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MS 2076

Catalogue of Gaelic Manuscripts in the National Library of Scotland

© Description by Ronald Black

MS 2076


Mackinnon, p.298; Mackechnie, p.317.

Paper. iv + 354 ff. Folio, 27.75 × 19.25 cms. “Pot” watermark. Written c.1600, probably in Ireland, by an anonymous scribe, perhaps of the Husabost Beatons. Another copy of the Lilium in his hand is RIA MS.23 G 14. He received a little assistance from two scribes. One (ff.201, 205v–206r, 207r–208r) is hand 4 of NLS Adv.MS.18.2.11, the other (ff.214r–216v) is Neil Beaton, hand 13 of NLS Adv.MS.72.1.2. There are no colophons, the only Gaelic marginalia being additions and emendations to the text. Many are by the chief scribe, but a large number bear varying degrees of likeness to the hand of Angus Beaton in NLS Adv.MS.72.2.10 (e.g. ff.23r, 99r, 120v, 214r–306r) and to the general style of Beaton hands in NLS Adv.MS.72.1.33 (e.g. ff.37v, 143r–173r). One hand is presumably that of Angus’s father Farquhar, to whom Rev. Donald MacQueen (who succeeded Angus’s great-great grandson as minister of Kilmuir) ascribed possession of the manuscript (f.iii).

At f.1r the first words of the text are copied in Roman script. Scribblings at f.338v in a late 17th-century Scots hand include the words “Petition the Leard of McLeoid”. The date 1732 appears at f.94r.

In 1784 MacQueen presented the manuscript to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. At the same time he left two almost identical notes on Farquhar Beaton and the Lilium, one of which is bound with the manuscript and one tipped into the Advocates’ Library copy of Bernard of Gordon’s Opus, Lilium Medicinae inscriptum …. Una cum aliquot aliis eius libellis (Lyons, 1574), NLS pressmark M.13.e. This work contains Latin originals of all the treatises in the manuscript.

Deposited in 1934 by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Bound 1938. Condition good, despite damp-staining. Some edges perished at beginning and end with some loss of text; ff.2–3 are missing. Incomplete at end, but two or three further folios would have seen the final treatise complete. Scribal foliation (on versos) to 355 only, as 304 is repeated in error. Ff.156v–157r and 171r are reproduced photographically in CMJ (New Ser.) 6, facing pp.36–7, and f.171r in John Comrie’s History of Scottish Medicine, 2 vols, 2nd ed. (London 1932), vol. 1, p.103.


i Earl of Buchan’s note recording receipt of manuscript, 3 June 1784.

ii Transliteration of introduction to Lilium (hand anon.).

iii MacQueen’s note on Lilium and Farquhar Beaton, 10 May 1784.

1r Bernard of Gordon. LILIUM MEDICINAE.

342r Rémacle Fuchs. Ten tables of common prescriptions.

352r Bernard of Gordon. DECEM INGENIA. Beg. De ingenis curandi morbos. Incomplete. Cf. NLI MS. G 12, p.23.


Mackechnie, John. Catalogue of Gaelic manuscripts in selected libraries in Great Britain and Ireland. 2 vols (Boston 1973).

Mackinnon, Donald. A descriptive catalogue of Gaelic manuscripts in the Advocates Library, Edinburgh, and elsewhere in Scotland (Edinburgh 1912).