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Prefatory Memoir, pp.xi-xxxiii.

IT is to be regretted, that there should exist no information in regard to the private life and character of SIR JAMES BALFOUR. The following sketch of his talents and literary exertions, is taken from the Memoria Balfouriana1 of Sir Robert Sibbald, himself an enthusiastic labourer in the field of Scotish history, and the intimate friend and relation of Sir Andrew Balfour, in commemoration of whose services, along with those of his brother Sir James, the work was written.

“The house of Balfour derives its name from the castle of Balfore, on the river Or, the original seat of its progenitors; a possession which, along with the shrievalty of the county of Fife, it retained for many generations.2 The house is divided into several families, of which those of Balgarvy, Mount-whanney, Denmylne, Ballovy, Careston and Kirkton, are the principal, Of these branches, many of the descendants have been distinguished both for military prowess and the arts of peace.

“The family of Denmylne, to which I at present limit my attention, is descended from James, son of Sir John Balfour of Balgarvy, who obtained from King James II. In the fourteenth year of his reign, the lands of Denmylne, situated in the parish of Abdie, and county of Fife.

“This James Balfour was slain, fighting for his country, in the battle of Roxburgh, soon after the death of King James II., as appears from a charter granted by James III. in favour of his son John. John married Christian Sibbald, a daughter of Peter Sibbald of Rankilour; and inheriting his father’s valour and his fate, he fell with his sovereign, James IV. in the battle of Flodden. Patrick, his son, was father of Alexander; and Alexander’s son, Sir Michael,3 a man equally distinguished for military bravery and civil prudence, was comptroller of the household to King Charles II.:4 he greatly increased his patrimonial estate; and by his wife Jane, daughter of James Durham of Pitkerrow, left, besides five sons, nine daughters, who all formed honourable alliances, except two, who died unmarried.

“Of the sons, James, the principal subject of our present discussion, was the oldest.5

“The second, Alexander, stiled of Lumbanie, was a Minister of the Gospel, a man not more respected for the dignity of his appearance, than for the wisdom and piety of his life.

“The third was Michael of Randerston, eminently distinguished for his experience and skill in matters of agriculture.

“The fourth, Sir David of Foret, was a Judge in the Supreme Courts both of Session and Justiciary.

“The youngest of all the children was my illustrious colleague, Sir Andrew, Doctor of Medicine, of whom I propose to treat in the latter part of this memoir.6

“I have thought it proper to enter into these details in regard to the several children of Sir Michael not only by reason of their distinguished worth, but likewise to commemorate a rare example of fertility. For I have frequently been told by the late Sir Andrew, that Sir Michael lived to see three hundred of his own issue, while Sir Andrew himself saw six hundred descendants of his father. 

“But to return to the oldest brother, Sir James, who was Baron of Kynnaird;7 his parents no sooner discovered in him the first sparks of a superior genius, than they carefully applied themselves to imbue his mind with a proper sense of piety, and with the elements of useful learning. What was his progress in literature, is abundantly manifested by the productions of his riper years; but his juvenile attainments in poetry, which was a favourite study among the scholars of that period, is recorded by our celebrated poet John Leach, (or Leochæus) in his Strenae, published in the year 1626, of which that entitled Janus is inscribed, Generoso Juveni Jacobo Balfourio Kincardio.

Hunc tu carminibus constrictum Iacobe latinis 
Coge tuis numeris, quos Musa caledonis aptat, 
Et natura tibi; nam tu quoque Scotica Siren. 
Panthea nostra tua est ita cultu laeta Britanno, 
Et meliora meâ (si quid queat esse) Puellâ.
[Do you think the verses are tied in Latin James 
Execute your numbers, whom the Muse prepares Scotland, 
The nature of it; You, too, for the Scottish siren. 
Panthea is yours, British culture was so happy, 
The better my (what might be possible) girl.]

And likewise from a poem by the same author, on the Panthea of James Balfour, where he says-

Namque ut pulchra satis, minus est mea Panthea casta; 
Quum non pulchra minus, et tua casta magis,
[For as good enough, there is less Panthea unstained; 
When they are less beautiful, will be more chaste.]

it appears, that our author had successfully translated the Panthea of Leach from Latin into Scotish verse. I have likewise seen a volume containing several poems, Latin and Scots, in his own handwriting, the last of which he has subscribed with his name.

