Andrew of Wyntoun, Original Chronicle, 1409

Scope and Content

The Original Chronicle by Andrew of Wyntoun, containing a history of the world until 1420.

A folio of the first half of the sixteenth century, dependent for the most part on the same texts as the Wemyss, Cottonian and Royal mss, with three folios of a prose chronicle and notes in other hands.

Marginalia appear in four sixteenth century hands, with two verses, separately mounted at the start of the volume, in a later hand.Ruled margins. Rubrics for chapters in red.

The notes of W A Craigie on the text are bound into the volume.

Administrative / Biographical History

Andrew of Wyntoun (c.1350-c.1422) was prior of St Serf’s at Lochleven in Fife and a historian. Little is known about his early life until he became an Augustinian canon at the priory in St Andrews and was then elected to St Serfs in 1393. He remained there until retiring in 1421, complaining in his chronicle of old age and ill-health. He was encouraged to write his Original Chronicle by Sir John Wemyss, constable of St Andrews, and aimed it at a secular audience. It was composed between 1383 and 1400, detailing a conventional history of the world, based on the works of others such as Peter Comestor, and then Scotland’s place in that history, using some sources now lost, and ending with the death of the regent, Robert Stewart, duke of Albany, in 1420. Andrew writes that much of the 14th century section was written by someone else but does not identify the writer. Nine 15th and 16th century manuscripts survive, indicating the popularity of this work at the time and constituting an important source for Scottish politics and historiography, as well as on the use of the Scots language in the early modern period.


Single item

Access Information

By appointment with the Keeper of Manuscripts. Access to records containing confidential information may be restricted.

Acquisition Information

In the possession of the University Library by mid 19th century and probably earlier.


Call number used to be ms1479

Other Finding Aids

Individual Manuscripts and Small Collections database available as part of Manuscripts Database.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Binding: calf, for the University Library. On spine 'ANDRO OF WYNTOWN'S CHRONICLE' and 'MANUSCRIPT'. Marbled endpapers.Paper with gold trim. 17.8x24.5cm.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Maia Sheridan, Archives Hub project archivist, based on material from the Manuscripts Database.

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Manuscripts. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Custodial History

The volume carries the signature [and notarial device?] of John Ballingall and 'Patrik Lermontht of Dersy knyt this bouk pertines of ryt'. [Patrick Learmonth of Dairsie, Fife].




For a detailed study of the relationships between this and other manuscripts of The Original Chronicle see W A Craigie, 'The St Andrews Manuscript of Wyntoun's Chronicle', Anglia, XX, 1898, pp.363-381.

RNS notes that the unicorn water mark, found eg on folios 9 and 10, is not matched by anything in Briquet. The nearest are 10364-6, 1531, 1536, 1539.