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The Scottish Nation
Bellenden


BELLENDEN, Baron, a dormant title in the Scotch peerage since the death in 1805 of William, fourth duke of Roxburgh, seventh Lord Bellenden.

      On the 26th March, 1499, Patrick Bellenden, the ancestor of the Auchinoul family, obtained a charter from John, earl of Morton, of the lands of Auchnolnyshill in the county of Edinburgh, to him and his spouse, Mariota Douglas, and their heirs. [Douglas’ Peerage, vol. i. p. 209.] He had a son, Thomas, and a daughter, Catherine. The latter married Oliver Sinclair, the favourite of King James the Fifth, and general of the Scottish army at the unfortunate rout of Solway in 1542.

      Thomas Bellenden of Auchinoul, the son, succeeded his father, and in 1535, he was appointed by James the Fifth a Judge of the Court of Session, which had been instituted only two years previously, his appointment taking place at the same time with that of Mr. Arthur Boyce, brother of Henry Boyce, the historian. On the 10th September, 1538, he was appointed director of Chancery, and on 26th December 1539, the king conferred on him the office of Justice Clerk, which was held after him by both his son and his grandson. In January 1541 he and Henry Balnaves of Hallhill were sent as commissioners to meet Sir William Aure, the English commissioner, for the settlement of some of the interminable disputes of the borders. Writing to the keeper of the privy seal in England, 26th January of that year, Eure narrates some conversations which he had had with Bellenden, concerning the court and character of James the Fifth, and describes him as “a man of aged experience and eminent ability.” [Pinkerton’s Scotland, vol. ii. p. 240.] He died in 1546, leaving two sons; Sir John Bellenden and Patrick Bellenden designed of Stenhouse in Orkney, sheriff of Orkney.

      Sir John Bellenden of Auchinoul, the elder of the two brothers, was appointed Justice Clerk 25th June 1547, and according to Haig and Brunton he appears as an ordinary lord of session for the first time 4th July thereafter. [Senators of the College of Justice, p. 92.] Douglas, however, states that he was not admitted a lord of session till 13th November 1554. [Peerage, vol. i. p. 211.] He had a charter to himself and Barbara Kennedy his wife, of certain lands in the regality and barony of Broughton, from Robert, commendator of Holyroodhouse, 1st May 1559. He was employed by the queen regent, Mary of Guise, as a mediator between her and the lords of the Congregation, but he soon joined the Reformers. On the young queen Mary’s arrival in Scotland in 1561, he was, 6th September of that year, sworn a privy councillor. He obtained the office of usher of exchequer 31st May 1565. Being implicated in the assassination of Rizzio, he fled from Edinburgh, 18th March 1566, on the approach of Mary and Darnley at the head of an army, but was shortly afterwards restored to favour. He carried Mary’s commands to Mr. John Craig to proclaim the banns of marriage between her majesty and Bothwell, and “had lang reasoning” with the kirk, “to induce them to obey the royal orders.” [Keith’s Hist., p. 587.] Notwithstanding this, he joined the association against the queen and Bothwell, and in consequence, on the imprisonment of Mary, he was continued in his office. He was also one of the members of the privy council of the regent Murray, with whom he was a favourite. He is said to have obtained the lands of Woodhouselee from Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, on condition of his procuring for that individual a remission for some crime which he had committed, a transaction which indirectly led to the assassination of Murray. [See STUART, JAMES, earl of Murray.] In the beginning of 1573, Sir John Bellenden was employed in framing and completing the well-known pacification of Perth. According to Home of Godscroft, he was, the same year, occupied in the difficult task of convincing the General Assembly, on behalf of the regent Morton, that the supreme magistrate should be the head of the church as well as of the state The dispute, after being continued for twelve days, was adjourned “till a more convenient season.” He died before April 1577, and Thomas Bellenden of Newtyle was appointed a lord of session in his place. Sir John Bellenden was twice married, first to Barbara, daughter of Sir Hugh Kennedy of Girvenmains, by whom he had two sons, Sir Lewis and Adam; and, secondly, to Janet Seton, said to be of the family of Touch, and by her he had three daughters; Elizabeth, the eldest, married, first, James Lawson of Humbie; secondly, Sir John Cockburn of Ormistonn, Lord Justice Clerk. Margaret, the second daughter, married William Stewart, writer in Edinburgh, and was the mother of Sir Lewis Stewart of Kirkhill, the famous advocate; Marion, the youngest daughter, became the wife of John Ramsay of Dalhousie, but had no issue.

