Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 03.djvu/104

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Balther
Baltzar
98

BALTHER (d. 756), saint, presbyter of Lindisfarne, lived as an anchorite, according to Mabillon, at Tyningham, in Scotland, although possibly he may be confounding him with Baldred, who also lived at Tyningham. Balther is celebrated by Alcuin for his sanctity, his power of walking on the sea like St. Peter, and his victory over evil spirits. According to Simeon of Durham he died in 756, and Mabillon states that in the Benedictine calendars his name occurs on 27 Nov. He was buried at Lindisfarne, but in the eleventh century his remains were removed to Durham Cathedral, whence they were stolen, along with those of the venerable Bede and others.

[Alcuin's Carmina de Pontif. et SS. Eccl. Eborac. vv. 1318-86; Simeon of Durham's Chron. a.d. 756, Hist. Dun. ii. 2; Mabillon's Acta Sanct. Ord. Ben. pars 2nda, p. 505; Roger of Hoveden's Annals.]

T. F. H.

BALTIMORE, Earls of. [See Calvert.]

BALTRODDI, WALTER de (d. 1270), bishop of Caithness, succeeded Bishop William in 1261. He was doctor of the canon law, and his diocese included Caithness and Sutherland, the chapter consisting of ten canons, comprehending dean, precentor, chancellor, and treasurer. By the constitution created by one of his predecessors, the eminent prelate Gilbert Murray, he as bishop held the foremost position in chapter as well as in diocese. Thurso was the seat of the bishopric of Caithness in Bishop Walter's time, although it had been temporarily removed to Dornoch between 1222 and 1245. An historic ruin in the neighbourhood of Thurso still preserves its name of the 'bishop's palace;' the ruined church of St. Peter's, within the town, is on the site of the ancient cathedral, part of which is incorporated in the existing building of five centuries old or more.

Bishop Walter's surname is suggestive of an Italian origin. He is characterised as 'a man discreet in counsel and commendable for the sanctity of his life' in the seventeenth century Latin MSS. of Father Hay, the historian and relative of the Roslin family, preserved in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh. According to the collections of Sir James Dalrymple, an earlier antiquarian, he is one of three Caithness bishops described as 'of good memory' in a writ dated the 10th of the calends of October, 1275. The document is a decreet-arbitral between Walter's successor, Archibald, bishop of Caithness, and William, earl of Sutherland, as to a dispute that had been open during the prelacies of Archibald and his predecessors, Walter de Baltroddi, William, and Gilbert Murray, concerning the rights of the see to certain lands, ferry tolls, and salmon fishings.

[Alex. Nisbet, in his famous work on 'Heraldry,' published in 1722, declared that he saw and examined the writ referred to above. In Sir Robert Grordon's 'Genealogical History of the House of Sutherland,' written in the reign of James I, its contents are summarised; and part of its text, which was in Latin, is quoted in Bishop Keith's 'Catalogue of Scottish Bishops.' A passing notice in Grub's 'Ecclesiastical History of Scotland,' which probably came from one of the sources already referred to, mentions Bishop Walter.]

T. S.

BALTZAR, THOMAS (1630?–1663), violinist, was born at Lübeck and settled in England in 1656. We do not hear that he had acquired much fame in Germany, but he was the first great violinist that had been heard in England at the time. On his arrival in England he stayed with Sir Anthony Cope of Hanwell. He was not long in making his reputation in England, for we find his playing much praised in Evelyn's 'Diary,' under date 4 March 1656-7, where he is called 'the incomparable Lubicer’ Evelyn heard him at the house of Roger L'Estrange, and he says: 'Tho' a young man, yet so perfect and skillfull, that there was nothing, however cross and perplext … which he did not play off at sight with ravishing sweetnesse and improvements, to the astonishment of our best masters.' Anthony à Wood heard him play on 24 July 1658, and he says (life of himself), speaking of his alacrity of execution, that 'neither he nor any in England saw the like before. … Wilson thereupon, the greatest judge of music that ever was, did … stoop downe to Baltzar's feet to see whether he had a huff on; that is to say, to see whether he was a devill or not, because he acted beyond the parts of man.' The same author states that Baltzar formed habits of intemperance, which ultimately brought him to the grave. In one of the manuscript suites for strings, several of which are preserved in the library of the Music School, Oxford, the author's name is given as 'Mr. Baltzar, commonly called ye Swede, 25 Feb. 1659.' At the Restoration he was placed at the head of Charles II's new band of (twenty-four) violins. He died in 1663 and was buried in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey on 27 July in that year. His name appears there as 'Mr. Thomas Balsart, one of the violins in the king's service.'

From Wood's statement 'that he saw him run up his fingers to the end of the finger-board of the violin,' it has been inferred that the introduction of the 'shift' was due to him, but it is probable that the practice is