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MS 208: Composite manuscript containing fifteen legal texts including the Regiam Majestatem, late 15th century

Identifier: MS 208
Composite manuscript including the 'Regiam Majestatem' (MS 208)
Composite manuscript including the 'Regiam Majestatem' (MS 208)


This Scottish manuscript contains a collection of texts about Scottish law. The first part of this manuscript (ff. 1-129) appears to have been written around the beginning of the last quarter of the 15th century; the rest (ff. 130-335) seems to have been written in 1496 (see Custodial History). The contents are as follows:
ff. 1r-87r: Reportium (Index) to the volume
ff. 89r-117v: Miscellaneous collection of laws
ff. 118r-124v: Leges Gylde
ff. 126r-129r: Leges Forestarum
ff. 130r-150v: Leges Quatuor Burgorum
ff. 152r-154r: Extracts from Institutiones by Justinian I
ff. 154r-168r: Collection of Civil Law texts titled De Tutelis
ff.168r-172r: Collection of Canon Law texts
ff. 172v-174r: A treatise of charters, and exceptions against them
ff. 175r-215v: Regiam Majestatem
ff. 215v-221v: Miscellaneous collection of law treatises
f. 221v: Forma de recenti deforciamento in hujusmodi
ff. 221v-239r: Leges Baronum
ff. 241r-251r: A collection of Letters from various Burghs, with the Laws of King David, King William, and King Alexander
ff. 251v-334v: Acts of Parliament of James I, James II, and James III
ff. 335r-335v: Unidentified notes, and some inscriptions
The vellum fly-leaves at the start and end also contain notes and inscriptions. These seem to have been included in the original binding.
The texts are described separately, under MS 208/ff. 1r-87r; MS 208/ff. 89r-117v; MS 208/ff. 118r-124v; MS 208/ff. 126r-129r; MS 208/ff. 130r-150v; MS 208/ff. 152r-154r; MS 208/ff. 154r-168r; MS 208/ff.168r-172r; MS 208/ff. 172v-174r; MS 208/ff. 175r-215v; MS 208/ff. 215v-221v; MS 208/f. 221v; MS 208/ff. 221v-239r; MS 208/ff. 241r-251r; and MS 208/ff. 251v-334v.
Writing Written by two hands (the first ff. 1-129 and the second ff. 130-335), both of which are characteristic, the last and latest being of known date, 1496. Initials in the first part are left unfinished, but the last part is rubricated and has good coloured capitals.


  • late 15th century

Language of Materials

Latin; Scots

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to all. The manuscripts can be consulted in the Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Main Library.


1 bound MS volume

Custodial History

The first part of this manuscript appears to have been written about the beginning of the last quarter of the 15th century; the rest, according to a colophon at the end of the Laws of Alexander - which is now missing, but is referred to in the analysis of the manuscript by Cosmo Innes (see the Bibliography) - was ‘endyt and wrytyn at Ynglis Terwatt the first day of Marche, the zer of God imiiiicnynty and vi zeris’.
The earliest mark of ownership is probably the inscription among some pen trials on f. 251r: Liber honorabilis viri Jacobi fletchir, which is repeated in Scots on f. 335r.
Many inscriptions (ff. 87v, 89r, 175r, 240r, 335r) testify that in the latter part of the 16th century it belonged to Thomas Scott, and had been given to him by his father, David Scott of Spencerfield, whose arms appear on f. 87v with the date 1575. The fullest statement is on f. 175r: þis buk pertenis to Dawyd Scot, son to Jhon Scot of þe Spenserfeld writtyn wt my awin hawnd and gyffen it to my son thome Scot comform to my hand wt ane gyft, writtyn be me in þe forn end of þis buyk to þe samin effect. Dawe Scott wt my hand.
The following inscription occurs on f. 129r in the lower margin: And ... of þir persounis above vryttin to David Gybsoune my mayster, burgis of Disert.
On f. 335v still another 16th century owner's name is found: Magister Robertus Dawing est hujus libri possessor.
On a vellum fly-leaf at the beginning is the name Allexr Colvil commendatarius (Commendator of Culross, 1566-1580). This is the justification of the name 'Colville MS.' used by Cosmo Innes (see the Bibliography). Presumably the Commendator received the volume from Thomas Scott.
From this fly-leaf, we can also see that in 1817 it belonged to Alexander Boswell, Lord Auchinleck. Later still, it belonged to Mr. J. A. Maconachie, from whose hands it passed to David Laing.

Previous reference

Laing 380

Previous title

Title given to the manuscript in Catherine Borland’s catalogue: Regiam Majestatem.


Innes, Cosmo. The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland. Voume I. 1844. See page 198.

Physical Facet

Material: Paper, with vellum fly-leaves

Binding: Modern, lettered ‘Regiam Majestatem. The Colville MS.’


27.94 cm x 19.7 cm


Secundo folio: Actor habens
Foliation and number of lines to a page: ff. 335, partly in double columns (ff. 130r-150v), irregular number of lines to a page.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
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