2004), pages 191-255. Here page 226, number 10.

Davis, G. R. C. (ed.) 'Medieval Cartularies of Great Britain and Ireland. Revised by Claire Breay, Julian Harrison, and David M. Smith' (London, 2010), page 240, number 1178.

'Folio Catalogue of Manuscripts: Chartularies' (Unpublished manuscript, Edinburgh [18??]), folio 56. NLS Reference: FR.189.

'Summary Catalogue of the Advocates' Manuscripts' (Edinburgh, 1971), page 16, number 164.

Turnbull, W. B. D. D. 'Fragmenta Scoto-Monastica: Memoir of what has been already done, and what materials exist, towards the formation of a Scotish (sic) Monasticon.' (Edinburgh, 1842), page 12.

Physical Description


The manuscript was bound upon its arrival in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates by Hugh Mosman on the 27th of March 1734.

The current binding is modern, possibly 1930s, and is a quarter binding with a calf back and brown buckram covering cardboard. The back has raised bands and gold tooling for the library stamp, shelfmark and title which reads: 'REGISTRUM DE PITTENWEEM ET PRIORATUS S. ANDREAE'.

The paper of the manuscript is watermarked throughout with a design, possibly of a flower below which is a scroll filled with lettering. The watermark is not easily visible due to a faint imprint and being obscured by the writing.

National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division
Description rules
International Standard for Archival Description - General
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

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

Archives and Manuscript Division
National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1EJ
0131 623 3700