Description of the manuscripts
- The 'dynamic' edition: Key Concepts
- Understanding 'dynamic' text
- Using the dynamic edition
The Declaration of Arbroath
- Methodology for the new edition of the Declaration of Arbroath
- The manuscripts of the Declaration
- Translating the Declaration of Arbroath
A model of a dynamic edition of Regiam maiestatem
- Historical Introduction
- Description of the manuscripts
- Translating Regiam
- 'Dynamic' Symbols: An Aide-Memoire
- How to Cite
Alice Taylor introduces the manuscripts selected for the model of a dynamic edition of Regiam maiestatem. Much fuller descriptions can be found in Taylor (ed.), Laws of Medieval Scotland (Edinburgh, 2019).
Version 1 MSS: the earliest attested version of Regiam
C: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, MS 21246, fos 27r-62r (The 'Bute manuscript')
Parchment MS (215mm x 290 mm) which must post-date 1389 (the earliest date references within it). The current codex contains an additional two gatherings bound at the front which may have been added after 1424/5, when the volume was sold. The original gathering signatures appear in the top margin, as 'b', 'c' and so on. Written in one hand (including the gloss of Regiam) throughout, with changes of ink, and with significant later additions from a later s.xv hand, as well as other hands which provide commentary. In addition to Regiam, the codex also contains the second earliest surviving copy of an Assizes of David, as well as the earliest known witness of Quoniam Attachiamenta, Leges Forestarum, Leges Malcolmi Mackenneth, Leges Willelmi Regis and Statuta Regis Alexandri. The first attested owner of the Bute manuscript was one 'Cragy' of Edinburgh, who sold the book to Duncan Parker, perhaps a burgess of Edinburgh in January 1424/5. Regiam appears in four parts (partes), with 213 chapters (193 numbered, but hundreds are reckoned as six score hundreds). No clear explicit.
F: London, British Library, Additional MS 18111, fos 1r-76r.
Parchment MS (95 mm x 138 mm) of first half of the fifteenth century. The current codex is made up of two separate codicological parts (the first part constitutes 12 gatherings; the second, five). The first is earlier than the second, and the two parts were bound together by 1460 at the latest, on the basis that a short series of annals have been written in the back, of which the latest item is dated 1460. The Dunfermline-focus of these annals suggests that the volume was either written at, commissioned by, or obtained by Dunfermline. The second codicological part is of interest because it contains a beta-version of the assizes of David, an early witness to Quoniam Attachiamenta as well as a text of the 'short version' of Statuta Regis Alexandri. The codex was later owned by John Gordon of Buthlaw (d.1775), who was a professor of civil law at Edinburgh.
Regiam appears here in four parts (partes) in 190 chapters. There is a clear incipit (incipiunt leges condite per Dauid Regem Scocie) and explicit (expliciunt constitutiones regie [sic: for regis?] Regni Scocie preter constitutiones burgorum edite per Dauid Regem Scocie). A further two chapters follow, numbered 191 and 192 but these appear after the clear explicit of the work. The difference in number of chapters in F and C is mainly owing to the fact that sub-headings in F are represented as separate chapters in C. Regiam in F is prefaced by a list of chapters, of which the first folio is now missing.
Version 2: Regiam shifts and is revised over the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
As stated earlier, 'Version 2' of Regiam is the least coherent. It is quite clear that we are not dealing with a single archetype of a revision of Regiam which was then copied. Instead, we identified three separate 'stages' of Regiam revision which Version 2 represents. Yet even these stages do not encompass all 'Version 2' manuscripts. Manuscript H for example, contains many similar textual instances to early version 2 manuscripts (like CH, D, E, G) but also some readings which are wholly singular to it. The stages are:
- A period of revision of Regiam, with more material inserted, including more material from Glanvill. The earliest MS to attest to this change is CH which, like C, must post-date 1389, but not by long. This is of interest because it shows that Regiam was being revised before its first appearance on the parliamentary record in 1426. But this revision was not a single process; rather it appears to have been a multiple ones (and is represented here by CH, D, E, G). At this stage, an error in the number of books appears to have been introduced: all these manuscripts contain a three-book Regiam, not a four-book.
- A more formal revision of Regiam, incorporating more material, and including some formal commentary and legal decisions within the main body of the text. Regiam appears within this tradition as a three-book text (it is represented here by I and J)
- A 'tidying' up of the Regiam attested in I, with small changes to prose style, and a correction of the number of books from three to four (this stage is represented here by S)
However, even these stages are only rough, but reflect a relatively frequent interest in updating and maintaining the authority of Regiam.
