Welcome to the University of Guelph’s online digital collection of Scottish Charters.

The University of Guelph is proud to house the largest repository of Scottish rare books, archival materials, and ephemera outside of the United Kingdom. The collection is housed in Archival & Special Collections in McLaughlin Library. An overview of the collection is available here. The Scottish Studies Collection includes everything from Jacobite material to Presbyterian records to Scottish chapbooks, but the oldest items in our collection are our medieval Scottish land charters. Written mostly on parchment, these manuscripts are centuries old—the earliest dating to the Second War of Scottish Independence (1332–1357)—and provide valuable insight into medieval Scottish history, politics, and society.

In November 2021, our charter collection was shared with the public in a special exhibit entitled “Signed & Sealed: The Rise of the Medieval Charter in Scotland”. Part of an Experiential Learning collaboration between the Department of History and Archival and Special Collections, this exhibit was produced and curated by a team of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, librarians, and university staff.

Our charters, which were digitized in our Scottish Studies Foundation Digitization Room, can now be explored and viewed on this website. For your convenience, these digitized images are available in both PDF and JPG format. In addition, several items in our collection have been transcribed and translated in previous years and, where possible, we have included these earlier transcriptions with the associated manuscript. However, please be aware that these have not been fully checked and may contain errors, particularly in the transcription of place-names, many of which have changed or been lost over time. Any use of these transcriptions should be used with caution, but we provide them here so our visitors can get a sense of the scope and nature of our sources. We will continue to add resources and update the information and metadata in our digital library, so please forgive any errors that appear in the meanwhile.

Please browse through our items, or explore our online digital exhibit, which provides additional context and an interactive interface to view these valuable manuscripts. Our Exhibition Catalogue is also available for free download and contains several essays by students and faculty, as well as the original labels and images of the manuscripts as they were displayed in our Signed & Sealed exhibit. We hope you enjoy exploring these fascinating sources!

If you are interested in using our Scottish Studies Collection, please contact Archival & Special Collections' reference staff here

The library is committed to ensuring that members of our user community with disabilities have equal access to our services and resources and that their dignity and independence is always respected. If you encounter a barrier and/or need an alternate format, please fill out our Library Print and Multimedia Alternate-Format Request Form. Contact us if you’d like to provide feedback: lib.a11y@uoguelph.ca