Cockburn Manuscript

Location: GB-Eu

Reference: P 637 R787.1

Date: 1671

Size: Folio

Extent: 60 folios


A manuscript of music for lyra-viol, keyboard, voice, and unnamed treble and bass instruments.

Now part of the Laing collection at the University of Edinburgh, the manuscript remains in excellent condition, seemingly in its originally leather binding with gold decoration, and the initials “I F” on back and front. On the inside front cover a printed bookplate gives the name of a previous owner, “Mr George Carre Advocate”, and the name “Magdlen Cockburn John”. The initials “I F” also appear on the inside of the back cover, alongside the date “1671”. A single loose leaf in the manuscript is inscribed “To the Leard of Cavers Carre”.

Whilst the identity of Cockburn remains a mystery, there are links to the Kerrs of Newbattle and Maules Panmure, through the appearance of the “Panmure scribe” (see notes to Panmure violin MS 1), and the inscription to the Laird of Cavers Carre, another branch of the family of the Kerrs of Newbattle. Stell also suggests that the initials “I F” might have belonged to Jean Fleming, wife of George Maule, 3rd Earl of Panmure.

The majority of the manuscript is made up of music in tablature for lyra viol, predominantly copied by the Panmure scribe, with repertoire similar to that of the Panmure and Newbattle violin manuscripts: music from Restoration London, with some French and Scottish tunes. Other amateur hands have copied the keyboard music, songs (with bass), and exercises in bass clef (probably for bass viol).

The treble tunes are copied in the same neat yet amateur hand as the keyboard pieces, reversed on ff. 43v-40. The tunes are copied on a six-line stave, and there is always a blank stave after those with notation, as if a bass line was originally planned.

The thematic index gives only the pieces for treble instrument.


Stell, Sources, 71-9.

View this manuscript's tunes in the full tune index