Baliol, Alexander de (DNB00)

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BALIOL, ALEXANDER de (fl. 1246?–1309?), lord of Cavers and chamberlain of Scotland, is one of the members of the Baliol family about whose pedigree great confusion exists. He was certainly not Alexander, son of Hugh Baliol of Barnard Castle, an elder brother of John Baliol the king, for this Alexander died in 1279 without issue, leaving a widow, Eleonora de Genovra (Rymer's Fœdera i. 10, 779). It is probable, but not certain, that he was the same person as Alexander de Baliol, the son of Henry de Baliol, chamberlain of Scotland, who died in 1246, and Lora or Lauretta de Valoines, the coheiress along with her sister Christian, wife of Peter de Maule of Panmure, of the fiefs of the Valoines family in England. If so he can be traced in the records of Hertfordshire between 6th and 32nd Edward I in connection with the manor of Benington in that county, which he inherited through his mother Clutterbuck's Hertfordshire, vol. ii.). This identification would account for his appointment to the office of chamberlain of Scotland, which had been held by his father, his great-grandfather, William de Berkeley, Lord of Reidcastle, and one of his maternal ancestors, Peter de Valoines. But there are two difficulties attending it. Alexander de Baliol the chamberlain is never mentioned as possessing Reidcastle in Forfarshire, the estate of Henry de Baliol, and it is difficult to account for his constant association with the estate of Cavers in Teviotdale, and not with any English fiefs. Possibly the latter circumstance is due to the references being in the Scottish records. It appears that in 32 Edward I (1304) Bennington was sold by Alexander de Baliol to John de Binsted, and the conjecture seems admissible that Baliol may have made Scotland the chief place of his residence, though retaining English fiefs in right of his mother and his wife. His preference for Scotland would be confirmed by his succession to the high office which his father Henry had held. Whatever may be thought of this hypothesis, it is certain that Alexander de Baliol the Scottish chamberlain first appears as Dominus de Cavers in the Scottish records in 1270. Seven years later he was commissioned, as lord of Cavers, to serve in Edward's Welsh wars. In 1284, under the same designation of Dominus de Cavers, he was one of the Scottish barons who bound themselves to receive Margaret, the Maid of Norway, as queen in the event of failure of male issue of Alexander III; and as, in the same year he received a summons to attend Edward's army, he must still have retained English fiefs. In 1287 he is for the first time mentioned in a writ by the guardians of Scotland as chamberlain of Scotland, an office in which he succeeded John Lindsay, bishop of Glasgow. Two years later he took part in the negotiations which resulted in the treaty of Salisbury, 6 Nov. 1289, confirmed by the parliament at Brigham, 12 March 1290, by which Edward the Prince of Wales was to marry Margaret and Edward I solemnly recognised the independence of Scotland. Her death prevented the marriage, and Edward soon forgot or ignored his engagements. On 5 June 1291 Baliol and his wife Isabella de Chilham, widow of David de Strathbogie, earl of Athol, received a letter of attorney and safe conduct from Edward permitting them to remain for a year in Scotland. He still continued to hold the office of chamberlain after the seisin of Scotland had been given to Edward I, as the condition of his determining the suit as to the succession of the crown of Scotland; but in the beginning of 1292 we find Robert Heron, rector of Ford, associated with Baliol in this office, and as a writ of 1 Feb. of that year mentions that Heron's wages had been granted to him by the King of England, it appears reasonable to conclude that Heron had been appointed to control Baliol in the execution of the office. On 30 Dec. 1292 certain of the records of Scotland which had been in the hands of Edward were redelivered to Alexander Baliol as chamberlain of Scotland. Baliol is last mentioned as chamberlain on 16 May 1294, and it seems probable that the disputes between Edward and John Baliol led to his deprivation by the English king after or perhaps even before the campaign of 1296, when Edward forced John Baliol to resign the crown and carried him captive to England. In 1297 John de Sandale, an English baron, appears as chamberlain of Scotland. From entries in the accounts of the expenses of John Baliol when a prisoner in England with reference to a horse of Alexander de Baliol, it would seem that he shared the captivity of his kinsman. On 13 Jan. 1297 Edward made a presentation to the church of Cavers, upon the ground that the lands of Alexander de Baliol were in his hands. A few scanty notices between 1298 and 1301 indicate that he took part on the English side in the war with Scotland; and from one of these we learn that he had manors in Kent, the wood of which he received the king's license to sell.

Amongst the barons present at the siege of Caerlaverock in 1300 was

Mes Alissandres de Bailloel,
Ke a tout bien fere mettoit le oel,
Jaune baniere avoit el champ,
al rouge escu voidie du champ.

In 1303 he seems to have shown symptoms of again falling off from the English side, for his chattels in Kent, Hertfordshire, and Roxburghshire were in that year seized by John de Bretagne, earl of Richmond, in the Scottish campaign.

His estates in Kent, of which the chief was the castle and manor of Chilham, were held by him in right of his wife Isabella de Chilham, by whom he left a son of his own name. The date of his death is unknown, but as he was summoned to all the parliaments of Edward I between 1300 and 1307, and is not mentioned as summoned to any of Edward II, he probably died soon after the accession of that monarch. His son Alexander had a son, Thomas de Baliol of Cavers, who sold that estate to William, earl of Douglas, in 1368, and is the last of the Baliols who appears in the Scottish records.

[Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, i.; Documents illustrative of the History of Scotland, edited by Sir F. Palgrave; Historical Documents Scotland, 1286-1306, edited by Rev. J. Stevenson; Acts Parl. Scotland, Record Edition, vol. 1.; Dugdale's Baronage; Surtees' History of Durham; Clutterbuck's History of Hertfordshire; Crawford's History of the Officers of State of Scotland.]

Æ. M.