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Archibald Whitelaw, Scotland’s Renaissance Man

At the time of Whitelaw’s memorable meeting with Richard III, he was nearly seventy. He had already been a scholar, a teacher, a cleric and a diplomat in the service of James II, James III and his regents, having negotiated the unusual Stewart-York treaty that preceded the siege of Roxburgh. He had already enjoyed up to five appointments as an Archdeacon, including that of St.Andrew’s, but had continued as a diplomat maintaining good relations with Edward IV towards a treaty in 1474.

This ongoing mission brought him to that meeting at Nottingham a decade later. He is quoted, via Buck, that ‘Never has so much spirit or greater virtue reigned in such a small body’ although it is now disputed that he referred to Richard’s stature in such literal terms.

Archibald Whitelaw finally retired in late 1493 and died in 1498.

Richard III, Tydeus of Calydon and their Boars … (Ricardian 2007, pp.1-22, Livia Visser-Fuchs)


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