“His academical studies were no sooner terminated, than he travelled into foreign parts, in order to observe the manners of different nations, and to cultivate the acquaintance of learned men. On his return home, he devoted himself exclusively to the study of the antiquities and history of his native country; and in this pursuit his success was wonderful. It was indeed fortunate for his progress, that several learned men had, from the commencement of the present century, begun to illustrate the history of Scotland. Of these, Robert Maule, Commissary of St Andrews, had engaged in a work concerning the origin of our nation, while David Buchanan had applied an accurate criticism to the older monuments of Scotish story. Mr David Hume of Godscroft, had undertaken to refute the objections against the high antiquity of the nation; the labours of Sir Robert Gordon of Straloch shed no inconsiderable light on the earlier history of Scotland; while Robert Johnstone detailed the transactions of British policy, in conjunction with those of France, the Netherlands, and Germany, from the year 1572 to the year 1628. Mr William Drummond of Hawthornden recorded the history of the five Jameses; Mr Guthry, the events which characterised the progress of our civil war; and Mr Wishart (afterwards Bishop of Edinburgh) commemorated the actions of the celebrated Marquis of Montrose. The geographical delineation of the kingdom had been greatly advanced by the labours of Timothy Pont, son of that eminent promoter of letter, Mr Robert Pont. Sir Robert Gordon of Straloch, his son James, Minister of Rothomay, and Sir John Scot of Scotstarvet, Director of the Chancery, had likewise contributed many topographical descriptions, and sundry maps of the counties. The Right Reverend Primate, John Spotiswood, Archbishop of St Andrews, had carried down both the ecclesiastical and civil history of Scotland, from the introduction of Christianity until the death of James VI.; while the history of the Scotish Church had been detailed by David Calderwood, from the epoch of the Reformation, to the year 1625.

“These examples roused the emulation of James Balfour, and determined him to make trial of his ability in similar pursuits. But as he was, moreover, peculiarly attached to the art of heraldry, in order to accomplish himself in that study, he resorted to London with the intention of cultivating the friendship of those learned in that science; and he obtained admission into the society of its professors, not so much through the recommendation of others, as in virtue of his own personal merit. He, however, principally attached himself to Sir William Segar, Garter King at Arms, who was at once pre-eminently distinguished among the English heralds, by the dignity of his office, and the superiority if his talents. He maintained, likewise, a literary correspondence with Mr Roger Dodsworth and Sir William Dugdale, to whom he communicated much valuable information respecting the antiquities of our country, as may be seen in the second volume of their Monasticon Anglicanum, under the title, Coenobia Scotica, where there are found many extracts made by Balfour from original documents, and by him transmitted to the editors. And from this similarity of pursuit, and this mutual love of antiquarian research, a strict friendship originated between the parties, which was continually fostered by frequent acts of reciprocal kindness. And in testimony of this great love and affection, Sir William Segar not only conciliated towards him the regard of the whole college of heralds, but likewise obtained the following remarkable encomium in his favour, which, regularly signed and sealed by all the members of that body, was inserted by them in his Album Amicorum.8

” ‘To all and singular, to whose knowledge thir presents shall come, Greeting: Sr William Segar, Sr Richard St George, and Sr Johne Borroughe, Garter, Clarentius, and Norroy, Kings of Armes: William Penson, Lancaster; Sr Henry St George, Richmond; Henry Chetting, Chester; Johne Philpote, Sommerset; William Le Neu, Zork; and Johne Bradshaw, Windsor, Heraulds: Sampsone Leonard, Blewmantell, Thomas Thompson, Rougedragon; Thomas Prestoune, Portcullis; and George Owen, Rouge-Cross, Pursevants.

