British Library, Harley MS 6149
(Deidis of Armorie)


Produced: Scotland, late 15th century
Current Location: British Library, London, England, UK
Manuscript Type: Miscellany
Language: Scots; Latin
Folios: 174
Illustrated: Yes
Scribe: Adam Loutfut, et. al.
Binding: 19th century brown leather
Media: Paper / Parchment
Script: Gothic cursive
Dimensions: Height: 25.2 cm Width: 20 cm
Folio 17r


The bestiary section starts on folio 15v and ends on folio 34v. Some of the beasts are illustrated with colored drawings enclosed in shields in the margin.

Most quires are folio paper with the inner and outer sheets being vellum. The paper has four different watermarks: a unicorn, two different coats of arms, and a crown. The text is probably by three different scribes, though Loutfut's hand is most common.

The Deidis of Armorie is also found in manuscripts Oxford, Queen's College Library, MS. 161; National Library of Scotland, Adv.Libr.31.3.20; National Library of Scotland, Adv.Libr.31.5.2.

This manuscript is designated 'H' in Houwen's 1994 edition of the Deidis of Armorie.

[From Houwen, 1994 , page xiii, xxvii]

The Deidis of Armorie is a late fifteenth-century heraldic manual and bestiary translated from French into Scots and copied around 1494 by Kintyre Pursuivant Adam Loutfut at the behest of Marchmont Herald Sir William Cumming of Inverallochy. ... The work derives its title from the explicit. In some 2555 lines it relates the history of the rise and art of heraldry and the colors, animals, and other terms used therein.

Harley 6149 is no ordinary heraldic manuscript. It appears to be a carefully chosen collection of some of the best-known heraldic and chivalric material. The emphasis of this group of texts falls in three main areas. First, with several treatises on the history of the office of arms this particular area is covered rather well. Second, the texts also more than amply cover the area of battle, with treatises on single combat as well as on battles and tournaments. Finally, there are the treatises on ceremonials. Together they present quite a good, if not a full, picture of the areas in which the herald were active in the later Middle Ages.

Additional Descriptions

Additional description

Editions and Facsimiles

Printed editions

Houwen, 1994

Digital facsimiles

British Library