Papers of David Hume, of Godscroft ( ? 1560 - ? 1630)

Archive Collection

Administrative / Biographical History

David Hume was probably born around 1560. He was the second son of Sir David Hume (or Home), 7th Baron of Wedderburn, Berwickshire. He was educated in Dunbar and studied at St. Andrews before going to France, Geneva, and Italy. He returned in 1581 to manage the affairs of his brother who had fallen ill. By 1583 he had become the private secretary of his relative Archibald Douglas, 8th Earl of Angus (1555-1588), and actively interested himself in the Earl, his family, and his cause. A series of his letters became the  History of the Houses of Douglas and Angus the subject of which was the doctrine of obedience to princes. Hume's other publications include  De unione insulae Britanniae (1605),  Cambdenia; id est, Examen nonnullorum a Gulielmo Cambreno in 'Britannia' sua positorum: praecipue quae ad irrisionem Scoticae gentis pertinent et eorum ac Pictorum originem (1617),  History of the House of Wedderburn (1611), and  Apologia Basilica; seu Machiavelli ingenium examinatum, in libro quem inscripsit princeps (1626). When young he also wrote Latin poems including  Daphn-Amaryllis at the age of fourteen,  Lusus poetici (1605),  Henrici principis justa on the death of Prince Henry, and  Regi suo gratulatio to welcome back King James VI to Scotland in 1617. In his later years, much of his writing was done at his property of Gowkscroft, renamed Godscroft, in Berwickshire. David Hume of Godscroft is believed to have died in 1630.

Conditions Governing Access

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Lee, Sidney (ed.).  Dictionary of national biography. Vol. 10. Howard-Kenneth. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1908.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show a reference to Hume related material in the Laing Collection (check the Indexes for more details):  Vincula Unionis sive scita Britannicae id est de unione insulae Britannicae tractatus secundus with preface Ad Lectorem dated 1605, at La.III.249. In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes: Origine and Descent of the Most Noble and Illustrious Familie and Name of Douglas, 1644, National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division, Ref. Adv MS 34 6 21.

Geographical Names