” ‘According to the laudable custome of nations, not to conceill that honour which is due to verteu and learning, We doe testefie and beare record, that James Balfour, Esq. by and attour his insicht and knowledge in diverse languages, hes also singular good experience and knowledge in all antiquities and forraine histories, but especiall in these concerning the illand of Great Britaine and Irland; as also, we testefie and does vitnes him to be ane expert and graduate herauld, in blasing of cotts and armories, in inventing of crests and supporters, in searching of genealogies and discents, in marschalling of funeralls, triumphs, and inaugurations, &c.; and in all ceremonies whatsomever, perteining to honour or armes. In witness of the premisses, we above named, kings of armes, heraulds and pursevants, hes to this our present testificate and approbatione, with the several cotts of our armes, affixed our manuall subscriptiones, at our office of armes, in the citie of Londoun, the 3 of October, and 4 of December, in the 4 zeir [year] of the raigne of our Soveraigne Lord, King Charles, and of our redemptione the 1628.’

“Then follow their arms, names, offices and symbols.

“Balfour’s principal patron was George Hay, Earl of Kinoul, Chancellor of Scotland, through whose recommendation he was created Lyon King at Arms9 by his Majesty Charles, I., who honoured him, likewise, with many other marks of his favour,10 and employed his services in various important matters of public concernment. So long, indeed, as the royal interest predominated, he was a frequent attender of the court; but during the civil war, as he inclined to the party of the King,11 and was consequently regarded with an unfavourable eye by the hostile faction, he withdrew from the tumult of contention, and wholly devoted his leisure to the prosecution of his favourite studies, either in the retirement of Falkland, or at his own estate of Kynnaird. The office of Lyon King at Arms, he discharged for many years with the greatest reputation, until he was at length deprived of that dignity on the usurpation of Cromwell.

During his retirement in the country, he collected many manuscripts on the art of heraldry; and composed, in the vulgar language, several original treatises on that subject, some of which are now preserved in the Advocates’ Library, some are in possession of friends to whom they were given, while others were dispersed or destroyed by the English in the capture of Perth. To which town he had caused them to be conveyed. I shall enumerate the titles of those which have come to my knowledge.

“His original treatises are as follows:

1. A Treatise of Surnames in general, but especially of those in Scotland. 

2. A Treatise of the Order of the Thistle. 

3. An Account of the Ceremonies used at the Coronation of King Charles I. at Holyrood-housse. 

4. The Ceremonies used at the Coronation of K. Charles II. at Scone, printed with the Sermon at the Coronation, preached by Mr Robert Douglas, Minister of the Gospel at Edinburgh. 

5. An Account of the Coats of Armes born by the Nobility and Gentry of Scotland. 

6. Scotorum Procerum Genealogie. The Genealogie of all the Earles of Scotland from their creation, down to 1647. 

7. An Account of the Funerall Ceremonies of some Noble Persons. 

8. An Account of these who were Knighted when he was Lyon. 

9. An Account of the Impressas, Divisos, and Mottos of several of our Kings and Queens. 

10. The Crests, Devices, and Mottos, of the Scots Nobility. 

11. Injunctions by Sir James Balfour of Kinaird, Knight, Lyon King at Armes, (according to the direction of the Act of Parliament, made thereanent) to be observed by all the Officers at Armes. 

12. Corrections of several Coats not right Blazoned, and Blazings of several Coats by him. 

13. The Genealogies of several Families. 

14. An Account of the Coronations of Emperours and Kings, especially of Alexander III. James VI. Charles I. and II. Kings of Scotland. 

15. A Treatise of the Scots and English Surnames, in several Volumes. 

16. A Treatise of the Science of Herauldry.

“The manuscripts which he collected on the art of heraldry, whether in Latin or the vulgar languages, are the following.”

(List of forty manuscripts omitted.)

“He principally, however, applied himself to the illustration of our Scottish history; and as he well knew that history could only be improved by resorting immediately to its sources, he was satisfied that here a genuine knowledge of preceding ages was only to be acquired by the consultation and comparison of ancient authors, and the accurate investigation of the charters and public registers of the kingdom, in conjunction with the archives of the monasteries and cathedral churches. He, accordingly, devoted himself with all diligence to the discovery of the monastic chartularies and chronicles; and, through the liberality of those in whose custody they were preserved, he was able to form a very large collection of these documents: and while it is greatly to be lamented that the greater number of these originals, having fallen into ignorant and sacrilegious hands, have unfortunately perished; we ought to rejoice that even a small proportion should have been preserved by the tardy interposition of those who entertained a proper sense of their importance. Like the genius of their age, indeed, the style of the monks was rude and semi-barbarous; but they were neither destitute of industry, of sagacity, nor of the love of truth. From the epoch of the erection of monasteries in this kingdom, they constitute the surest guides in matters of literature, and almost the only attentive and well-informed witnesses of cotemporary occurrences, as in the different cloisters one or other of the body was always appointed to the special office of recording the memory of passing events.