CH, Harvard Law Library, MS 164, fos 20r-62v
Parchment, 99 fols, now in modern binding. This is a codex whose existence I was alerted to by Professor Gero Dolezalek in early 2020. It therefore has not been included in my Laws of Medieval Scotland. The manuscript must postdate 1389 (fo. 74v), and contains an early witness to Quoniam Attachiamenta as well as a witness to the short-version of Statuta Regis Alexandri. It most resembles G, but there are also similarities with D and E. A full study of this manuscript codex is forthcoming.
Regiam appears in this codex as the second item (behind Quoniam Attachiamenta) in the list of contents but appears actually in the manuscript itself as the third item, behind a beta-text of the Assizes of David. It is divided into three books, with parts 2 and 3 being amalgamated into a single, bumper book. It has a clear explicit at the end of the chapter 'de confugientibus ad ecclesiam'.
D: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates MS 25.4.13, fos 13r-94r
Paper MS, 172 folios, with a notarial date of 17 December 1439, derived from a colophon on fo. 164r. Written in one hand, with not all litterae notabiliores finished. The volume has a contents list whose order is maintained throughout the book. Modern binding. No indication about origins. Volume also contains Quoniam Attachiamenta and a bumper-text of the Leges Burgorum.
Regiam here is divided into three parts, with a total of 210 chapters. As with CH, books 2 and 3 are merged together to create a giant book '2'
E: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates MS 25.4.10, fos 2r-30r.
Paper, 190mm x 250mm, 125ff. This manuscript was written by the notary Alexander Foulis, who completed it c. April 1454. It is quite badly damaged and, in places, unfinished. As a result, a later scribe completed many of the works Foulis was copying, often with later versions of the same work.
Regiam is prefaced here by a list of rubrics in two columns. It is divided into three books, and has a total of 200 chapters. E's text of Regiam is similar to D's but E's scribe was far more economic with his time, and often deigned not to transcribe the repetitive parts of Regiam.
G: Edinburgh University Library, MS 206, fos 18v-61v
Paper, 143x215mm, first half of the fifteenth century. It has lost much of its original gatherings but seems originally to have been made up of seven or eight 16-leaf gatherings, of which only four now survive wholly. Two survive partially, and at least one, if not two, do not survive at all, and have been replaced with later copies, probably made before the volume was gifted to the university in 1673.
Regiam appears here in three books, with a list of rubrics (fos 2r-5r). Its text ends abruptly towards the end of book 3.
H: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates MS 25.5.10 (the Cromertie manuscript), fos 33r-74r
Paper, 198x280mm, written in two columns, with intercolumnal commentary and glosses by the main scribe. Rubrication and decoration unfinished, as are some of the works presented in the codex (e.g. the text of Robert I's 1318 legislation). Part of the medieval library of the Charterhouse at Perth (shelfmark H.vi), so must postdate 1429. Hand s.xv med. This is a very interesting manuscript, which appears to have been produced to provide an authoritative copy and interpretation of Scots law. Concordances and contradictions between all the works are noted in the margins and, for the latter, on occasion, resolved. The scribe seems to have compiled his texts from multiple manuscripts and as a result, H resembles no other manuscript in any of its texts.
Regiam in H appears in four books, with a total of 213 chapters, with a substantial gloss, that sometimes mirrors that found in C and sometimes extends it. The chapters themselves are subdivided clearly. References to Roman and canon law are made in the margin and within the text, as to other authorities of English and Scottish common law.
I: Edinburgh University Library MS 207, fos 8r-63v
Paper, 194 x 280mm, 208 folios, s.xv, end? The earliest attested owner is one Master Henry Clerk (we do not know what he was master of...). The book is of interest because it marks the start of a step change in these sort of Latin legal manuscripts. Thus, I is the earliest known manuscript to contain a copy of Quoniam Attachiamenta with a beta-text of Assizes of David attached. It also is the first surviving witness of the bumper Leges Burgorum, and a formulary. This pattern of works attested in I is attested increasingly commonly in manuscripts of the very late fifteenth and sixteenth century.