      The eldest son, Sir Lewis Bellenden of Auchinoul, was appointed Justice Clerk in 1578, the year following his father’s death. He was one of the conspirators in the treasonable affair known as the Raid of Ruthven, and Godscroft represents him as extremely violent on the occasion [p. 366.] He managed, however, to keep free of the ruin in which the other conspirators were involved, and on the 17th July 1584, he was appointed an ordinary lord of session, in place of Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington. In 1585 he was resident in London from James the Sixth, when he was much in the interest of Queen Elizabeth. [Robertson’s History, vol. ii. p. 301.] He had a principal share in the downfall of Arran, and the return of the banished lords, although he had been despatched by the former, then ignorant of his intentions, to accuse the latter at the court of Elizabeth. He was at Stirling the same year (1585) when, as had been agreed upon, the banished lords surprised the king and Arran there. The latter intended to have slain the justice Clerk, the Master of Gray, and the Secretary, “but they drew to their armes, and stude on their awn defence.” In 1589 he accompanied James on his matrimonial excursion to Norway, and in the following spring he was sent as ambassador to the court of Elizabeth, probably to notify the nuptials. among other charters of lands which he obtained was one of the barony of Broughton and other lands erected into a free barony, 15th August 1591. He died the same month and year. By his wife, Margaret, second daughter of William, sixth lord Livingstone, he had Sir James, his heir, and Mariota, married to Patrick Murray of Fallahill, ancestor of Philiphaugh. His widow afterwards married Patrick Stewart, second earl of Orkney.

      Adam Bellenden, the brother of Sir Lewis, was bishop of Aberdeen. He was, first, minister of Falkirk, in 1608. In 1615 he was promoted to the see of Dunblane, and in 1635 was transferred to that of Aberdeen. In 1638 he was deprived of his bishopric, on the overthrow of episcopacy by the Glasgow Assembly; after which he retired to England, where he soon after died. [Keith’s Scottish Bishops, p. 132.]

      Scott of Scotstarve states that Sir John Bellenden by a third marriage had another son, named Thomas, to whom he left the barony of Carlowrie and Kilconquhar in Fife, with certain other lands about Brechin, and that he was drowned in the loch of Kilconquhar. [Staggering State, p. 131.] A Thomas Bellenden was admitted an ordinary lord of session 14th August 1591, but does not seem to have retained his seat long, as his place was declared vacant on the 17th November following. Scotstarvet’s statement is evidently a mistake, as the oldest tombstone in the churchyard of Kilconquhar, bearing an inscription, is upon the grave of William (not Thomas) Bellenden, laird of Kilconquhar, who was drowned while skating on the lock, 28th February 1593, aged twenty-eight years. [New Statistical Account, vol. ii. p. 317.] According to Scotstarvet, his son dying young, the estate went to Adam, bishop of Aberdeen, who sold it to Sir John Carstairs. He says also that Sir John Bellenden, his father, was archdeacon of Murray and canon of Ross, but this was a different person from Sir John Bellenden of Auchinoul. Of this John Bellenden a notice is given below.

      Sir Lewis’ son, Sir James Bellenden of Broughton, married Margaret, daughter of Sir William Ker of Cessford, and sister of Robert first earl of Roxburgh, by whom he had a son, Sir William, and a daughter, Margaret, married to the Hon. Henry Erskine, third son of John, seventh earl of Mar and mother of David Lord Cardross, ancestor of the earl of Buchan, heir of line of the Bellenden family. Sir James Bellenden died 3d November 1606.

      His son, Sir William Bellenden of Broughton, was treasurer depute in the reign of Charles the Second. During the civil wars he adhered to the royal cause, and was created a peer by patent dated at Whitehall 10th June 1661, by the title of Lord Bellenden of Broughton, and sworn a privy councillor. He adopted John Ker, fourth son of William, second earl of Roxburgh, and settled his estate upon him. On the death of his lordship, unmarried, in 1670, Ker assumed the name and arms of Bellenden, and inheriting the estate and honours, became second lord Bellenden. William, the seventh lord, succeeded, as heir of entail, to the dukedom of Roxburgh, on the death, without issue, of the third duke, and on his own death, in 1805, the title of Lord Bellenden became dormant, and is claimed by Mr. Thomas Bellenden Drummond. [See ROXBURGH, duke of.]

      The hart’s head carried by the Bellendens of Broughton, the armorial bearing of the abbacy of Holyroodhouse, and the baronies belonging thereto, as the Canongate and Broughton, was assumed by them on account of the last barony.

