Thursday, October 31, 2019

Father James Dalrymple's 'Historie of Scotland' in the Scots language, 1596

The Benedictine abbey of Regensburg or Ratisbon in Bavaria, in south-east Germany, had been founded by Irish monks led by Marianus in the 11th century. After the Scottish Reformation of the mid 1500s it was transferred by the then Pope to host expatriated Lowland Scottish monks. The Scots Monastery of St James or Schottenkirche continued until the 1860s; the building still stands today (Wikipedia here).

So just as parts of Martin Luther’s 1520s Germany had been a refuge for early Scottish Reformers fleeing persecution and the martyrs’ burning stake, this part of 1570s Germany was the destination for some Scottish Catholic clergy after John Knox’s Scotland had become almost fully Reformed.

John Knox's opponent Ninian Winzet was one of those monks who left Scotland for 16th century Regensburg, becoming Abbot there from 1577–92. Winzet would later boast in a letter to Knox that he had not -
'forzhet our auld plane Scottis, quhilk zour mother lerit zou'
Another to settle there was Father James Dalrymple, who may have been from either Stirling or possibly Alloway in Ayrshire. In 1578, their fellow Scot Bishop John Leslie had published a ten volume anti-Reformation / pro-Catholic Latin epic entitled De origine, moribus, ac rebus gestis Scotiae libri decem, usually abbreviated in English to Historie of Scotland. Some images of it are shown here, reproduced from the British Library website.

In 1596, James Dalrymple translated the whole thing into Scots (online here). A few pages are shown below from a later published and typeset edition of Dalrymple's translation (edited by Rev Father E G Cody of the Order of St Benedict, completed after Cody's death by William Murison of Beith in Ayrshire, and published by the Scottish Text Society in 1888), telling the story of King Fergus and his shipwreck at Carrickfergus.

The map detail below shows 'St Ninianus Quhithorn' - ie St Ninian's Whithorn - as well as the Mull of Galloway, Corswell Point, Glenluce – and an interesting distinction between 'Hultonia' and 'Hibernia', ie Ulster and Ireland, which are separated by 'Boandus Flumen', ie the Boyne River, with Ulster dominated by 'Armacana Metrop', ie Armagh city.