Balfour, Sir James

Balfour, Sir James

Balfour, Sir James, d. 1583, Scottish judge and politician. Captured (1547) at St. Andrews after the murder of Cardinal Beaton, he served a sentence in the French galleys and on his release (1549) abjured Protestantism. He became an adviser to Mary Queen of Scots and was involved in the murder of Lord Darnley. He was made governor of Edinburgh Castle, but when the Scottish lords rose against the queen, he surrendered it to them. Balfour repeatedly changed his political allegiance in succeeding conflicts. Eventually he withdrew to France, but he returned to Scotland (1580) to help secure the conviction of the earl of Morton for Darnley's murder. He was long a jurist, but, despite its name, the early law text, Balfour's Practicks of Scots Law, is only partially of his authorship.
Sir James Balfour of Denmyine, 1st Baronet, (c. 1600 – c. 1658) of Perth and Kinross, Scotland, Scottish annalist and antiquary.

He was well acquainted with Sir William Segar and with William Dugdale, to whose Monasticon he contributed. He was knighted by Charles I of Scotland in 1630, was made Lord Lyon King of Arms in the same year, and in 1633 baronet of Kinnaird. He was removed from his office of king-at-arms by Oliver Cromwell and died in 1657/8.

Some of his numerous works are preserved in the Advocates' Library at Edinburgh, together with his correspondence, from which rich collection James Haig published Balfour's Annales of Scotland in 4 volumes (1824 – 1825).

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