HC Deb 20 December 1960 vol 632 c141W
Mr. John MacLeod

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the recent acquisition by the National Library of Scotland of the Iona Psalter.

Mr. Maclay

The Trustees of the National Library of Scotland learned in September that the Dyson-Perrins Manuscripts to be auctioned at Sotheby's on 29th November included the Iona Psalter. This early 13th century manuscript, was almost certainly written for Beatrix, daughter of Somerled, Lord of the Isles, and first Prioress of the Augustinian Nunnery on Iona. Medieval liturgical manuscripts connected with Scotland are exceedingly rare, and the sale of the Iona Psalter provided an exceptional opportunity to acquire for the nation a 13th century manuscript of the highest class that had definite links with medieval Scotland.

The Psalter was bought by the Trustees of the National Library of Scotland for £6,000. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has agreed, subject to the approval of Parliament, to make an Exchequer grant of £3,200; the balance is being provided by the Trustees from their own resources, assisted by generous contributions from the Pilgrim Trust, the Friends of the National Libraries, and certain other benefactors. The Exchequer contribution will take the form of an increase in the purchase grant to the National Library of Scotland for 1961–62, the Estimate for which will in due course be laid before the House.