[Notes on the Black Book Contents]
THE following account of the Black Book of Paisley was originally intended to form part of the Appendix to Dr. Lees’ History of the Abbey of Paisley, but at the request of the Publisher a shorter one was substituted, and this was reserved for a separate publication. The account is incomplete and imperfect in many respects, but it may perhaps direct attention to the critical examination of the MSS. of the SCOTICHRONICON referred to in it, and be of some assistance in the preparation of a new edition of that work, which, with all its defects, is perhaps the most important of Scottish historical chronicles.
The Black Book of Paisley has often been mistaken for an original compilation, but while this is not so, I have ventured to suggest that there is some evidence of the existence of an original Paisley Chronicle, and if this be the case, it will explain how such a mistake arose.
I was long puzzled to ascertain anything regarding John de Burdeus, the author of the Tract de Pestilentia, which is copied on a fly leaf of the MS.; and as no account of him exists in any Book of Reference, so far as I know, I collected in Note B what I had found. This had been printed when I read Mr. Edward B. Nicholson’s interesting letter in the Academy of 12th April. 1884, identifying him with Sir John Mandeville. I have added a few paragraphs to my Note, embodying the new information, and connecting it with my own; but now that Mr. Nicholson has given the clue, it is to be hoped that either he or some other labourer will follow it up and unravel more fully the history of this mysterious personage.
COLONSAY, 12th September, 1885.