Powys-Lybbe Forbears - Person Sheet
Powys-Lybbe Forbears - Person Sheet
Birth13 Aug 1724, Edinburgh, Scotland
Baptism25 Aug 1724, St Cuthbert’s, Edinburgh
Death12 Feb 1787, Leith, Scotland
Burial16 Feb 1787, Mattmens ground, South Leith church
GeneralBorn of Pilrig, Edinburghs. Merchant of Leith. Burgess of Edinburgh.
FatherJames Balfour (<1681-1737)
Notes for Henry Balfour
The wording in the Trotter article in Burke's Landed Gentry of 1899 is that George Brown (my gt-gt-gt-gf) "m. 1786, Margaret, dau. of Henry Balfour, Esq, of Pilrig, County Edinburgh, Major 1st Royals by his wife Jean, eldest dau of William Elliott, Esq of Woolflee, Roxburgh."

Note by RCLPL:

Was Henry Balfour the son of James Balfour and Cecilia dau of Sir John Elphinstone, Bart of Logie?

See Burke's Landed Gentry under Melville of Mount Melville.

Jan 2003: In all the above there is no serious consideration of RCL P-L's question about Henry's parents which he, and he only, showed as James Balfour and Cecile Elphinstone. I have just gathered from a member of the Arbuthnot clan that their record shows Henry to be the son of James Balfour and Louisa Hamilton and not of their son James and Cecile Elphinstone.
Henry and Louisa did indeed have a son Henry, born (LDS Vital Records) on 25th March 1725.  Henry was the last recorded by LDS of a very large brood.
On the other hand the LDS records for James and Cecile Elhpinstone only show one son, James, and two daughters, all christened at St Cuthbert's Edinburgh.  I had assumed that James and Cecile had moved out of that area, perhaps to Pilrig and any further children were born at the new address.  That assumption must now be severely questioned.

Other gems from the Arbuthnots were that James Balbour Paul (the eminent Lyon King of Arms) was of this family and that there were two descents from the Hopes of Hopetown, Craighall, etc.

If the Trotters were right in that Henry was of Pilrig, it sounds as if he was a younger son as Pilrig itself descended by another line, as shown in the Balfour article in Burke's Colonial Gentry.  LDS Vital records confirms that James (twice) was the eldest son.

TFPL: Nov 2002: The answer to some of the above unknowns is that there were (at least) two Henry Balfours and both lived at Leith.

The major in the 1st Regiment of Foot died around 1790-1; his testament was recorded in the Edinburgh Comissary Court on 29th October 1791 (CC8/8/128/2).
He was born at Dunbog and in 1770 bought a newly-built house in Leith.  Here's the report of the investigation:

"The Testament of Major Henry Balfour, 1st regiment of Foot was recorded in Edinburgh Commissary Court on the 29th October 1791 (CC8/8/128/2).

"He died in 177- (sic), intestate and his executors were Colonel Nisbet Balfour of the (blank) Regiment of Foot; Walter Balfour, writer in the HEICo; Mrs Elizabeth Balfour; (faded) Balfour, widow of Thomas Boswell, Accountant, Edinburgh; Robert Stewart of Castle Stewart, husband of Stewart Balfour; (blank) Inglis, late Captain in (blank), husband of Jean Balfour which Nisbet, Walter, Elizabeth, Euphemia, Stewart and Jean were the surviving children of Henry Balfour of Dunbog and brothers and sisters german of the deceased Major Henry Balfour.  He was the eldest son and his mother was Katherine Porterfield.

"From an index to Deeds in Fifie Sheriff Court and also the New Statistical Account for Fife (vol 9) - Dunbog, p. 209, it was found that Dunbog had been purchased by Major Henry Balfour of Starr and forfeited in 1715, but restored to his son who sold it in 1766 to Sir Lawrence Dundas.

"Major Henry Balfour had - Amelia, Henry, David, Euphan and Katherine.

"His son, Henry Balfour of Dunbog who married Katherine Powerfield had Henry his eldest son and heir (subject of the testament above), Nisbet, David, Charles, George and Walter and daughters Elizabeth, Euphan, Amelia, Margaret and Jean."

