Blair, John

, a monk of the order of St. Benedict, was born in the county of Fife, in Scotland, in the reign of king Alexander III. and educated with the celebrated sir William Wallace, at the school of Dundee. He then went over to France, where he studied for some time in the university of Paris, and became a monk of the order of St. Benedict. On his return to Scotland, he found his country in great confusion, owing to the death of Alexander III. without issue, and the contests of various competitors for the throne. At first, therefore, he retired to the house of the Benedictines at Dumfermline but when, sir William Wallace was made governor or viceroy of the kingdom in 1294, Blair became his chaplain, and being by this means an eye-witness of most of his actions, he composed the history of his life in Latin verse. Of this a, fragment only is left, which was copied by sir James BaU four out of the Cottonian library, and published in 1705, by sir Robert Sibbald, the celebrated botanist. It appears to have been written in 1327 and what remains is translated in Hume’s “History of the Douglasses.” Blair, | the exact period of whose death is uncertain, is sometimes called John, and sometimes Arnold, which latter name he is said to have adopted when he retired into his monastery, and which is also used by sir Robert Sibbald in his “Relationes quaedam Arnoldi Blair monachi de Dumfermelem et Capellani D. Willelmi Wallas Militis. Cum Comment.” Edinb. 1705, 8vo. 1

1 Mackenzie’s Scots Writers, tol. I.