SKENE, Sir John (1543-1617), clerk-register and lord of session. Scotiae veteres leges et constitutiones [from Malcolm MacKenneth II to Robert III], including laws of the forest and laws of towns and gilds [with Index and Leges Burgorum Scotiae]. MANUSCRIPT IN LATIN, the Leges Burgorum and laws of the forest in Scottish. Written by James Mershall, signed three time by the scribe on 15, 28 and 30 July. Folio (290x190mm), 336 leaves, written in light-brown ink in a bâtarda anglicana bookhand. Contemporary reversed calf (skilfully rebacked). PROVENANCE: SIR THOMAS PHILLIPPS MS 9491, PURCHASED BY HIM IN 1836 AS PART OF THE STOCK OF THE BOOKSELLER THORPE. SOLD AT SOTHEBY'S 10 JUNE 1896 (LOT 2268).
SKENE COMPLETED THE WORK IN 1607, WITH A DEDICATION TO KING JAMES VI, AND THIS MANUSCRIPT MUST HAVE BEEN WRITTEN SHORTLY AFTER. ON 23 FEBRUARY 1608 AN ACT WAS PASSED FOR PRINTING IT AT PUBLIC EXPENSE, AND IT WAS PUBLISHED IN EDINBURGH IN 1609, UNDER THE TITLE 'REGIAM MAJESTATEM, SCOTIAE VETERES LEGES ET CONSTITUTIONES'.