a surname derived originally from the lands of that name
in the parish of Strathmiglo, Fife. In Sibbald’s List of
the Heritors of that county (1710) occurs the name of
Balcanquhall of that Ilk. (Hist. of Fife, Appendix,
No. 2.) The estate of Balcanquall afterwards
belonged to the Hopes of Pinkie.
One of the first presbyterian ministers of
Edinburgh was the Rev. Walter Balcanquall, the son of
Balcanquhall of that ilk. Mr. James Melville, in his
Diary, mentions him under date 1574 as "ane honest,
vpright harted young man, latlie enterit to that
ministerie of Edinbruche." (Mel— ville's Diary p.
41.) With his colleague Mr. James Lawson, Mr. Robert
Pont, Mr. Andrew Melville, and others, he took an active
part against the scheme of King James for
re-establishing the bishops. On the assembly of the
estates for that purpose in 1584, the king sent a
message to the magistrates of Edinburgh to seize and
imprison any of the ministers who should venture to
speak against the proceedings of the parliament. Mr.
Walter Balcanquhall, however, as well as Mr. Lawson,
not only preached against these proceedings from the
pulpit, but the former, with Mr. Robert Pont and others,
appeared at the Cross, on the heralds proceeding to
proclaim the acts passed in parliament affecting the
church, and publicly protested and took instruments in
the name of the Kirk of Scotland against them. For this,
he and Mr Lawson were compelled to retire to England.
(Ibid. p. 119,) where the latter died the same year.
His will contained some curious bequests, among others
the following to his colleague:
"Item, I will that my loving brother Mr. James
Carmichaell, sall bow a rose noble instantlie, and
deliver it to say deere brother and loving friend, Mr.
Walter Balcanquall, who hath beene so carefull of me at
all times, and cheefelie in time of this my present
sicknesse; to remaine with him as a perpetuall tokin and
remembrance of my speciall love and thankfull heart
towards him." (Calderwood’s Hist. vol. iv. p.
206.) In the following year Mr. Balcanquhall returned to
his charge, and on Sunday, the 2d of January 1586, he
preached before the king "in the great kirk of
Edinburgh," when his majesty, "after sermoun, rebooked
Mr. Walter publictlie from his seate in the loaft, and
said he would prove there sould be bishops and
spirituall magistrats endued with authoritie over the
ministrie; and that he (Balcanquhall) did not his dutie
to condemn that which he had done in parliament." (lbid.
491.) In December 1596 he was again obliged to flee
to England, but subsequently returned. After being one
of the ministers of Edinburgh for forty-three years, he
died in 1616. Of his son, well known as one of the
executors of his relative George Heriot, a notice
The surname of Balcanquhall seems to have been in
course of time changed into Ballingall, as more
an eminent Episcopalian divine of the seventeenth
century, the son of the Rev. Walter Balcanqual,
mentioned above, born in Edinburgh about 1586. Although
his father was a Presbyterian, he himself, probably
convinced by the arguments of King James in favour of
bishops, preferred taking orders in the Church of
England. He commenced his studies at the university of
Edinburgh, where, in 1609, he took his degree of M.A. He
afterwards entered at Pembroke Hall, Oxford, as a
bachelor of divinity, and was admitted a fellow,
September 8, 1611. He was one of the chaplains of James
VI. In 1617 he was appointed master of the Savoy, in the
Strand, London; and in 1618 he was sent by his majesty
to the synod of Dort. His letters concerning that
assembly, addressed to Sir Dudley Carlton, may be found
in Mr. John Hales’ ‘Golden Remains.’ Before proceeding
to the synod of Dort, he received the degree of D.D.
from the university of Oxford. In March 1624, he
obtained the deanery of Rochester, and afterwards in May
1639, he was made dean of Durham. On the death of George
Heriot, jeweller to the king, February 12, 1624, being
appointed one of the three executors of his last will,
with the principal charge of the establishment of
Heriot’s hospital at Edinburgh, Dr. Balcanqual drew up
the statutes, which are dated 1627, and discharged the
onerous trust imposed upon him, with much ability,
judgment, and good sense. In 1638 he accompanied the
marquis of Hamilton, the king’s commissioner, to
Scotland in the capacity of chaplain; and his double
dealing, on this and subsequent occasions, rendered him
obnoxious to the party in both kingdoms who were
struggling for their religions rights. He is said to
have written the apologetical narrative of the court
proceedings, which, under the title of ‘ His
Majestie’s Large Declaration concerning the late Tumults
in Scotland,’ appeared in folio in 1639. On July 29,
1641, he and five other gentlemen were denounced as
incendiaries by the Scottish parliament. He was
afterwards exposed to much persecution from the English
Puritans, and after being plundered, sequestrated, and
forced to fly from London, he went to Oxford, and for
some years shared the waning fortunes of his sovereign.
He died at Chirk castle, Denbighshire, on Christmas day,
1645, just after the battle of Naseby; and a splendid
monument was subsequently erected to his memory in the
parish church of Chirk, by Sir Thomas Middleton.—Steven’s
History of Heriot’s Hospital.
Balcanqual’s works are the following:
Majestie’s Large Declaration concerning the late Tumults
in Scotland. London, folio, 1639.
Statutes of Heriot’s Hospital in Edinburgh. Edin. 8vo.
Sermon on Psalm cxxvi. 5. Lond. 1634, 4to. On Matth.
xxi. 13. Lond. 1634.
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