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The Scottish Nation

WYNTOUN, ANDREW, a poet and chronicler of the 14th century, was a canon-regular of St. Andrews, and, about 1395, prior of the monastery of St. Serf’s Inch, in Lochleven. In the chartulary of the priory of St. Andrews there are several public instruments by Andrew Wyntoun, dated between 1395 and 1413; and in the last page of his chronicle, according to the copy in the king’s library, he mentions the Council of Constance, which began Nov. 16, 1414, and ended May 20, 1418. His ‘Orygynall Chronykill of Scotland’ was undertaken at the request of Sir John Wemyss, ancestor of the noble family of that name. Notwithstanding its great value, both as the oldest Scottish manuscript extant, except ‘Sir Tristrem,’ and as the first record of our national history, it remained neglected for nearly four centuries. In 1795, however, a splendid edition of that part of it which relates more immediately to the affairs of Scotland, was published with notes, by Mr. David Macpherson, who very judiciously left untouched the whole introductory portion of this famous ‘Chronykill,’ in which, after the fashion of Roger of Chester, and other venerable historians, the author wisely and learnedly treats of the creation, of angels, giants, &c., and of the general history of the world, before he comes to that which more pertinently concerns the proper subject of his work. In Wyntoun’s Chronicle there is preserved a little elegiac song on the death of King Alexander III., which Mr. Macpherson thinks must be nearly ninety years older than Barbour’s work. Wyntoun outlived 1420, as he mentions the death of Robert, duke of Albany, an event which happened in the course of that year. The oldest and best preserved manuscript of Wyntoun’s Chronicle is in the British Museum. There are also copies of it in the Cotton library, and the Advocates’ library, Edinburgh.

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