William Lithgow

  • Daniel J. Vitkus


William Lithgow began his restless career as a wanderer with walking tours of his native Scotland, and by 1609 he had already made two voyages to the Orkney and Shetland isles. Later that year, Lithgow set out for Paris on the first of the three long journeys that are recounted in his Totall Discourse of the Rare Adventures, and painefull Peregrinations of long nineteene Yeares Travayles, from Scotland, to the most Famous Kingdomes in Europe, Asia and Affrica, printed in 1632 (the excerpt included here is from this version of the text). From 1610 to 1613, Lithgow’s first great journey took him to Constantinople, the islands of the eastern Mediterranean, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and then home. These wanderings were recounted in A Most Delectable and True Discourse, of an admired and painefull peregrination from Scotland, to the most famous Kingdomes in Europe, Asia and Affricke, published first in 1612 and then again, “corrected and enlarged,” in 1614. A “second Impression, Corrected and enlarged by the authour” appeared in 1616, followed by a third edition in 1623 with further additions. Lithgow’s next trip, which lasted from 1613 to 1616, took him to Algiers, Fez, Tunis, and the Libyan desert. He returned to England and set out once more, intending to reach Ethiopia, but he was seized by the Spanish authorities in Malaga, where he was tortured by the Spanish governor, who thought he was a spy After months of imprisonment and much suffering, Lithgow returned to the English court, where he exhibited his wounds and petitioned for redress and compensation from James I and from Spain.


Silk Fabric English Court Gold Coin Great Journey Waxe Candle 
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© Ivo Kamps and Jyotsna G. Singh 2001

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  • Daniel J. Vitkus

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