BELLENDEN, OR BALLENDEN, sometimes written BALLENTYNE, JOHN, archdeacon of Moray and canon of Ross, often confounded with Sir John Bellenden of Auchinoul, a distinguished lawyer, referred to in the above article, is supposed to have been a native of the county of Haddington or Berwick, and appears to have been born towards the close of the 15th century. The exact year of his birth is uncertain, and very little is known of his personal history. He received the first part of his education at the university of St. Andrews, where a student of his name, described as belonging to the Lothian nation, was matriculated in 1508. He completed his studies at Paris, and took the degree of D.D. at the Sorbonne. He returned to Scotland during the minority of James V., with whom he became a great favourite, and at whose command he was employed in 1530 and in 1531 in translating from the Latin into the Scottish vernacular, ‘The History and Chroniklis of Scotland,’ being the first seventeen books of Hector Boece, which had been published in Paris in 1526. Some writers assert that he had the superintendence of the education of his young sovereign, but this is evidently a mistake; his office in the royal household being clerk of the accounts. The manuscript copy of his translation was delivered to the king in the summer of 1533. Into this work he introduced two poems of some length, entitled ‘The Proheme of the Cosmographe,’ which is the most poetical of his works, and ‘The Proheme of the History.’ He closed the whole by a prose ‘Epistil direckit be the Translatoure to the Kingis Grace.’ According to Mackenzie, this work was printed in 1536. The book bears to be “imprentit in Edinburgh be me, Thomas Dauidson, prenter to the Kyngis nobyle Grace.” An elegant edition of this translation, edited by Mr. Maitland, was published in 1821 by Mr. William Tait of Edinburgh.

      Bellenden seems to have been dismissed from the king’s service, as we learn from the Proheme of the Cosmographe:

                        “And fyrst occurrit to my remembring,
                        How that I wes in seruice with the kyng,
                              Put to his grace in zeris tenderest,
                        Clerk of his comptis, thoucht I wes inding,
                        With hart and hand, and euery other thing
                              That mycht hym pleis in ony manner best,
                              Quhill hie inuy me from his service kest,
                        Be thaym that had the court in gouerning
                             
As bird but plumes heryit of the nest.”

He is supposed afterwards to have entered into the service of Archibald, earl of Angus, because a person of the same name was the earl’s secretary in 1528; but this individual is stated by Hume to have been Sir John Bellenden, with whom his name has so frequently been mistaken. [History of the Houses of Douglas and Angus, p. 258.] He was soon afterwards an attendant at court, and at the request of the king he translated the first five books of Livy’s Roman History; and from the manuscript copy preserved in the Advocates’ Library, his version was printed in 1822 by Mr. Maitland. In the treasurer’s book there are various entries of the sums paid to Bellenden, “be the Kingis precept,” for these translations. He seems to have received in all £114; that is, £78 for the translation of Boece, and £36 for that of Livy. Nor was this the whole of his remuneration. He received from the king the archdeaconry of Moray, during the vacancy of the see; and two clergymen, of the names of John Duncan and Alexander Harvey, having solicited the Pope in favour of James Douglas, were convicted of treason, and their property escheated to the Crown. The annual emoluments arising from the pensions and benefices of Duncan, who was parson of Glasgow, and from all the property belonging to Alexander Harvey for the two years 1536 and 1537, were bestowed upon Bellenden; he paying a composition, for the first grant, of 350 merks, and for the second of 300. It is supposed that about the same period he was appointed a canon of Ross. In the succeeding reign, being strongly attached to the Roman catholic religion, he opposed the progress of the Reformation. Afterwards quitting Scotland, upon what account we are not informed, he visited Rome, where he died in 1550. John Bellenden has been eulogised as one of the greatest scholars of his time. Sir David Lindsay, in a poem supposed to have been written in the year 1530, thus mentions him:

                        “Bot now of late is starte up haistelie
                        Ane cunnyng clark quhilk wrytith craftelie,
                              And plant of poetis callit Ballendyne,
                              Quhose ornat warkis my wit can nocht defyne;
                        Get he into the court auctoritie,
                        He will precell Quintyn and Kennedie.”

      Many of his original compositions have been lost. “He was unquestionably,” says Dr. Campbell, “a man of great parts, and one of the finest poets his country had to boast. So many of his works remain as fully prove this; in as much as they are distinguished by that noble enthusiasm which is the very soul of poetry.” In the ‘Proheme of the Cosmographe’ the principal incidents are borrowed from the ancient allegory of the Choice of Hercules. His poem entitled ‘Vertue and Byce’ was also addressed to James V. Some specimens of Bellenden’s style will be found in Carmichael’s ‘Collect of Scottish Poems.’ – Irving’s Scottish Writers.

      The following is a list of his works.

      The History and Chronicles of Scotland, complilit and newly correctit and amendit be the Reverend and Noble Clerk, Mr. Hector Boeis, Chanon of Aberdeen, translated, &c. Edin. 1536, fol. Again in 1541, folio, with the following title, The History and Croniklis of Scotland, with the Cosmography and Description thairof. Compilit be the Noble Clerk, Maister Hector Boece, Channon of Aberdeene. Translatit laitly in our vulgar and common langage, be Maister Johne Bellenden, Archedene of Murray, and Channon of Ross; at the command of the richt hie, richt excellent, and noble Prince, James the 5th of that name, king of Scottis. Another, without date. All the above were printed by Thomas Davidson, The edition of 1821, edited by Mr. Maitland, was in 2 vols. 4to.

