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Early 16th-century manuscript of 'The oryginale cronykil of Scotland' by Andrew Wyntoun, with part of the anonymous 'Brevis Cronica' appended.

Identifier: Adv.MS.19.2.4

Scope and Contents

Manuscript produced in Scotland containing 'The oryginale cronykil of Scotland', or 'Original Chronicle', of Andrew Wyntoun. The work is a vernacular history of Scotland and the world in the form of a metrical poem. In Amours' edition, this manuscript is referred to as E2, or the Second Edinburgh Manuscript.

Borland, Amours, and Laing have dated the manuscript to the early 16th century.

Amours notes that the manuscript is almost complete with only a few folios wanting throughout. He also notes that verses 5481-5604 are missing because the corresponding leaves had been lost out of the "Auchinleck" manuscript of Wyntoun's chronicle (now NLS MS.651) before the copying was done. The text predominantly follows the Cottonian manuscript (British Library, Cotton MS Nero D XI), but the scribe uses numberings and headings of chapters of the Wemyss manuscript. The headings do not always correspond and they are often unnumbered.

Appended to Wyntoun's work is the anonymous prose chronicle, 'Brevis Cronica', written in Scots. Embree and Kennedy have dated this version of the Brevis Cronica to after 1536 based on comparisons with other recensions of the text. For a transcription of the 'Brevis Cronica' see Embree, Kennedy, and Daly.

The two works are written in cursive secretary hands, possibly by the same scribe, but are certainly contemporary with each other.

The contents of the volume are as follows:

Flyleaves with shelfmarks, title, and ownership inscriptions. Folios i-iii.

Table of contents with rubrics of chapters running continuously, beginning with chapter 77. Folios 1r-6v.

Folio 7 is blank.

Andrew Wyntoun, Original Chronicle of Scotland. 'Heir followis ye Prolog but saill off ye Cronykillis callit Oryginall'. Folios 8r-434v.

Folio 434a is a stub with inscriptions in Scots.

Anonymous, 'Brevis Chronica', prose chronicle. Incomplete, beginning 'In ye tyme yat moses the prophete...', breaking off at the Battle of Otterburn in 1388. Folios 435r-445v.

The beginning of each chapter is introduced with a rubric in red. A scribal apparatus to the text in the margins is given in red. Each new line begins with a capital stroked with red, and other letters throughout are stroked with red.

The 'Brevis Cronica' is not decorated. There is a running header in the upper margin, except for on the recto of the first folio, which reads 'Brevis Cronica'.

Scribal additions, deletions, and corrections to the text are evident throughout. There are marginal notes in the hand of James Balfour, as well as 19th-century comments on the text.

Each folio of both works has been lined recto and verso.


  • Creation: Early 16th century.


Language of Materials

Older Scots.

Conditions Governing Access

Normal access conditions apply.

Conditions Governing Use

Normal reproduction conditions apply, subject to any copyright restrictions.


1 Volumes


i-iii + 446 + iv-v folios.

The foliation is inclusive of a previously unfoliated stub between folios 434 and 435, now folio 434a.

Collation as recorded by Catherine Borland: a⁴1 (wants 4 folios at beginning and 1 at end), b⁴⁶, c⁴⁷, d⁴⁷, e⁴⁷, f⁴⁷, g⁴⁸, h⁴⁸, i⁴⁸, k²⁶ (wants 16 and 17 and a number of leaves at the end).

Custodial History

There are 16th-century marginal inscriptions throughout of various names, including 'James', 'David', 'Margrat Forrester' and 'Gilbert Wauchop', but it is unclear if these relate to ownership of the manuscript.

The manuscript was in the possession of Henry Sinclair, Bishop of Ross as recorded in his ownership inscription on folio 8r.

The volume formed part of the collection of Sir James Balfour of Denmilne. On the recto of folio i is the Denmilne number, 15. Balfour's device is present on folio 444r and there are marginal notes throughout in Balfour's hand.

The volume probably passed from Balfour to Sir Robert Sibbald and was bought by the Library of the Faculty of Advocates at the sale of Sibbald's goods in 1723.

There are marks of ownership for the Library on the paste-down of the front board and the rectos of folios iii and 8.

The previous shelfmark assigned to the manuscript by the Library of the Faculty of Advocates is present on the recto of folio i, 'A.1.13', 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.


Amours, F. J. (ed.) 'The Original Chronicle of Andrew of Wyntoun Printed on Parallel Pages from the Cottonian and Wemyss MSS., with the Variants of Other Texts', 6 Volumes, Scottish Text Society (Edinburgh and London, 1903-1914).
'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 136, number 21.
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 390-392. NLS Reference: FR.198a/2.
Craigie, W. A. 'The St. Andrews MS of Wyntoun's Chronicle', in 'Anglia – Zeitschrift für englische Philologie', Volume 20 (1898), pages 363-380, especially 368.
Craigie, W. A. 'Wyntoun'’s "Original Chronicle"', in 'The Scottish Review', Volume XXX (1897), pages 33-54.
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.
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.
Edington, C. 'Andrew Wyntoun', entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Available online:
Embree, D., E. D. Kennedy, and K. Daly (eds.) 'Short Scottish prose chronicles' (Woodbridge, 2012), pages 65-67, 78-79, 155-227.
'Folio Catalogue of Manuscripts: Poetry' (Unpublished manuscript, Edinburgh [18??]), folio 16. NLS Reference: FR.190.
Laing, D. (ed.) 'The Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland by Androw of Wyntoun' 3 Volumes (Edinburgh, 1872-1879).
Macpherson, D. 'Đe orygynale cronykil of Scotland, be Androw of Wyntoun, Priowr of Sanct Serfis Ynche in Loch Leven. Now first published, with notes, a glossary...' 2 Volumes (Edinburgh and London, 1795).
'Summary Catalogue of the Advocates' Manuscripts' (Edinburgh, 1971), page 61, number 743; page 108, number 1399.

Physical Description

Paper. The binding is probably of the 17th century and is of brown leather covering cardboard. The front and back boards are extensively blind-tooled with strapwork and floral patterns. The boards have remnants of two metal clasps, now lost. The volume was rebacked at some point, possibly in the 19th century. The new back has raised bands and a remnant from a previous back; it also has a red leather panel with a gold-tooled title which reads: 'WYNTOWN'S CRONYKIL'. The paper of the flyleaves is watermarked with the initials 'A R C', on either side of which stand two pillars, and above which are grapes. The paper of the manuscript is watermarked with a well-defined left hand. There are letters below the palm which probably read 'A B' and a flower in the shape of a star above the middle finger. This is most visible on folios 7, 155, and 435. This watermark does not appear to be in Briquet.


28.4cm x 20.2cm x 10.5cm

National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts Adv.MS.19.2.4
National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division
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Repository Details

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

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