“Posterity ought, therefore, to be deeply grateful to Sir James Balfour for the labour and expense which he lavished in the collection and preservation of these manuscripts, which, during his whole life, he continued to accumulate, not so much for his individual utility, as for the common benefit of literary men. Many of these originals are, indeed, no longer to be found, having been either lost in the sack of Perth by the English, or dispersed among his friends to whom they had been either lent or given.”

(List of 56 ancient, and 22 modern historical manuscripts omitted.)

“After the suppression of the monasteries, the most important documents for the evidence of our history are found in the public records of the kingdom, and in the transactions of the various ministers of government in the conduct of foreign and domestic policy of the state. Sir James, therefore, collected for his historical apparatus, as many of these documents as he was able to procure.”

(Omitted a list of 26 manuscripts regarding the various relations of the kingdom – of 42 on subjects of legal interest – of 29 theological – of 11 poetical – of 2 philosophical – of 13 medical – of 3 historical, and of 4 miscellaneous manuscripts.)

“With unwearied industry, and at great expense, he collected a voluminous library, stored with the most choice books in every department of literature; but more especially rich in works illustrative of the history, the antiquities, and the heraldry of Scotland. Scotish history, indeed, he proposed as the principal object of his study, and with this intent he accumulated all that bore any subsidiary relation to this his favourite pursuit. And to the more perfect accomplishment of this purpose, he instituted a literary correspondence with those of his cotemporaries who were eminent either as historians or historical antiquarians, – Robert Maule, Henry Maule of Melgum, David Buchanan, Sir Robert Gordon of Straloch, Mr Roger Dodsworth, Sir William Dugdale, and William Drummond of Hawthornden, a man whom he admired for the elegance of his genius, and with whom he was connected in an intimate friendship during the whole period of his life.12 And as considerable light is often thrown on the darkness of former ages by ancient coins, rings, collars, bracelets, seals and other reliques of the older time, he carefully collected and arranged, as an appendix to his library, every precious fragment of this ancient furniture; and as the Romans had been long settled in this northern part of Britain, and besides some civil edifices, with inscriptions, had established many barriers and camps to secure the province against the incursions of the Scots and Picts, he diligently employed himself in the discovery of these antiquities, some of which he has described in his Adversaria.

“His principal endeavour was, however, to supply the deficiencies, and to correct the errors of our Scotish historians. With this intent he therefore carefully noted, from original manuscripts, the proper names, the titles, and the office of those who, by their actions, had acquired historical celebrity, and, at the same time, the dates and circumstances of the events themselves. Nor did he omit the mention of any transaction of comparative importance, although he might not record it in a copious and sustained narrative, but only abruptly, and in paragraphs; and on this account he did not apply the names of History to his works, but only styled them Annals, and the greater number are in fact nothing but collections towards the composition of a proper history. For the end which he proposed was not to exhibit a full and perfect representation of our Scotish history, but simply to supply what was wanting, and to reflect a light on its obscurer passages. Animated also with the desire of vindicating from oblivion the memory of illustrious persons, he undertook various journeys through the different counties of Scotland; and of all the cathedrals and principal parish churches, he carefully examined the cemeteries and monuments, that he might copy the more remarkable epitaphs they presented. The result of these researches was a book of Epitaphs and Inscriptions thus collected.

“At the request likewise of Sir John Scot of Scotstarvet, he contributed not a little to the geographical illustration of this kingdom.

