1159 - The Kelso Charter

1159 - The Kelso Charter  

This royal charter, granted to Kelso Abbey, contains the earliest surviving images of Scottish kings. The two fine miniatures in the initial 'M' shown here portray Malcolm IV and David I enthroned with their symbols of power.

The charter was granted by Malcolm IV ('the Maiden'), and confirmed all previous grants to the Abbey. Malcolm was the grandson and successor of David I (1084-1153). David is represented as Solomon, the perfect Biblical king, with his long hair and beard conveying the image of a patriarch. The manuscript clearly tries to reinforce the impression that the Scots kings are part of a dynastic and divinely-ordained order of rulers.

The charter has been deposited in the Library since 1924 by His Grace the Duke of Roxburghe.
Dep. 255

The Kelso Charter

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