School of Divinity

The letters

You can download the full text of each of the 324 Breadalbane letters from this site.

Full Texts For Download

These 324 letters were recently discovered within the extensive correspondence in the Breadalbane Collection, now housed in the National Archives of Scotland (NAS).

The original Breadalbane Letters are found in NAS GD112/39 Bundles 1-14 and part of Bundle 15.

The earliest letter is dated 1548 and the transcriptions end in 1583 with the death of Grey Colin.

With some originals having suffered damage, parts of the letters are illegible, though some damaged passages have been reconstituted from the notes in the MacGregor Collection (NAS GD50).

Please note, you will need Adobe Acrobat to read the PDF texts. For ease of access they have been grouped by date:

You can also search the Breadalbane Collection [NAS GD112] on the NAS online catalogue:

For ease of reference, the letters have also been catelogued by date and by bundle.


A selection of 202 letters was published as Clan Campbell Letters 1559-1583 ed. J. Dawson Scottish History Society 5th series Vol 10 1997. This volume is now out of print. For the Scottish History Society, see Useful Links.

Useful links

Ownership and Copyright

The manuscript letters are owned by the National Archives of Scotland, and the copyright of the letter transcripts is held by Prof. Jane Dawson, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh.

You may download these transcripts but, if citing, please give the correct NAS reference and acknowledge this site.

Editing Conventions

The following conventions have been adopted:

The information in the headings follows modern usage where possible, providing the standardized form of place-names and the usual modern form of personal names and titles.

For Gaelic names the conventions used in Acts of Lords of the Isles eds. J & R.W. Munro [SHS 1986] p. lxxxiii, have been followed. In the body of the letters 'Mc' and 'Vc' have been treated as abbreviations and expanded to 'Mac' and 'Vic'. In dating the year is taken to begin on 1 January, though the dates within the letters have been retained as written.

The original internal layout of the letters has been retained and within the text of the transcript the start and end of each line corresponds to the lines within the manuscript.

The entire text of each letter, even those badly damaged, has been included. Damaged portions of the manuscripts have been indicated by unspaced points, viz ..., and uncertain readings have been placed in brackets. Sections within asterisks have been inserted into the main body of the text from their original position in the manuscript margins.

The original spelling of the manuscript letters has been retained and the characters 'thorn' and 'yogh' have been transcribed 'y' and 'z' respectively [in the SHS edition they are transcribed 'th' and 'y'].

To aid reading capital letters and minimal punctuation have been inserted and all abbreviations and contractions silently expanded.

Readings from the MacGregor transcripts [GD50] have been placed within brackets.