La Rochelle in the 17th century
(La Rochelle, France)
There is a Tayside connection with La Rochelle through the figure of Robert Waldegrave the English puritan printer who visited the Calvinists of La Rochelle in 1590 to escape persecution and burning of his books in England.
After La Rochelle he came to Edinburgh to become printer to King James VI. One of the works he published was 'The Sea Law of Scotland' by William Welwood, the earliest treatise on maritime law in Britain. Welwood was successively professor of mathematics and law at St Andrews University.
Another Tayside connection is the voyage of Andrew Smeaton from La Rochelle to Dundee in 1677 (see the record in the Mariners and Voyages section) where he brought back a Portuguese astrolabe, believed to be the world's oldest and now in Dundee museum. Who knows, one day they may even allow us to include a photograph of it.
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