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Anselm Adornes of Bruges: Traveller in the East and Friend of James III

MacQuarrie, Alan (1982) Anselm Adornes of Bruges: Traveller in the East and Friend of James III. Innes Review, 33. pp. 15-22.

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The name of Anselm Adornes appears fleetingly in the pages of Scottish historical writings. It is known that he was first sent to Scotland by the merchants of Bruges during the ascendancy of the Boyds in the 1460s; that he sheltered the banished Boyds at his home in Bruges while himself absent on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1470-71; that he returned to Scotland with a descriptive account of his pilgrimage which he presented to James III in 1472; that he later settled in Scotland and was murdered by the king's enemies in 1483. Beyond these bare facts, historians have little to say. The appearance in recent years of a full critical edition of Adornes's account of his journey to the Holy Land, with a dedication to James III, has revived interest in this obscure figure as the five-hundredth anniversary of his death approaches. The objective of the present study will be to present the facts of Adornes's life with particular relevance to Scotland, including some new evidence, and to suggest some differences of emphasis from previous Scottish and continental accounts of his career. It is hoped by so doing to cast new light on the problematic reign of James III.