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The Scottish Nation

BALCANQUALL, 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 follows.

      The surname of Balcanquhall seems to have been in course of time changed into Ballingall, as more euphonious.

BALCANQUAL, WALTER, 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.

Dr. Balcanqual’s works are the following:

His 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.

Entries for this name from the Dictionary of National Biography

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