BALFOUR, GILBERT [SSNE 1703]
- BALFOUR, BAPHUR OF PITTENDREICH
- First name
- GILBERT, JAMES
- PITTENDREICH, MORAY
Gilbert (sometimes erroneously confused with James) Balfour was the brother of Sir James Balfour of Pittendreich. Gilbert was a Scottish officer in Swedish service in the 1570s. There is a royal letter from King Johan III dated 14 October 1573 appointing him with reference to Balfour as a Scottish captain. He was a contemporary of Archibald Ruthven's [SSNE 5514] and became embroiled in an alleged plot to kill Johan III and reinstate his brother, Erik XIV, on the Swedish throne. The issue had started when Hugh Cahun [SSNE 778] was accused of embezzling the Scottish troops' wages and he in turn accused Balfour and Ruthven of masterminding the murder plot. After Cahun's execution Balfour and Ruthven and their Scottish troops sailed for Livonia, and there a fight broke out with German troops also in Swedish service. This resulted in Balfour and Ruthven's return to Sweden in chains, and the murder plot accusations were raised again. Gilbert's brother, Sir James, wrote to him on November 6 1575, and a petition on behalf of Gilbert, signed by his fellow officers, was sent to King Johan that year. However, Ruthven died in prison and Balfour was executed in August 1576.
Swedish Riksarkiv, Titularregistratur till RR, vol.1; National Archives of Scotland, RH 1/2/419 and 420; T. Fischer, The Scots in Sweden (Edinburgh, 1907), pp.54-62; J. Berg and B. Lagercrantz, The Scots in Sweden (Stockholm, 1962), pp.16-17.