Knox, Knox. Who’s there? Presbyterianism.

In the declining years of Presbyterian founder John Knox, he took up his pen to write the history of the Scottish Reformation from 1493 to 1567. But the book was almost lost to eternity.

Knox’s invaluable first-person experience in implementing the Reformation was critical and he carefully wrote this primary source in various manuscript sections a few years before his death in 1572. But the work was unpublished initially for almost 75 years.

This 1644 volume is on display at the PHC.

In 1644/1645, Scottish Historian David Buchanan published the complete history based on Knox’s own manuscripts and papers. There were London and Edinburgh editions.

The volume (pictured) in the Presbyterian Heritage Center’s rare books collection is the Edinburgh printing. Entitled The Historie Of the Reformation Within the Realme of Scotland, from 1422 Till 1567, the book was rebound early in its life.

On the front fly leaf is an inked inscription that this is the Edinburgh printing of 1644. It also includes the “Appellation” & “Letter” to Queen Mary. An inked note on the fly leaf says this copy was given by Mrs. Laing, widow of Malcolm Laing, to ‘J. B.” in 1853. Since the inked name, Margaret Laing, 1819, is at the top of the 1st page of the Preface, this would seem to be accurate. Malcolm Laing [1762-1818] edited Knox’s works and also published a History of Scotland. This treasure is in the Square 8vo. size, composed of over 458 pages.


Today’s post written by Ron Vinson, Executive Director at PHC.

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