Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ballenden, William

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BALLENDEN or BALLANTYNE, WILLIAM (1616–1661), prefect-apostolic of the catholic mission in Scotland, was a native of Douglas, Lanarkshire, of which parish his father was the minister. His paternal uncle was a lord of session, with the title of Lord Newhall. He studied in the university of Edinburgh, and afterwards travelled on the continent. At Paris he was converted to the catholic religion. He entered the Scotch college at Rome in 1641, and, having received the order of priesthood, left it in 1646, and then stayed in the Scotch college at Paris, preparing himself for the mission, till 1649, when he returned to his native country. At this period the secular clergy of Scotland were in a state of utter disorganisation, and dissensions had arisen between them and the members of the religious orders, particularly the Jesuits. Ballenden, perceiving the disastrous results of this want of union, despatched the Rev. William Leslie to Rome to solicit the appointment of a bishop for Scotland. This request was not granted by the holy see, but in 1653, by a decree of propaganda, the Scotch secular clergy were freed from the jurisdiction of the English prelates and Jesuit superiorship, and were incorporated into a missionary body under the superintendence of Ballenden, who was nominated the first prefect-apostolic of the mission. Besides effecting many other conversions, he received the Marquis of Huntly into the church. In 1656 Ballenden visited France, and on his return, landing at Rye in Sussex, he was arrested by Cromwell's orders and conveyed to London, where he remained in confinement for nearly two years. He was then banished, and withdrew to Paris in great poverty. In 1660 he returned to Scotland, and he spent the brief remainder of his life in the house of the Marchioness of Huntly at Elgin, where he died 2 Sept. 1661. Out of the writings of Suffren he composed a treatise 'On Preparation for Death,' which was much esteemed in its day, and of which a second edition was published at Douay in 1716.

[Gordon's Account of the Roman Catholic Mission in Scotland, introd. v-xi, 519-521; Blackhal's Breiffe Narration of the Services done to three Noble Ladyes, pref. xxvii; Catholic Directory (1884), 60.]

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