The merchant was born at Pilrog, and his testament was recorded in the Edinburgh Commissary Court on 6th June 1788.  The inventory was given up by his wife Jean Elliott, James Balfour of Pilrig, John Balfour bookseller in Edinburgh. John Balfour younger of Pilrig, etc on 9th November 1778.  In Henry Balfour's testament he referred to his newly built house at the head of Sheriffbrae of Leith in Jan 1774.  He also referred to the residue of his estate going to his and Jean's children: Margaret, Lucia, James, William, Henry and Helen.  Here's the report:

"The testament of James Balfour of Pilrig who died testate on the 4th April 1793 (CC8/8/130/1-25 March 1795) was checked by in his testament he just named his eldest son John as executor and no one else.

"A testament was noticed for a Henry Balfour, merchant in Leith recorded in Edinburgh Commissary Court on the 6 June (CC8/8/127/2).  His date of death was omitted and he died intestate. His inventory was given up by his widow, Jean Elliott, James Balfour of Pilrig, John Balfour, bookseller in Edinburgh, John Balfour younger of Pilrig, Mr Adam Ogilvy, advocate, Cornelius Elliott, Writer to the Signet and James Balfour, Writer to the Signet, executors dative qua General Disponees in his Trust Right and Disposition dated 9 November 1778.

"The trust right was recorded in the Books of Council and Session on the 16th february 1787 (RD2/242/1 f.347).  Henry Balfour is described as a merchant in Leith.  The Trustees listed above follow and also include William Ogilvy of Hartwoodmyre who had deceased by the time of the testament above was recorded.

"He referred to his newly built house at the head of the Sheriffbrae of Leith which he had purchased in a Judicial Sale under the company, Henry Balfour & Co., merchants, Leith.  It was a lot of the large burnt hospital.  The Decreet of Sale was dated 10 January 1774.

"He stated that his Trustees were to realise his assets and pay his wife interest on her 80 ukp Sterling jointure and she was to have the liferent of the household furniture etc.  But the residue was to be divided among their children - Margaret, Lucia, James, William, Henry and Helen Balfours.

"This was made at Leith on the 10 March 1778.

"There was, however, still the puxzle as to why he was recorded in printed sources as Major Henry Balfour of the 1st or Royal Regiment of Foot.

"The answer came in a Sasine recorded in Edinburgh Sasines on the 2 June 1770 (RS27/188 f.292) It recorded the purchase of the newly built dwelling house in Leith and although a procurator represented Major Henry Balfour, the sasine was witnessed by Cornelius Elliott, W.S."

Thanks are due to Diane Baptie of Edinburgh for resolving this.

Now to see if we can find the birth and marriage of Margaret, who almost certainly married George Brown of Glasgow and later of London.

The the Scottish Record Society’ list of burgesses of Edinburgh, there are these two entries on p. 71 of the PDF file:

“Capt. Henry, of the Royal first regt. of foot, B. [burgess] and G. [guild-brother], in r. [right] of dec. [deceased] fr. [father] James B. of Pilrig, Esq., gratis, by act of C. [Council] for good services to king and country in late war (“Hary” in index) 3 Aug 1763.”

“Henry esq, Captain in the Royal or first regiment, commanded by Sir Hary Erskine, Bart., B. and G., by r. of dec. fr. James B. of Pilrig, gratis, by act of C. of 3 Aug. inst for good services 5 Aug 1763.”

Other appointments of burgesses were made to:
John. son to Mr James B. of Pilrig,
Melville, son of John B. of Pilrig.

The last set of paragraphs begins to show where the confusion may have lain.  In his marriage record in August 1765, Henry is shown as “Capt Henry Balfour of the Royal Regt of Artillery”.  I strongly suspect that this was a local Militia and that Henry was NOT in the regular army though he may have been called out for service.  It looks much more likely that he has been confused for a long while with his namesake, Major Henry Balfour of the Dunbog family and definitely of the first Regt of Foot.

Though on p. 88 of his book, Geo Tancred writes of Henry that he was a Major of the 2nd Battalion Royals and: “He served with distinction during the American War, and when he left the Army he settled down as a wine merchant at Leith.”  As this was written in 1907, I wonder if he too suffered from the confusion with the real Major of the 1st Foot?

TFPL, June 2012: Found his death and burial on Scotland’s People as “12/02/1787 Balfour, Henry [OPR Deaths 692/02 0150 0363 Leith South]”:

Major Henry Balfour Mercht, in Leith aged 62 years died 12 buried 16th Feby 1787 in the Mattmens ground 18 paces South from the South corner of the Pillar, South West corner of the Church.

