Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Chronicle of Melrose

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(CHRONICA DE MAILROS)

It opens with the year 735, ends abruptly in 1270, and is founded solely upon the Cottonian Manuscript, Faustina B. ix, in the British Museum, the only ancient copy preserved. All others are transcripts from this one original. The names of its authors are unknown, but some expressions used by them prove this chronicle to have been written in the abbey, whilst evidence from writing shows it to have been the work of monks who were inmates of Melrose in successive periods. The first portion, namely from the commencement to about the year 1140, is a compilation from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and other existing histories by Simeon of Durham and Hoveden. This portion should, therefore, be used with caution. The second portion, namely from about the year 1140 to the abrupt termination of the Chronicle in 1270, is considered by historians to be possessed of the highest credibility. The information is then quite original and the numerous and progressive variations in the handwriting show that it is generally, if not always, contemporaneous. The Manuscript, now in the British Museum, was probably carried off from Melrose at the time of the Reformation. It was edited in 1835 by J. Stevenson, S.J., for the Bannatyne Club. The Oxford edition issued in 1684 by Fulman is by no means satisfactory, as the editor had no opportunity of collating the Oxford transcript with the original. Besides its chronicle, Melrose has handed down hundreds of charters and royal writs, dating from the reign of David I to that of Bruce, and forming a most valuable collection, rich in illustrations of the social life and economy of the period. They were edited by Author:Cosmo Innes.

STEVENSON, Chronica de Mailros (Edinburgh, 1835); INNES, Liber de S. Marie de Melros (Edinburgh, 1837); DOUGLAS, History of Roxburghshire.

W. FORBES-LEITH.