“Timothy Pont, a young man of considerable talent, had, on foot, travelled over the whole surface, both of the mainland and islands of the kingdom; and was the first who, from his personal observation, had constructed maps and descriptions of its several districts. A sudden death arrested him, when preparing these for publication. Sir John Scot of Scotstarvet had given these surveys to Sir Robert Gordon of Straloch, to be corrected and improved; and the latter had not merely obviated many errors and supplied many deficiencies, but had even added maps and chorographical delineations of several districts. Sir James Balfour likewise drew up an accurate description of the shire of Fife, of which he was a native, and with every part of which he was familiarly acquainted, including observations on the different monuments of antiquity, and the genealogies of its illustrious families. Nay he had begun to compose in Scots, a geographical description of the whole kingdom, and his common-place books contain many notices with regard to the several shires; – a work with which the Dutch geographer, Mr Bleau, was so highly pleased, that in the Theatrum Scotiae, published by him, he dedicated to Sir James the map of Lorn, appending to it likewise an engraving of his arms. But in order to cultivate to the utmost of his ability that peculiar province to which he was especially appointed, by his office of Lyon King at Arms, and that he might advance the system of Scotish heraldry to its highest perfection; he not only diligently examined the public records, the charters and patents of the nobility, but likewise every indication afforded by escutcheons and sepulchres, by houses, temples, palaces and towers. Of the works which he has left, many sufficiently testify the care, fidelity and judgment with which he discharged this duty. The manuscript treatises written by him on these subjects, and in the vernacular tongue, are the following:-

1. A Treatise of Nobility. 

2. The Devisos, Impressas and Mottos of the Kings of Scotland, from K. John Baliol, to K. James VI. 

3. A Treatise concerning Burials and Interments, with a Collection of the Epitaphs of our Kings, Queens, Nobles, and Famous Men. 

4. A Treatise containing the Crists, Devices, and Mottoes of our Scots Nobility. 

5. A Treatise de jure Prelationis Nobilium Scotiae, or ane Memorial of the Patents and Rights, produced by sundry Earls and Lords before the Commissioners, deput by the Kings Majesty anent the Precedency and Priority of Dignities, amongst them in Parliament, and Council, together with a short Minut of certain Rights extant in the Registers, concerning the samen, which were not produced before the saids Lords, in Anno 1606.

“And sundry others above mentioned.

“Moreover on the adolescence of the Prince of Wales, who was stiled likewise the Stewart or Seneschal of Scotland, and when the formation of his court was in contemplation, he deemed it proper to inquire into the amount of the revenue to which the hereditary Princes of Scotland were entitled, either by the liberality of the monarch, by the laws of the realm, or in any other way; and what likewise were the privileges which accrued to them in right of their illustrious birth. Among his manuscripts he left one, of which the title is “The True present State of the Principality of Scotland, with the Means, how the same may be most conveniently Increased, and Augmented; with which is joyned, Ane Survey, and brief Note from the Publick Registers of the Kingdom of certain Infeftments and Confirmations given to Princes of Scotland, and by them to their Vassals, of diversse Baronies and Lands of the Principalitie, since the 15 year of the Reign of King Robert III. Collected by him with great pains.”

“His great diligence in illustrating the history of our nation, is apparent from the numerous manuscripts which he left; for independently of the extensive collection of printed historians which his library contained, and besides the historical manuscripts already mentioned, he likewise inspected either personally, or by deputy, every document of any moment which was then known to exist throughout the kingdom, and obtained for his use a transcript or abridgement of its contents. And from the historical monuments preserved in England, he made various extracts, either in his own hand-writing, or by the assistance of others; and he also formed an index of the manuscripts there extant relative to the affairs of Scotland. And in forming his collections preparatory to the original treatises which he wrote on Scotish history, he extracted every thing of consequence from all previous historians, whether printed or in manuscript. He has thus left several abridgements of the Books of Scone, Kambuskeneth and others; and extracts from the histories of John Major, Hector Boethius, John Lesly and Buchanan. All these he disposed both in his great and smaller chronological work, and in his Annals according to the order of time, inserting moreover the principal events which occurred throughout the world.

“In the vulgar language, he composed a history of the Scotish Kings, from Fergus I. to Charles I., brief indeed, but embracing the events more especially worthy of attention: he seems likewise to have proposed to write more detailed Annals of our Kings, commencing with the reign of James I. and terminating with the accession of Charles II.; and appears to have even completed those of James I. and II. For he has added to the Annals of these two reigns, a prefatory dedication to the estates of the kingdom met in parliament, in which he mentions that he presents to them short “Annals of the life and reign of James I. and II. Wherein, as in a mirror, they might see the vicissitude of human affairs, the downfall of great persons, the punishment of vice, and the cherishing of virtuous and worthy actions.”