Regiam in I is divided into three books, with a total of 210 chapters. It contains some significant textual departures from earlier manuscripts, not least in its incorporation of commentary on contradictions in the text of Regiam. It is also the earliest surviving manuscript to attach a poem on Regiam to the start of the tractate. This becomes increasingly common in late 15th- and 16th-century manuscripts of Regiam.
J: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, MS 16497, ('the Arbuthnott manuscript'), fos. 2v-52r.
Paper, 203x285mm, 260 folios, written in the hand of a notary, David of Baldovy, whose manu propria inscription appears on several folios throughout the book. Late fifteenth century. The volume is of particular interest for its inclusion of Omne Gaderum, a rather peculiar legal collection, written in 1425, and its massive 109-chapter Assizes of David. It bears some resemblance otherwise in structure and content to I and N (the Drummond manuscript, not included here).
J's copy of Regiam is divided into three parts, and contains 212 chapters, and is prefaced by the poem first attested in full in I.
S: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates MS 25.4.12, fos 4r-91r ('the Thomas Bannatyne manuscript')
Paper, 195x265mm, written by Thomas Bannatyne, possibly the brother of John Bannatyne, chancery scribe, and scribe of a Version 3 manuscript. Early 16th century.
S's copy of Regiam is, to a large extent, very similar to I only that its prose has been tidied up and it returns to a four-book rather than three-book structure. S appears to have been the exemplar of another manuscript, not included as part of the edition (CUL, MS Ee.4.21).
Version 3: Regiam is revised once more
Version 3 Regiam manuscripts are defined by their inclusion of even more chapters than found in Version 2 and their imposition of a four-book structure. Unlike Version 2, they are remarkably stable in form. The exception here is MS O, which appears to be a hybrid Regiam, maintaining much of the structure of a 'Version 2' Regiam for much of the work, but taking on the form of a 'Version 3' Regiam by the end. As O as a whole follows the much-more set pattern of version3-MSS in general, it has been included here.
K: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Advocates MS 25.5.6, fos 1r-59v (the Monynet MS)
Paper, 208x285mm, ii+407+ii folios, written by the rather prolific fifteenth-century notary James Monynet in early summer 1488. The book was later owned by a burgess of Edinburgh, and then Sir William Sinclair of Roslin. It ended up in the library of Sir James Balfour (d.1657),. This is a large and impressive codex and I have suggested elsewhere is the earliest extant witness to a larger project of codifying the legal texts normally found in books like these. It is particularly of interest that a contents list (as opposed to a list of capitula) is found in K, specifying the order in which the works are supposed to appear.
Regiam in K is divided into four books and 212 chapters. There are two types of numbering in this MS, one continuous throughout the work, the other restarting at the start of each book. Poem is retained at the start of the chapters. It is quite clear that the Regiam witnessed in K constituted a full revision, perhaps with Version 1 and many version 2 manuscripts being used. Regiam is then followed by the Tractatus post Regiam Maiestatem, which contains a rather bungled copy of the 1318 legislation.
O: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, MS 25.5.9, fos. 1-52v (the John Bannatyne manuscript)
Paper, 187x 259mm, 306 folios. written by John Bannatyne, chancery scribe, and finished on 12 May 1520. It was later owned by his son. In terms of the contents of this codex, it is very similar to K.
Regiam in O is interesting. On the one hand, one would expect it to align closely with K and other related manuscripts. It is divided into four books but, unlike K is numbered only continuously. In addition, it often contains readings closer to IJS, Version 2 manuscripts. Yet it also has chapters found only in Version 3 (e.g. the final chapter of Regiam in Version 3 on compensation payments for injuries). It has been classed here as a Version 3 manuscript in part because the remainder of the contents of O are so closely aligned to other version 3 manuscripts. It remains, however, the case that O's Regiam is somewhat hybrid, and a different editorial decision could have been taken. Regiam is then followed by the Tractatus post Regiam Maiestatem, which contains a rather bungled copy of the 1318 legislation.
R: Glasgow University Library, Murray MS 548, fos 8r[recte9r]-70v
Paper, 272x368mm, written by the notary Henry Ayton, for James Bannatyne, son of John Bannatyne in 1546. This is a massive volume, in many ways wholly impractical, for display only? It passed out of Scotland in 1593 when it was given to Tobias Matthew, dean of Durham.
Regiam here is divided into four books and 215 chapters (according to the contents list). Regiam is then followed by the Tractatus post Regiam Maiestatem, which contains a rather bungled copy of the 1318 legislation.