George Bannatyne

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A page from The Bannatyne Manuscript. (National Library of Scotland)

George Bannatyne (1545–1608) was an Edinburgh merchant and burgess.[1] He is, however, most famous as a collector of Scottish poems. He was a native of Angus. He compiled an anthology of the Scots poetry of his age. His work extended to eight hundred folio pages, divided into five parts.

The Bannatyne manuscript

The Bannatyne Manuscript is, with the Asloan and Maitland manuscripts, one of the great sources of Middle Scots literature. It contains many works by Henryson, Dunbar, Lyndsay, Alexander Scott and Alexander Montgomerie.[2]

The document was passed by Bannatyne to his descendants and then, via several private owners, to the Advocates' Library of Edinburgh. It is now held by the National Library of Scotland.[3]

Recent Scholarship

More recent scholarship on the Bannatyne Manuscript suggests an earlier date of 1565 for its composition. 9A. A. MacDonald, 'The Bannatyne Manuscript: a Marian Anthology', IR xxxvii (1986), 36-47) demonstrate this and Michael Lynch points out that its compilation at this time was appropriate given that it contains a great deal of love poetry and was put together at the time of the royal marriage between Mary I and Lord Darnley.Lynch, M. A New History of Scotland, Pimlico, 1991, p213.


  1. ^ Scott's memoir of Bannatyne
  2. ^ A transcript of the manuscript (Volume 2 of 4) at
  3. ^ National Library of Scotland

Further reading

  • Chambers, Robert & Thomson, Thomas Napier (1857). Bannatyne, George. A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen. 1. Glasgow: Blackie and son. pp. 129–133.
  •  "Bannatyne, George". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  • Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bannatyne, George". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
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