MS Hunter 3

"William Hunter" c.1787 by Sir Joshua Reynolds (English: 1723-1792) © The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 2014

“William Hunter” c.1787 by Sir Joshua Reynolds (English: 1723-1792)
© The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 2014

MS Hunter 3 is part of the large and varied collection of manuscripts from the library of William Hunter (1718-1783). Hunter was a student of Divinity at The University of Glasgow but he decided against a career in the church and left the university in 1736 without graduating. William Cullen, a practising physician, offered Hunter an apprenticeship which was gladly accepted thus starting off Hunter’s medical career which eventually led him to becoming a renowned surgeon and later royal physician to Queen Charlotte. Beyond his medical interests, Hunter was a vociferous collector of books, manuscripts and artefacts and after his death in 1783 his extensive collection was bequeathed to The University of Glasgow, following a period in London during which time his library was made available to his nephew Dr Matthew Baillie, at Hunter’s own request. His bequest would become the founding collection of The Hunterian, Scotland’s oldest public museum, founded in 1807.

MS Hunter 3 is one of some 658 manuscripts, or bound manuscript volumes, from William Hunter’s library, dating from between 798 and 1777. The manuscripts in MS Hunter 3 all date from the latter half of the sixteenth century and are split into two volumes. Both volumes include proclamations on a variety of subjects, from the price of hops to the signing of peace “with foreign princes”. Most fascinating is that each document is signed by Queen Elizabeth I.

MS Hunter 3, folio 68. Special Collections at Glasgow University Library.

MS Hunter 3, folio 68. Special Collections at Glasgow University Library.

The second volume will be the focus of the research here at Hunting Rebels since it is in this volume that those proclamations, warrants and pardons relating to the Northern Rebellion of 1569 are found. As the project progresses more folios may be examined but for the moment folios 54 to 68 will be considered here. These folios reveal how the Elizabethan authorities attempted to deal with the potential consequences of the Northern Rebellion by clamping down on perceived threats from within the country, specifically the danger of religious dissent, and from outside influences, including exiles on the continent and the ever present enemy: Spain.

Each folio will be presented alongside a modern transcription to make these remarkable documents more accessible. For those who wish to challenge themselves, or simply to marvel at the sometimes humorous spellings (at least to our modern eyes), transcriptions will also be made available which maintain the original spellings, errors and abbreviations.


For more information on the variety of documents included in MS Hunter 3 see and search for MS Hunter 3 in the document search. More generally to learn more about William Hunter and his library, visit The Hunterian.



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