Transcript of Pitscottie's chronicle, c.1600

Scope and Content

Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie, The Historie and Chronicles of Scotland.

p.i Preface, citing his sources as local nobles who had informed him – Patrick Lord Lindsay of the Byres, Sir William Scot of Balweary (Balwirrie), knight, Sir Andrew Wood of Largo, knight, John Major, doctor of theology, Sir David Lindsay of the Mont, knight, alias Lyon King of arms, Andrew Fernie of that ilk, Sir William Bruce of Earlshall, knight.

p.iii-vi Dedicatory verses to Robert Stuart, bishop of Caithness, commendator of St Andrews.

pp.1-236 Pitscottie's Chronicle. The text commences at the start of the 18th book of the Chronicles [1436] and concludes with the Parliament of Queen Mary of 1565. Starts with the accession of James II, following on from a previous chronicle by Hector Boece (Boes), translated from Latin by John Bellenden (Ballantyne), which had finished with the death of James I. Focuses on the reformation of religion in Scotland, history of the protestant martyrs and struggle to ensure victory for Protestantism.

The text includes most of the additions common to manuscripts of Pitscottie but closes with the Danish embassy of 1598. At least 3 different hands, dating from the seventeenth century.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie (c.1532-1586), historian, was the son of William Lindsay of Pyotstoun, and a cousin of Patrick Lord Lindsay of the Byres. Nothing is known of his early life or education. He may have held Pitscottie as a tenant. It is uncertain when he began his chronicle, ending it in 1576, although copies of his manuscript often add later events. His engaging style makes the chronicle vivid to read but historically inaccurate, betraying anti-Catholic, anti-Hamilton and anti-Douglas bias, and portraying the Lindsay family in a good light using family folk lore. The text was first published in 1728, with the definitive version published by the Scottish Text Society between 1899 and 1913.


Single item

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

A pencil note on the back board suggests that the volume was purchased, perhaps for the eight guinea price noted inside the front board, 1925?


Call number used to be ms20

Other Finding Aids

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

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Binding: decorated calf. Rebacked by Fletchers, December 1927.Paper: 19.8x31.9cm

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.




The historie and cronicles of Scotland … by Robert Lindesay of Pitscottie, ed. A. J. G. Mackay, 3 vols, Scottish Text Society, 42–3, 60 (1899–1911)

Geographical Names