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Early 16th-century manuscript, 'Extracta ex variis cronicis Scotiae'.

Identifier: Adv.MS.35.6.13

Scope and Contents

Manuscript produced in Scotland containing extracts from Scottish chronicles, primarily drawing upon the works of Fordun and Bower, but also including independent entries.

The main text is the work of one scribe, and written in a cursive script with 22 lines to a page. Additions and insertions are in another hand of the 16th century.

The manuscript has been dated to the end of the 15th century by the folio catalogue, which was probably compiled by Cosmo Innes. Borland suggests that the manuscript was produced in the early 16th century. The same dating is proposed by Turnbull, who notes that the scribe must have been alive during the reign of James IV because of a statement on folio 266r: 'Sicut, proch dolor! Scriptoris tempore, Rex Jacobus Quartus prout in bello, de Floudene dicetur'. This reference to the battle of Flodden in 1513 certainly dates the manuscript to sometime thereafter. Turnbull further suggests that the work is possibly in the hand of Alexander Myln, Abbot of Cambuskenneth, who was responsible for producing the Lives of the Bishops of Dunkeld. Drexler also supports the suggestion that Myln was a possible scribe, and on the evidence of the above inscription she dates the manuscript to sometime fairly soon after 1513. Tod, on the other hand, proposes that the inscription implies that the scribe was alive during the reign of James V, which would still date the production of the manuscript to the early 16th century.

The narrative of the main text runs to the year 1460, followed by an account of the legitimation of the children of Robert II, and a genealogy of the kings of Scots from Malcolm Canmore to explain the respective claims of Bruce and Baliol. The scribe generally employs the chronology of Bower, but also inserts information from various sources, such as stories about William Wallace. There are indepdendent entries about Scone, and several entries about the bishops of Dunkeld including passages which are identifical to Myln's 'The Lives of the Bishops of Dunkeld'.

There are many additions, interpolations and annotations dated up to the year 1575 in various hands. Some of the marginal notes and extra leaves contain entries drawn from various historical works, including the histories of John Major and Hector Boece, published in 1521 and 1527, respectively. Turnbull suggests that some of these additions are possibly in the hand of Sir William Sinclair, 14th Baron of Rosslyn.

The contents are as follows:

Folio 1r is blank.

Later annotations and ownership inscriptions. Folios 1v-2r.

Folios 2v-5r are blank.

Later annotations. Folio 5v.

Scribal alphabetical index. Folios 6r-39v.

Extracts from various chronicles, beginning: 'Incipiunt aliqua de Cronicis Scocie, et libro scoticronicon vulgo nuncupato, notate et extracta pro quo[rum] faciliori intellectu aliqua venit terre habitabilis prenotanda divisio'. Folios 40r to 361v.

Later additions. Folios 361v-369r.

The manuscript is decorated with large red initials throughout. Smaller initials are stroked with red. Line fillers, paraphs and underlining are also in red. Towards the end of the volume spaces are occasionally left for decoration.

Each folio has been drypoint-ruled recto and verso.

A scribal foliation runs 'I-CCLXXXVIII' in the upper margin in the form of Roman numerals. This does not begin until folio 40 of the modern foliation and ends on folio 353. On folio 354 commences a 16th-century foliation in Arabic numerals, running '289-297', ending on folio 362. The older foliation has since been superseded by modern library foliation, to which all references refer.

Alphabetical quire signatures are consistently present in the lower margin in the form of letters and Roman numerals.


  • Creation: Early 16th century.


Language of Materials

The main text is in Latin, with additions in Scots and Latin.

Conditions Governing Access

Normal access conditions apply.

Conditions Governing Use

Normal reproduction conditions apply, subject to any copyright restrictions.


1 Volumes ; 19.5cm x 14.5cm x 5.2cm


i-ii + 369 + iii-iv folios.

The foliation differs from that recorded by Borland and Turnbull because the modern library foliation takes account of the insertions and the index.

The manuscript is made up of gatherings of 8, except for the first and last gatherings. The insertions are pasted directly onto leaves rather than incorporated into the binding structure.

Gathering 1: Folios 1-5 (5 folios, wanting a leaf)

Gathering 2: Folios 6-13 (8 folios)

Gathering 3: Folios 14-21 (8 folios)

Gathering 4: Folios 22-29 (8 folios)

Gathering 5: Folios 30-38 (8 folios)

Gathering 6: Folios 39-45 (8 folios)

Gathering 7: Folios 46-54 (8 folios, with inserted folio 46 pasted to 47)

Gathering 8: Folios 55-62 (8 folios)

Gathering 9: Folios 63-72 (8 folios, with inserted folio 63 pasted to 64, and inserted folio 69 pasted to 70)

Gathering 10: Folios 73-82 (8 folios, with inserted folio 74 pasted to 75, and inserted folio 81 pasted to 82)

Gathering 11: Folios 83-90 (8 folios)

Gathering 12: Folios 91-98 (8 folios)

Gathering 13: Folios 99-106 (8 folios)

Gathering 14: Folios 107-114 (8 folios)

Gathering 15: Folios 115-124 (8 folios, with inserted folios 116 and 117 pasted to 118)

Gathering 16: Folios 125-133 (8 folios, with inserted folio 125 pasted to 126)

Gathering 17: Folios 134-141 (8 folios)

Gathering 18: Folios 142-149 (8 folios)

Gathering 19: Folios 150-158 (8 folios, with inserted folio 151 pasted to 152)

Gathering 20: Folios 159-168 (8 folios, with inserted folio 162 pasted to 163, and inserted folio 166 pasted to 167)

Gathering 21: Folios 169-176 (8 folios)

Gathering 22: Folios 177-185 (8 folios)

