Notebook of William Sharp, St Leonard's College, St Andrews, 1643-1646

Scope and Content

Notebook containing the college exercises of William Sharp, student at St Leonard's College, University of St Andrews, from 1643 to 1646. Taught rhetoric and probably other subjects by David Nevay, regent.

  • p.i-ii Scribbles.
  • pp.1-20 An introduction to Greek gods in ten books [incipit Materia ex prima mundum divina potestas elicit]. Text in ruled border with marginal commentary.
  • pp.25-30 Books 1 to 7 of [George] Buchanan's paraphrases, begun 17 September 1643. Text in two ruled columns.
  • pp.31-49 Summaries, by act and scene, of Publius Terentius Andria, Heautontimorumenos, Adelphi, Hecyra, and Phormio. Text in two ruled columns. Completed by William Sharp of Banff 'studente sub MBR [MRB ?] insignum' 15 April 1644.
  • pp.49-52 Justini Epitome [i.e. Justini Historia ex Trogo Pompeio quattuor et triginta epithomatis collecta]. Summary of book I only [incomplete ?] in two ruled columns.
  • pp.53-54 Notes, in two ruled columns, [incomplete ?] from 'Cliverus' [Phillippus Cliverius ?] written at Crail [Fife] 7 November 1643.
  • pp.57-58 Notes on the kings of Persia in Biblical times [incomplete].
  • pp.67-71 Notes on the kings of Israel in Biblical times to Zedekiah.
  • pp.73-80 'C Crispi Salustii' [i.e. Sallustus Crispus] Phrases. Text in two ruled columns.
  • pp.83-133, 179-197 Marcus Tullius Cicero Pro Tito Annio Milone oratio. Text [incomplete] within border with occasional interlineated commentary. Main commentary in two ruled columns on facing page.
  • pp.137-196 Rudimentorum Rhetoricorum. Text within ruled border with principal heads given in a border inset. Book V completed 17 July 1644.
  • pp.199-202 Notes on rhetoric.
  • pp.203-225 Elementa Rhetorica from the dictates of David Nevaio, [David Nevay] of the College of St Leonard, University of St Andrews. Text in ruled borders. First part completed 14 February 1646. Second part commenced 16 February 1646.
  • pp.227-229 Notes on memory. Text in ruled borders.
  • p.233 Scribbles.
  • p.234 A note on the angelic intellect.
  • Loose between p.162 and p.163: Transcript of a Greek text in the hand of William Sharp. [From Aristotle, Ethics?].
  • Explanatory note, in the hand of John Lee, pasted inside first folio.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir William Sharp of Stoniehill (c.1622-1685) was the younger brother of James Sharp, who was already a regent at St Leonard's College while William was there, and later became Archbishop of St Andrews. William was born in Banff Castle where his father William was sheriff clerk, working for the earl of Buchan. His mother was Isobel Lesley, daughter of the laird of Kinninvy. After studying at St Andrews University, he became a lawyer and was already prominent in Edinburgh by 1653. He began a long career of public service when he was appointed deputy keeper of the signet in 1660, and also became political agent, financial advisor and estate manager to John Maitland, earl of Lauderdale, a relationship that lasted for the next 25 years. Lauderdale was in debt due to fines and forfeitures and Sharp was able to turn around his fortunes initially, and also borrowed money on his own account to pay for bills which Lauderdale did not have the funds to pay. Sharp was chosen for a new role of royal cashkeeper for Scotland in 1667, to receive and dispense royal revenues, and knighted 2 years later for his services in promoting financial honesty and stability. He bought the Stoniehill house on the river Esk near Musselburgh, beside the estates he managed for Lauderdale. He continued to be trusted with government appointments as receiver-general and then collector-general of the supply, received a farm of inland excise, and remained as cashkeeper and deputy keeper of the signet until 1682. In order to finance all the demands made on the Treasury he acted as government banker, borrowing when incoming funds were not sufficient and ended up being owed considerable sums both by the government and by the Lauderdale estate. While the Treasury made arrangements to try to pay back what was owed to Sharp, after Lauderdale's death his widow refused to pay any of the debts due to him. He wrote a bitter report in 1685 of his services rendered free of charge to Lauderdale and his widow from 1660 until 1685, but died before receiving any recompense.

David Nevay, MA St Andrews 1644, was regent at St Leonard's College until 1653 when he became sheriff of Angus and later a Lord of Council and Session, appointed by Charles II. He had run into trouble in 1648 when he was reported to St Andrews Presbytery for holding unsound theses, and barred from Presbytery. The following year he applied for and gained re-admittance. He was later minister of Glenisla [Angus] from 1659 to 1686.


Single item

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

Purchased as lot 472 at sale of Lee Papers for 4s, 6 Apr 1861

Other Finding Aids

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

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Binding: vellum.Paper: 15.5x20.1cm. Loose leaf 19.7x29.1cm approx.

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

Formerly in the possession of Professor Adam Ferguson.