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17th-century extracts and transcripts, in the hand of Sir James Balfour, of chartularies and other historical works.

Identifier: Adv.MS.33.2.9

Scope and Contents

17th-century manuscript written and compiled by Sir James Balfour containing the following works:

1. Copy by Sir James Balfour of George Marjorybanks, 'Annals of Scotland, 1514-94'. Folios 6r-23r.

A history of Scotland in the form of annals written in Scots, originally written in the late 16th century by George Marjoribanks, burgess of Edinburgh. The location of the original manuscript from which Balfour made his copy is unknown.

The work is separated into sections by reign of monarchs, beginning with King James V. Dates relating to particular events are provided in the margins in Balfour’s hand.

There are infrequent scribal corrections throughout.

Folio 6 is a half leaf, the recto side of which has been inscribed by Balfour with the following title: 'George Marioreybankes Analls of Scotland from the ȝear 1514 to the ȝear 1591.'

2. Extracts from the chartulary of Coupar Angus. Folios 27r-38v.

The location of the manuscript from which Balfour's copy was made is unknown.

Coupar Angus was founded by 1164 as a Cistercian Abbey and was dissolved in 1606. The chartulary contains material covering the 12th and 13th centuries, with a 15th-century Papal Bull. Royal charters are grouped together at the beginning and arranged by reign, starting with King Malcolm's grant of the land of Coupar, though confirmations of lay grants are dispersed throughout. The royal charters are followed by the only papal bull included: that of 1464 whereby Abbot David and his successors were granted permission to wear the mitre and bless the church and cemeteries. The rest of the content is largely arranged geographically, rather than strictly by familial or tenurial groups.

The heading on folio 27r reads: 'Brevarium antiqui registri Monasterii de Cupro in Anegus'.

There is a scribal pagination in the upper corner which runs 1-24.

There are 19th century pencil annotations in the margin supplying names and dates.

3. Extracts from the chartulary of Arbroath. 40v-74r.

Extracts taken from the 'Registrum Vetus', which was in Balfour's possession (Adv.MS.34.4.2).

There is a scribal pagination in the upper corner which runs 1-63.

4. Extracts from the chartulary of Dryburgh. 75r-85v.

The extracts were taken from a 15th century chartulary of Dryburgh which was in Balfour’s possession (Adv.MS.34.4.7).

The heading on folio 75r reads: 'Brevarium antiqui registri de Dryburgh'. 'Pasley' was originally written, but has been scored through and replaced with 'Dryburgh'.

There is a scribal foliation in the upper corner which runs 2-11, the '1' having been cropped.

Throughout the entire manuscript Balfour has supplied catchwords at the bottom of each leaf, however, these are occasionally lost due to cropping.


  • Creation: 17th century.


Language of Materials

The material is in a mixture of Scots and Latin.

Conditions Governing Access

Normal access conditions apply.

Conditions Governing Use

Normal reproduction conditions apply, subject to any copyright restrictions.


1 Volumes ; 30cm x 21.2cm x 2cm


i + 93 folios.

The pencil foliation running throughout the volume is modern. The three chartulary transcripts also have their own internal scribal pagination or foliation. There are often blank leaves between the transcripts, but these have been included in the modern foliation.

Custodial History

The volume was written and compiled by Sir James Balfour. It was later in the possession of Sir Robert Sibbald, and was bought at his sale by the Library of the Faculty of Advocates in April 1723, as lot number 49.

There are ownership inscriptions for the Library on folios 1r and 7r. The previous shelfmark assigned to the manuscript by the Library of the Faculty of Advocates was 'A.7.15', which is inscribed on folio 1r. This has since been superseded.

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 Originals

National Library of Scotland: Adv.MS.34.4.2.

National Library of Scotland: Adv.MS.34.4.7.


'Bibliotheca Sibbaldiana: or, a catalogue of valuable books: consisting of divinity, civil and ecclesiastical history, medicine, natural history, philosophy, mathematicks, belles letters, etc. with a curious collection of historical and other manuscripts. Being the Library fo the late Learned and Ingenious Sir Robert Sibbald of Kipps, Doctor of Medicine. To be Sold by Way of Auction, on Tuesday the 5th of February 1723...' (Edinburgh, 1722), page 137, number 49 .

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.

Dalyell, J. G. (ed.) 'Annals of Scotland from the Yeir 1514 to the Yeir 1591. By George Marioreybanks, Burges of Edinburghe.' (Edinburgh, 1814).

Davis, G. R. C. (ed.) 'Medieval Cartularies of Great Britain and Ireland revised by Claire Breay, Julian Harrison and David M. Smith' (London, 2010), pages 228-229, number 1118; page 231, number 1132; page 232, number 1138.

'Folio Catalogue of Manuscripts: Historical' (Unpublished manuscript, Edinburgh [18??]), folio 22. NLS Reference: FR.186.

Hodgson, V. A. 'The Cistercian Abbey of Coupar Angus, c.1164-c.1560' (Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Stirling, 2016). See especially Appendix 1 for a transcript and commentary.

Innes, C. 'Liber S. Thome de Aberbrothoc. Registrorum Abbacie de Aberbrothoc. Pars prior. Registrum vetus munimentaque eidem coetanea complectens. 1178-1329. (Pars altera. Registrum nigrum necnon libros cartarum recentiores complectens. 1329-1536)' Bannatyne Club, 2 Volumes (Edinburgh, 1848-1856).

Macray, W. D. 'A manual of British Historians to A.D.1600 containing an chronological account of the early chroniclers and monkish writers their printed works and mss' (London, 1845), page 84.

Rogers, C. (ed.) 'Rental book of the Cistercian abbey of Cupar Angus' Grampian Club, 2 Volumes (London, 1879-80), Volume I, pages 319-351.

'Summary Catalogue of the Advocates' Manuscripts' (Edinburgh, 1971), page 16, number 169.

Spottiswoode, J. (ed.) 'Liber S. Marie de Dryburgh. Registrum cartarum Abbacie Premonstratensis de Dryburgh' Bannatyne Club (Edinburgh, 1847).

Physical Description

The binding is possibily original, 17th-century limp vellum with reinforced covers. Lacing is visible at the shoulder joints of the back. At the fore egde of the covers there are remnants of leather thongs, now lost.

An inscription on the back possibly reads '[Marjor]ybanks Analls of Scotland 49'.

The paper is watermarked with a variety of pots throughout, and a more elabroate design of pillars with letters, possibly 'PO', 'PG', or 'FG', and grapes.

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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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