The Lothian manuscript, National Library of Scotland MS 5767, derives its name from its last custodians (the Marquesses of Lothian) before the manuscript reached the NLS. It was presented in 1898 by Augustus Jessopp to the 9th Marquess, Schomberg Kerr, since Jessopp believed it would be fitting that the manuscript would return to one of the descendants of Donne's friend Robert Kerr (Carr), first Earl of Ancram (1578-1654). It was presented to the NLS in 1950 as part of a larger deposit from the Lothian family's library at Newbattle Abbey.
Nothing is known of the early provenance of L, nor who compiled it. PS (I.38-41) divide the content of L in four sections. Section 1 (ff. 2-56) opens with a sermon on Ps. 24.7 (ff. 2r-10r) once believed to have been written by D, but his authorship was later disproved. PS printed two fragments from the sermon (X, pp. 249-53) to demonstrate the extent to which this sermon’s style deviates from that of Donne. Eight sermons by Donne follow in this section. Section 2 (ff. 57-100, with blanks from 66v-71r), contains more loosely written sermons (or extensive notes). After another series of blanks (ff. 100v-105v, section 3 (f. 107-70) contains fourteen sermons in fair copy. In this section, PS locate ‘a long treatise on Jacob’s Ladder’, but this too appears to have been a sermon, on Gen. 28.12-13 (ff. 106r-28v). Section 4 (ff. 172-203) contains more sermon drafts.