To the ordinary reader the history of the Scottish monasteries of old is far from familiar. It is true that for many years past various antiquarian societies have given to the world the chartularies of some of the old abbeys and priories, but these are not likely to attract any except professed students of antiquity; for apart from the uninteresting nature of their contents, as far as the average reader is concerned, the language in which they are written-Latin of a curious style, often rendered more obscure by recognised abbreviations in vogue at the period in which they were penned-would debar the majority from attempting to master their meaning. Of some few monasteries, it is true, monographs have been published, but in many instances their writers display a want of understanding of the Religious State (only to be expected in ardent advocates of a faith hostile to that of the inmates of the dwellings whose history they relate), which well-nigh counteracts the benefits offered by such treatises in the shape of valuable local traditions. But of many-indeed, we may venture to say of the majority-of Scottish monasteries, very few reliable records remain. Scattered fragments of information have been gleaned from old historians and other such sources and embodied in ponderous tomes and multitudinous volumes like those of Chalmers' Caledonia, the Statistical Account of Scotland-Old and New, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, etc.; but works of the kind do not attract the casual reader. It is with the hope of awakening in some minds a keener interest in the glories of bygone days that the writer has attempted to bring together from the above sources the chief facts relating to the history of the monasteries in Scotland which were peopled by the sons of St Benedict in the Middle Ages. To him it has been a labour of love to gather together the materials of this volume, and it will be an added satisfaction if such labour should serve to make more widely known what the monasteries of old were for Scotland. It will be something gained if this book but helps to lift the veil of obscurity which-in spire of their fuins, studding the face of the land, and their names, living in many a town and village-still shrouds houses which for cllnturies were universally regarded as homes of sanctity, prayer, and farreaching charity.
Michael Barrett OSB, Brother Hermenegild TOSF, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1495923185, ISBN 13: 9781495923180