James Crichton – Admirable Crichton

James Crichton – a child prodigy born in 1560 who became known as the Admirable Crichton. He was born in Cluny, Perthshire to the Scottish Lord Advocate and schooled at Perth Grammar School. From there he attended St Andrews University under George Buchanan, the noted scholar and humanist. Graduating in 1575 with a reputation as a scholar, poet, linguist and swordsman, James Crichton travelled to France where he joined the army. Noted for his orations, Crichton took part in scholarly debates at Genoa (1579), Venice (1580) and Padua (1581). After taking up service for the Duke of Mantua, James Crichton died fighting the Duke’s son in a drunken brawl. His exploits are fictionalised in The Discoveryie of A Most Exquisite Jewel (1652) by Thomas Urquhart. D. M. Barrie uses the title The Admirable Crichton for his 1902 novel of the same name about the perfect butler. The term Admirable Crichton has become synonymous with the all-rounder.