A nineteenth-century transcription of the History and Chronicles of Scotland by Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie, being a continuation of John Bellenden's translation of Scotorum historia by Hector Boece.
Transcript of The Chronicles of Scotland
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Robert Lindsay (c 1532-c 1586), Scottish historian, was born at Pitscottie in the parish of Ceres, Fifeshire, of the family of the Lindsays (Lindesays) of the Byres. His History and Chronicles of Scotland, the only work by which he is remembered, is described as a continuation of Hector Boece's Scotorum historia, translated by John Bellenden. It covers the period from 1437 to 1565 and, though it sometimes degenerates into a mere chronicle of short entries, it contains some passages of great picturesqueness. Sir Walter Scott made use of it in Marmion; and, in spite of its inaccuracy in details, it is useful for the social history of the period.
Although only one manuscript (formerly in the collection of John Scott of Halkshill) preserves the text as Pitscottie probably intended it, much of his work must have soon become known, since at least sixteen manuscripts (and possibly four more) have survived and there are scrappy continuations to 1603. The History was first published, by subscription, at Edinburgh in 1728 by Robert Freebairn, a well-known printer, bookseller, and ardent Jacobite; later editions appeared at Glasgow in 1749, and again at Edinburgh in 1778 and 1814. All were superseded when a full text, based on two of the oldest manuscripts, with extensive introduction, notes, and glossary, was published in three volumes by A.J.G. Mackay for the Scottish Text Society between 1899 and 1911.
Source: W.W. Scott, 'Lindsay, Robert, of Pitscottie (c.1532-c.1586)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press - http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/16715.
Conditions Governing Access
The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.
Purchased by Mrs Enriqueta Rylands, on behalf of the John Rylands Library, in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford.
Description compiled by Henry Sullivan and Jo Humpleby, project archivists, with reference to:
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on Robert Lindsay;
Other Finding Aids
Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MS 38).
Formerly part of the Bibliotheca Lindesiana, the Library of the Earls of Crawford and Balcarres, from Haigh Hall, Wigan, Lancashire.
The National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division, holds a manuscript of Robert Lindsay's History and Chronicles of Scotland within the Crawford Papers.