Scottish chronicler, born (as we know from the internal evidence of his writings) in the reign of David II, about the middle of the fourteenth century. He is conjectured to have been related to Alan of Wyntoun, who married the heiress of Seton, and is now represented by the Earl of Eglinton and Winton. He became a canon-regular of the priory of St. Andrews, and before 1395 was appointed prior of the ancient monastery of Lochleven, in Kinross-schire, which was a subject house of St. Andrews for upwards of four hundred years (see LOCHLEVEN). Innes, in his "Critical Essay" (1729), pointed out that the register of the priory of St. Andrews contained several acts or public instruments of Wyntoun, as prior of Lochleven, from 1395 to 1413; but there is no evidence as to how long he continued in office after the latter year, or as to the date of his death. It was at the request of Sir John de Wemyss (ancestor of the Earls of Wemyss), whom he mentions as one of his intimate friends, that Wyntoun undertook to write his "Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland ", so entitled, as he himself explains, not because it was his own composition, but because it begins at the beginning of things, namely with the creation of angels. How long the compilation of the work took is uncertain, but the fact that Robert, Duke of Albany, is mentioned in it as dead proves that it was finished some time after September, 1420. The author, while engaged in the latter part of it, reckoned himself already an old man, as appears from his prologue to the ninth book, so that it is not probable that he lived long after its completion. The variations in the manuscripts show that it was frequently revised and corrected, in all probability by Wyntoun's own hand.
No printed edition of the Chronicle appeared until 1795, when it was edited from the Royal manuscript in the British Museum, with a valuable critical introduction, by David Macpherson. Nearly one- third of the original was, however, omitted, and this was restored by Laing in his edition published in 1872, in the "Historians of Scotland " series. Laing describes the eleven manuscripts of the Chronicle known to exist, and the Scottish Text Society has since printed a new edition from the Cottonian and Wemyss manuscripts, with the variants of the other texts. A considerable portion of the Chronicle, it must be noted, is the work of an unknown author, who sent it to Wyntoun, and it was incorporated by him into his own narrative. Both are written in the same easy-flowing, octosyllabic rhyming verse, and the work has therefore value from a poetical as well as from an historical standpoint. Andrew Lang credits Wyntoun with "a trace of the critical spirit, displayed in his wrestlings with feigned genealogies "; but Æneas Mackay does him more justice in pointing out that he understands the importance of chronology, and is, for the age in which he wrote, wonderfully accurate as to dates. His work has thus real value as the first attempt at scientific history writing in Scotland, and philologically it is not less important as having been written in the Scots vernacular, and not (like nearly all the works of contemporary men of learning) in a dead language. Regarded as a poet, Wyntoun can hardly take high rank, certainly not equal rank to his predecessor Barbour, the father of Scottish poetry. His narrative, in truth, though written in rhyme is mostly prosaic in style; but some of his descriptions are vivid, and touched with the true spirit of poetry.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online