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Bartholomew Balfour was an officer in the Scots-Dutch Brigade. He served as colonel of the Brigade from c.1585 to 1594. He is not to be confused with another Bartholomew Balfour [SSNE 8260], who was killed at Killicrankie nearly one hundred years later. 


Bartholomew Balfour was a younger son of Bartholomew Balfour of Menteith, who was killed at Pinkie in 1547, and Margaret Drummond (daughter of Alexander Drummond of Carnock). He was also a brother of Sir Henry Balfour of Mackerston [SSNE 5011], who preceded Bartholomew in the colonelcy of the Brigade. Bartholomew Balfour married Beatrix Cant, making him the brother-in-law of one of his captains, David Cant. Furthermore, he was related to many of the future officers of the Scots-Dutch Brigade, being the uncle of Sir William Balfour [SSNE 8049], the father of Colonel Sir Philip Balfour, and therefore the grandfather and great-grandfather of General Sir Bartholomew Balfour [SSNE 8260] and Lieutenant-Colonel Bartholomew Balfour [SSNE 8261], respectively. Being the son of Margaret Drummond of Mackerston, he was also a cousin of Sergeant-Major William Drummond [SSNE 8010], who was the son of her brother, Alexander Drummond of Midhope (Drummonds, p. 250). 

Service in the Brigade, 1584-1593

Balfour probably served as a captain before assuming the colonelcy, but first appears on record at the defense of Fort Lillo, before Antwerp. He and four companies of Scots made a sortie and captured the Spanish cannon, killing nearly three hundred men and capturing the principal miner of the besiegers. Balfour was appointed governor of Bergen-op-Zoom between 26 August 1585 and 1 May 1586. By 1591, Balfour and his regiment had served at Bergen-op-Zoom, Zutphen, Deventer, Hulst, and Nijmegen, before serving under Henri IV of France in 1592. After returning to the Republic, Balfour served at Geertruidenberg (1593) and Bruges, where he was wounded in the foot. 

Retirement, 1594-1610

In 1593, Balfour and some of his captains were accused of plotting against the States, perhaps in light of the issues of pay that had been plaguing the regiment since 1588. Prince Maurice was advised to divide the Scottish companies up among the garrisons, but instead an agreement was drawn up to try to satisfy the Scots monetarily. However, Balfour and several of his captains--Murray, Dalachy, Brog [SSNE 7842], Prop, Egger, and Waddel--would not accept the settlement and were discharged, though some stayed in the service of the States. Balfour did eventually return to Scotland, taking 1500 guilders up from, and a pension of 1500 guilders a year until his outstanding salary was paid in full. By 1603, Balfour was a factor of Balfour of Burleigh, and by 1610 he was still receiving his pension. 




J. Ferguson, Papers Illustrating the History of the Scots Brigade in theservice of the United Netherlands, 1572-1697 (Edinburgh, 1899), pp. xxv, xxxiv, 24-28, 43, 48, 56, 69, 75, 84, 86, 96-114, 245, 324. 

The Honourable William Drummond, The Genealogy of the Most Noble House of Drummond (Glasgow, 1831), p. 250.

Ten Raa, F. and De Bas, F. HHet Staatsche Leger, I (Breda, 1911), p. 244. 

This entry created by Mr Jack Abernethy.

Service record

Arrived 1584-01-01, as COLONEL
Departed 1593-12-06, as RETIRED
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY