William Lithgow (traveller and author)

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William Lithgow (c.1585–c.1645) was a Scottish traveller, writer and alleged spy. He claimed at the end of his various peregrinations to have tramped 36,000 miles (57,936km) on foot.

Life and adventures[edit]

William Lithgow was born at Lanark, the oldest son of the merchant James Lithgow and Alison Grahame, his wife. A family tradition had it that William was discovered in the company of a certain Miss Lockhart, and her four brothers cut off his ears, earning him the nickname "lugless Willie".

Prior to 1610 he had visited Shetland, Switzerland, and Bohemia. In that year he set out from Paris for Rome on the 7 March, where he remained for four weeks before moving on to other parts of Italy: Naples, Ancona, before moving on to Athens, Constantinople, and others. After a three-month stay in Constantinople, he sailed to other Greek localities and then on to Palestine, arriving in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday 1612, and later on to Egypt.

His next journey, 1614–16, was in Tunis and Fez; but his last, 1619–21, to Spain, ended in his apprehension at Malaga and torture as a spy.

He also visited Crete.[1]


  • Rare Adventures and Paineful Peregrinations, an account of his travels
  • The Siege of Breda,
  • The Siege of Newcastle,
  • Poems.
  • Lithgow, William (1643), "The present surveigh of London and England's state", in Somers, J. Somers (ed.), A collection of scarce and valuable tracts..., 4, pp. 534–545


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]