“He also wrote Memorials of the reigns of James III. James IV. James V. and Mary; but treated at greater length, the reign of James VI.

“His other historical works are the following:-

1. Some short Memorials and Passages, of the year MDCXLIX [1649]. And of the second Triennial Parliament, begun, and holden at Edinburgh, January 4 that year, till the 5 of July, 1650. 

2. Short Memoirs and Passages of State, fra the 5 of July MDCL [1650], to the 26 of November that year. 

3. Short Memoirs and Passages of State, fra the 26 of November MDCL, to the 13 of March, MDCLI [1651]

4. Short Memoirs and Passages of State, fra the 13 of March, MDCLI, to the first of January, MDCLIII [1653]

5. Short Memoirs and Remarkable Passages for the Years 1653 and 1654. 

6. The Annals of Scotland, (in two volumes.) The first Volume extends from the accession of Malcolm III. To the death of King James VI.; and the second volume, from the accession of Charles I. to the sixteenth year of his reign. 

7. An Account of the Officers of State, (in two volumes.) 

8. Ane Account of the Monastery’s, Abbay’s, Priory’s and Religious Houses in Scotland, of their Orders and Founders. 

9. Operis Chronologici tomus prior, rerum per universum orbem gestarum seriem, brevémquè ab anno 330. ante Salvatoris nostri D. Jesu Christi, adventum as annum usque 1567, complectens narrationem; Auctore jacobo Balfourio Kynardio Milite Leone Armorum, in Regno Scotiæ, Rege.

[First chronological volume of work, of a series of events throughout the world, short of the 330 years before our Saviour Jesus Christ, coming as far as the year 1567, comprising of statements; By James Balfour Kynnaird Soldier Lyon of Arms, in the Kingdom of Scotland, King.]

10. Geographical and Historical Remarks, upon the several Counties, and Shires, and upon the Isles, belonging to Scotland, with an account of the Floods, and of the Rocks, Dangers, Shelves and Sands, of the Roads, Creeks, and Bays round about the Realm of Scotland. 

11. A full Description of the Shire of Fyfe. 

12. A List of the Bishops and Arch-Bishops of Saint Andrews, frae the Year 872, till the Death of Cardinal Beaton [29th  May 1546].

“He likewise cultivated natural history; and in Scots, he composed an alphabetical treatise on gems, including their description, names, virtues and places where they are discovered. He collected also, from various authors, an account of the frauds practised in the imitation of precious stones;- a treatise which he composed in Latin.

“He possessed many friends; George, Earl of Kinoul, a man adorned with every virtue; Sir Robert Aytoun, Secretary to Queen Anne, distinguished as a poet and eloquent writer; George and David Sibbald, his kinsmen, the former, Doctor of Medicine, and a very learned man, the latter, Keeper of the Great Seal under the Earl of Kinoul; and finally, William Drummond of Hawthornden, the celebrated poet and historian. The friendship between our author and these illustrious men was founded on a common love of letters, on a conformity of dispositions, and on a mutual desire of benefiting and adorning their country by the preservation of its historical and literary treasures.” – Mem. Balf. p. 1-46.

The following notices are taken from a Manuscript Common-place Book in Sir Robert Sibbald’s hand-writing, and these are said to have been copied from an entry in a “pocket-book written by Sir James himself.”

“Sir Michael Balfour of Denmill, my father, married Dam Jean Durhame, my mother, who departed this life at Denmill, the 8 of November, 1640; and on the 17 day was interred in Ebdie church. My father, Sir Michel, died 4 day of Feb: 1652, and was interred beside his wife, 20 day of the same month.

“Sir James Balfour had for his first lady, Anna Aiton, sister to Sir John Aiton of that ilk, in Fifeshire, the 21 of October, 1630. She died at Falkland, 26 of August, 1644. She bore Michel, who died young at Edinburgh; and John, who also died young, and a 3d son, Michell, who also died young. She left behind her also six daughters, Margaret, Jean, Elizabeth, Barbara, Anna and Elizabeth, who died all unmarried.