[Transcribed by me from a photocopy of the burial register provided by Scotland’s People]

TFPL, June 2012: Found his birth on Family Search:

name:                            Henry Balfour
gender:                          Male
birth date:                      13 Aug 1724
birthplace:                      Saint Cuthberts, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
father's name:                   James Balfour
mother's name:                   Lewisa Hamilton
indexing project (batch) number  C11986-6
system origin:                   Scotland-VR
source film number:              1066752

TFPL, March 2021: An image of this baptism is now on Scotland’s people and its transcript by me is:

[ 13/08/1724 BALFOUR HENRY (Old Parish Registers Births 685/2 60 224 St Cuthbert’s) Page 224 od 621 ]

“16th August 1724
“. . . .
“25th Aug 1724
“Mr James Balfour of Pilridge & Lewisa Hamilton A.S.N. Henry
“born 13th inst Wit: Mr William Hamilton professor Divinity
“in the College of Edinbr who baptized him, Mr John Shaw Mr James
“Stevenson Ministers of South Leith, Wm Jamison,  Wm Mitchell
“& ??? Balfour mer’ts in Edinburgh & Residenters in Leith.”

Note that it is not clear whether this baptism was done on the 25th August which is written between this and the previous entries.  It was either done on the 25th or a day or so later, judging by the other dates on the page of the register.

No records can be found of the births of their children on Scotland’s People. My search was done for any brith between 1766 and 1780 with the surname (only of Balfour with fuzzy matching and with the father’s name as Henry, also with fuzzy matching.  This produced one result but the mother was Janet Burn and the birth was in Jedburgh.

There is just a possibility that the family went abroad after the parents married.

So I have done a similar seach but for wide geographic areas on FindMyPast, SAncestry and FamilySearch:

On findMyPast this produced only three births in Scotland, none in the rest of the world.

On FamilySearch, no clear children found but there were references to some newspaper articles.

On Ancestry, there were only the Roxburgh births with a different mother.

Ancestry finds seve Margaret births in 1767 plus or minus 2 years, but none of them are for parents of henry and/or Jean.
Will notes for Henry Balfour
For the two Henry Balfours:

1. Henry who died in 1791, Scotland’s People has:

Surname           Balfour
Forename          Henry
Date              29/10/1791
Description       major in the 1st Regiment of Foot
Type              TD
Court             Edinburgh Commissary Court
Reference Number  CC8/8/128

2. Henry who died in 1788, Scotland’s People has:

Surname           Balfour
Forename          Henry
Date              6/6/1788
Description       merchant in Leith
Type              TD
Court             Edinburgh Commissary Court
Reference Number  CC8/8/127
Arms Generally notes for Henry Balfour
Argent, on a chevron indented sable, between a rose gules in chief and a saltire azure in base, an otter's head erased of the first.  - Armorial Families for  Balfour of Pilrig (L.O. 1760) but without any current armiger.
Armorial Blazon notes for Henry Balfour
Argent on a Cheveron indented Sable, between a Rose in Chief Gules, and a Saltire Azure in base, an ottars head erased of the field.
Blazon source notes for Henry Balfour
Lyon Court matriculation for Balfour of Pilrig in 1760
Notes for Henry & Jean (Family)
Scots People has the record of his marriage headed ‘Sabbath 4th August” (1765) followed by several entries all on that page.  I think this means that the marriages were in the following week.   While William Trotter gave a date of 7th August, Geo Tancred gave 6th August; I have no idea when between 4th and 7th they were actually married.

Interestingly in the same batch on the same page were married Jean’s eldest brother, Cornelius who m. Margaret dau. of the then late James Rannie, whom Geo Tancred says were m. on 8th Aug.

The wording of the Balfour-Elliot marriage is:

“Capt Henry Balfour of the Royal Regt of Artillery and Miss Jean Elliot Daught to Mr Wm Elliot writer in Edinh in New North Kirk parish.”

The most interesting thing is that this has him in the Artillery, not the Foot.
Last Modified 13 Jul 2021Created 14 May 2022 by Tim Powys-Lybbe
Re-created by Tim Powys-Lybbe on 14 May 20220