Gathering 23: Folios 185-192 (8 folios)

Gathering 24: Folios 193-202 (8 folios, with inserted folio 196 pasted to 197)

Gathering 25: Folios 203-209 (8 folios)

Gathering 26: Folios 210-217 (8 folios)

Gathering 27: Folios 218-225 (8 folios)

Gathering 28: Folios 226-234 (8 folios, with inserted folio 232 pasted to 233)

Gathering 29: Folios 235-243 (8 folios, with inserted folio 235 pasted to 236)

Gathering 30: Folios 244-251 (8 folios)

Gathering 31: Folios 252-260 (8 folios, with inserted folio 255 pasted to 256)

Gatheing 32: Folios 261-268 (8 folios)

Gathering 33: Folios 269-277 (8 folios, with inserted folio 276 pasted to 277)

Gathering 34: Folios 278-285 (8 folios)

Gathering 35: Folios 286-294 (8 folios, with inserted folio 291 pasted to 292)

Gathering 36: Folios 295-303 (8 folios, with inserted folio 295 pasted to 296)

Gathering 37: Folios 304-312 (8 folios, with inserted folio 311 pasted to 312)

Gathering 38: Folios 313-320 (8 folios)

Gathering 39: Folios 312-329 (with inserted folio 324 pasted to 325)

Gathering 40: Folios 330-339 (8 folios, with inserted folio 333 pasted to 334, and inserted folio 338 pasted to 339)

Gathering 41: Folios 340-350 (8 folios)

Gathering 42: Folios 351-360 (8 folios, with inserted folio 351 pasted to 352)

Gathering 43: Folios 361-369 (9 folios, with a stub between folios 362 and 363)

Custodial History

Drexler and Turnbull suggest that Alexander Myln, Abbot of Cambuskenneth, was responsible for the compilation of the work.

The manuscript was in the possession of William Chisholm, bishop of Dunblane, and in 1550 was given by him to Henry Sinclair, at that time deacon of Glasgow, later Bishop of Ross. This is recorded in an inscription on folio 2r which reads: 'Henrici Sinclar decani Glasguensis: ex dono R[everen]di p[at]ris Vilelmj Epi[scopus] Dunblanensis 1550'. There is an ownership inscription belonging to Henry Sinclair on folio 40r, scored through.

The volume was next in possession of Sir William Sinclair of Rosslyn, knight and 14th Baron of Rosslyn. His ownership inscriptions are on folios 2r, 6r (twice), 40r, 361v, 369r.

The manuscript was next owned by another William Sinclair of Rosslyn. There is an ownership inscription, possbily dated 1591, of this William on folio 40r in the lower margin which reads: 'D[ominus] Sinclair of Roislin'. For further details about the attribution of the various Sinclair inscriptions see the article by Lawlor.

The manuscript was bought by the Library of the Faculty of Advocates on the 5th of July 1699 from a James Hogg, possibly a bookseller, for £120 Scots. There is no entry for a James Hogg under relevant dates in the Scottish Book Trade Index.

There are ownership inscriptions for the Library on folios 6r and 40r.

The previous shelfmark assigned to the manuscript by the Library of the Faculty of Advocates is present on the recto of folio ii: 'A.6.36', 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.

Existence and Location of Copies



Wod.Oct. III.


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 402-404. NLS Reference: FR.196a/2.

Drexler, M. 'The Extant Abridgements of Walter Bower's "Scotichronicon"', The Scottish Historical Review, Volume 61, Number 171, Part 1 (April, 1982), pages 62-67.

Durkan, J. and J. Russell. 'Further Additions (Including Manuscripts) to J. Durkan and A. Ross, "Early Scottish Libraries", at the National Library of Scotland', The Bibliotheck, Volume 12, Number 4 (1985), pages 85-90.

'Folio Catalogue of Manuscripts: Historical' (Unpublished manuscript, Edinburgh [18??]), folio 3. NLS Reference: FR.186.

Harikae, R. 'The Maitland and the Sinclair Families: "The Chronicles of Scotland" and its Early Modern Readers', Textual Cultures, Volume 7, Number 1 (Spring 2012), pages 97-106.

Lawlor, H. J. 'Notes on the Library of the Sinclairs of Rosslyn', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Volume VIII, Third Series (1897-98), pages 90-120.

'Summary Catalogue of the Advocates' Manuscripts' (Edinburgh, 1971), page 108, number 1398; page 61, number 744.

Tod, M. A. L. 'The Narrative of the Scottish Nation and its Late-Medieval Readers: Non-Textual Reader Scribal Activity in the Mss of Fordun, Bower and their Derivatives' (Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Glasgow, August 2005).

Turnbull, W. B. D. D. (ed.) 'Extracta E Variis Cronicis Scocie from the Ancient Manuscript in the Advocates Library at Edinburgh' Abbotsford Club (Edinburgh, 1842).

Physical Description


The binding is of early 19th-century green morocco leather with marbled endpapers. The front and back boards have gold-tooled borders and corner designs. The three edges of the boards, as well as the turn-ins, are also tooled in gold. The three edges of the leaves are gilt. The spine has raised bands, gold-tooled floral designs, and a gold-tooled title which reads: 'EXTRACTA EX CHRONICIS SCOTIAE'. On the tail end of the spine is a remnant of a Library sticker.

Folios i-iv are watermarked with a heraldic shield and the date '1813'.

The paper of the manuscript has two watermarks, both of which are unicorn designs. The watermarks are obscured by the binding. One is more sophisticated than the other, but neither design is present in Briquet. The more sophisticated design is most visible on folios 4, 8, 9, 10, 18, 27. The other design can be found on folios 186 and 201.

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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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