“Sir James had to his second wife Jean Durham, eldest daughter to the Laird of Pittarow and Lufnes, and his mother’s brother. This Jean was widow of Mr James Smitoun, son to Sir John Smitoun of Stevinstoun. She died 19 July, 1645.

“Sir James [had to] his 3d wife Margaret Arnot, onlie daughter of Sir James Arnot of Ferney; by her he had James and Michel, who died young, and Robert, who was borne in March 1652.

“Daughter Elizabeth and Jean, who died young, and Helen.

“Sir James had to his 4th wife, Janet Auchinlek, daughter to Sir William Auchinlek of Balmano, and Janet Bruce, his spouse, daughter to Sir Robert Bruce of Clackmanon; and had with her two daughters, Janet and Catherin.”

Sir James died in February, 1657.13

In the same year, Sir Robert Balfour was retoured heir to Sir James, his father, in the lands of Kynnaird, and to his grandfather, Sir Michael, in the barony of Denmylne.14 The family is believed to be now extinct in the male line; but it is represented by the Right Honourable Lord Belhaven, as heir of line.


1  Memoria Balfouriana, Sive, Historia Rerum, pro Literis promovendis, gestarum a clarissimis Fratribus Balfouriis, D. D. Jacobo, Barone de Kinaird, Equite, Leone, Rege Armorum; Et D.D. Andrea, M.D. Equite Aurato. Authore R.S.M.D. Equite Aurato. Edinburgi, M.DC.XC.IX.
[Balfour’s Memories, Or, History of Events, for the literary promotion, made celebrated by the famous brothers Balfour, D. D. James, Baron of Kinaird, Knight, Lyon, King of Arms; The D.D. Andrew, M.D. Guilded Knight. By R.S.M.D. Guilded Knight. Edinburgh, 1699.]
2  The estate of Balfour passed into the family of Bethune by an heiress, towards the conclusion of the 14th century. ED.
3  Sir Michael was knighted at Holyroodhouse, 26th March, 1630, by George, Viscount Dupline, Chancellor of Scotland, under his Majesty’s special warrant, and the same year in which his son, Sir James, received a similar honour. 
4  Nonne [Did] Charles I.? ED.
5  In the Memoria Balfouriana, Sir Robert Sibbald mentions that Sir Andrew Balfour was born January 1630; and in his preface to the letters of that gentleman, that his education was principally conducted by his brother, Sir James, who was thirty years his senior; consequently the latter must have been born about the year 1630. ED.
6  The distinguished merits of Sir Andrew Balfour as a naturalist, physician, and general scholar, are commemorated not only by Sir Robert Sibbald, both in the Memoria Balfouriana, and in his preface to Sir Andrew’s letters published by him, but likewise more recently by Professor John Walker in his Essays on Natural History. ED.
7  He obtained in favour of himself and spouse a royal charter of the lands and barony of Kynnaird, within the county of Fyffe, 9th January, 1631, which grant was confirmed to him by acts of parliament in 1633 and 1634. By this estate he was usually designated, especially during his father’s life; and he must have possessed it (probably by a base holding) some years before the date of the royal charter, as he is stiled Kinardiusin the verses addressed to him by Leach in 1626. ED.
8  The language of this document, it may be noticed, has much greater analogy to the Scots than the English language of that period. ED.
9  Sir Jerome Lyndsay of Annatland, resigned the office in favour of Sir James, who was crowned Lyon King by George, Earl of Kinoul, the Chancellor of Scotland, as Royal Commissioner, 15th June, 1630. – Balf. MSS. ED.
10  Sir James was knighted by King Charles, 7th May, 1630, and created a Baronet by him, 22d December, 1633. – Balf. MSS. Et Regis. Mag. Segill. ED.
11  He was, however, a staunch presbyterian, as is seen from his letters and his memorials. ED.
12  His correspondence preserved in the Advocates’ Library, exhibit the names of many other man distinguished for their talent and their rank, as Sir Robert Cotton, the Earl of Stirling, Sir Archibald Aitcheson, Mr Thomas Craufurd, the Earl of Loudon, the Earl of Kinnoul, &c. &c. ED.
13  Chalmers in Life of Sir David Lindsay.
14  Abridgm. of Ret. Fyfe, No. 876.
[Translations courtesy of GoogleTranslate with a wee bit of “what I think it meant to say”.]
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