Thomas Spens

Thomas Spens

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Thomas Spens

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Thomas Spens (c. 1415 – 14 April 1480), Scottish statesman and prelate, received his education at Edinburgh, was the second son of John de Spens, custodian of Prince James of Scotland, and of Lady Isabel Wemyss.

By his exceptional abilities, he attracted the notice of the advisers of the Scottish king, James II, who sent him on errands to England and to France, where he negotiated several treaties. About 1450 he became bishop of Galloway; soon afterwards he was made Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland, and in 1459 he was chosen bishop of Aberdeen.

Much of his time, however, was passed in journeys to France and to England, and in 1464 he and Alexander Stewart, duke of Albany, a son of James II, were captured at sea by some English sailors. Edward IV, to whom the bishop had previously revealed an assassination plot, set him at liberty, and he was partly responsible for the treaty of peace made about this time between the English king and James III.

He also helped to bring about the meeting between Edward IV and Louis XI of France at Picquigny, and another treaty of peace between England and Scotland in 1474. Spens was a frequent attender at the Scottish parliaments, and contributed very generously to the decoration of his cathedral at Aberdeen. He died in Edinburgh on the 14th of April 1480.

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