Balcanquhall, Walter (1586?-1645) (DNB00)

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BALCANQUHALL, WALTER, D.D. (1586?–1645), royalist, son of the Rev. Walter Balcanquhall [q. v.], who steadfastly opposed episcopacy, was born in Edinburgh 'about 1586' the year of his father's 'rebuke' by King James. Convinced, it has been alleged, by the arguments in favour of bishops maintained by the sovereign, he proceeded to the university of Edinburgh with a purpose ultimately to take orders in the church of England. In 1609 he graduated M.A. He afterwards removed to Oxford, entering at Pembroke College. He passed B.D., and was admitted a fellow on 8 Sept. 1611. He was appointed one of the king's chaplains, and in 1617 he received the mastership of the Savoy, London. In 1618 James sent him to the synod of Dort. His letters from that famous synod, which were addressed to Sir Dudley Carleton, are preserved in John Hales's 'Golden Remains.' Before proceeding to Dort the university of Oxford conferred upon him the degree of D.D. In March 1624 he obtained the deanery of Rochester, and in 1639 he was made dean of Durham. The 'Calendars of State Papers' from 1625 onward reveal him as a pushing suppliant for offices and dignities. On the death of the celebrated George Heriot on 12 Feb. 1624, it was found that Balcanquhall was one of the three executors of his will and was assigned the most responsible part in founding the hospital which was to bear the royal jeweller's name, Balcanquhall drew up the statutes in 1627, and, it is universally conceded, discharged the weighty trust imposed on him with integrity and ability.

In 1638 he revisited his native country, as chaplain to the Marquis of Hamilton, the royal commissioner. Balcanquhall was accused of shiftiness and treachery in his conduct towards 'the people' who were contending earnestly for their religious rights. He was the undoubted author of an apologetical narrative of the court proceedings under the title of 'His Majestie's Large Declaration concerning the Late Tumults in Scotland' (1639). On 29 July 1641 he and others of kin with him were denounced by the Scottish parliament as 'incendiaries.' He was afterwards 'hardly entreated' by the dominant puritan party, and was one of the 'sufferers' celebrated by Walker in his 'Sufferings' He retreated to Oxford and shared the waning fortunes of the king. He died at Chirk Castle, Denbighshire, on Christmas day 1645, whilst the echoes of Naseby were in the air. Sir Thomas Middleton erected a 'splendid monument' to him in the parish church of Chirk.

[Dr. Stevens's History of George Heriot's Hospital; Wood's Athenæ (Bliss), iii. 180, 839; Walker's Sufferings, pt. ii. 19; Anderson's Scottish Nation; The two Sermons of 1634 on Psalm cxxvi. 5, and S. Matt. xxi. 13.]

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