      The first five books of the Roman History: translated from the Latin of Titus Livius by John Bellenden. Edinburgh, 1822, 4to; now first printed.

      He is likewise author of several poems in MS. Two copies of his unpublished prolusion on the conception of Christ are to be found in Bannatyne’s MS., from which Allan Ramsay published his Evergreen.

BELLENDEN, WILLIAM, an author eminent for his learning, was, in 1602, professor of humanity in the university of Paris; and, according to Dempster, advocate in the parliament there. He appears to have been the son of John Bellenden of Lasswade, near Edinburgh, and is supposed to have been born between 1550 and 1560. Dempster also states that both Queen Mary and James the Sixth employed him in some diplomatic services, and that the latter nominated him master of requests, or examiner of petitions. As he spent the greater part of his life in France, this appointment must have been a sinecure. As he practised at the bar, says Dr. Irving, his early education must have been French; and as he was a regent or professor in one of the colleges, he may be supposed to have adhered to the Popish religion. After the massacre of St. Bartholomew, which had proved fatal to Ramus and other men of learning, there probably had been no Protestant professor in any college in Paris. His nephew, William Bellenden, was a popish priest. Anxious to return to Scotland, he addressed a French letter to the King, with the object of obtaining some regular establishment at court, but his application seems to have been unsuccessful. His death is supposed to have taken place before 1630.

      Bellenden’s first work, published in 1608, was entitled ‘Ciceronis Princeps,’ being a selection of passages from the works of cicero on the duties of a prince. To this was prefixed an original essay, entitled ‘Tractatus de Processu et Scriptoribus Rei Politicae.’ His next treatise, entitled ‘Ciceronis Consul, Senator, Senatusque Romanus,’ consisting, like the former, of passages from cicero, regarding the duties of consul, senator, and senate, among the Romans, appeared in 1612, and was dedicated to Henry Prince of Scotland and Wales.  The most original of his works, styled ‘De Statu prisci Orbis in Religione, Re Politica, et Literis,’ was printed in Paris in 1615, dedicated to Charles Prince of Wales, his brother Henry being now dead. The work describes the first origin of states, their progress in politics, philosophy, and religion, and in what respects they differ from each other. These three treatises were, in 1616, collected into a volume, bearing the title of ‘De Statu, Libri Tres.’ The last book published by himself consisted only of two short Latin poems. He had commenced another work of a very elaborate nature, intended to be finished in three parts, one of which only was completed, under the name of ‘De Tribus Luminibus Romanorum,’ whom he conceives to be Cicero, Seneca, and the elder Pliny; it was published in 1633 or 1634, some years after the author’s death. It extends to 824 pages, closely printed, and gives a comprehensive account of the history of Rome, from the foundation of the city to the time of Augustus, in the precise words of Cicero, as extracted from his writings. From this work, Dr. Conyers Middleton, keeper of the library of Cambridge university, borrowed, without acknowledgment, the matter and arrangement of his “life of cicero;’

 a barefaced plagiarism which was deservedly exposed by Warton and Dr. Samuel Parr; the latter of whom, in 1787, brought out an edition of Bellenden’s ‘De Statu, Libri Tres,’ with a Latin preface of some length. – Irving’s Scottish Writers.

      The following is a catalogue of William Bellenden’s writings.

      Ciceronis Princeps. Paris, 1608. This is a collection of select sentences and passages from cicero, comprised into one body, consisting of Rules of Monarchical Government, and the Duties of the Prince. To the first edition is prefixed, Tractatus de Processu et Scriptoribus Rei Politicae.

      Ciceronis Consul, Senator, Senatusque Romanus. Paris, 1612, 8vo. A Treatise on the dignity and authority of the Consuls, and on the constitution of the Roman Senate.

      De Statu Prisci Orbis in Religione, Re Politica et Literis; Ciceronis Princeps, sive de statu Principis et Imperii; Ciceronis Consul, Senator, Senatusque Romanus. Paris, 1615, 9vo. This work was immediately republished with his Tracts, De Statu Principis; De Statu Republicae, et de Statu Orbis. Republished by Dr. Parr in 1787.

      Two short poems, entitled Caroli Primi et Henricae Mariae, Regis et Reginae Magnae Britanniae, &c., Epithalamium; et in ipsas augustissimas Nuptias, celeberrimamque Legationem earum causa obitam, &c., panegyricum Carmen, et Elogia. Paris, 1625, 4to. Also republished by Dr. Parr.

      De Tribus Luminibus Romanorum, libri xvi. seu Historia Romana, ex ipsissimis Ciceronis, et aliorum veterum verbis, expressa. Paris, 1634, fol. A posthumous work.


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