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Clan Ballie are a Scottish kin-group who do not have a recognised chief and are therefore considered an armigerous clan.


The most likely derivation of this name is from the French 'baillie', meaning 'bailiff or 'steward'. This was an office of great importance in medieval times.<ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 354</ref> In Latin, 'baiulus' means 'steward'- and this passed into the Old French as 'balli'- meaning a 'bailiff'. <ref>David Doward, Dictionary of Scottish Surnames, 9</ref> In local government in Scotland a balie was the equivalent of an alderman. <ref>Doward, Surnames, 9</ref> One of the earliest records of this name is in 1311 when William de Baillie is recorded as a juror in a land dispute in Lothian. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 354</ref>

Middle Ages

Nisbet records that, according to family tradition, the Baillies of Lamington were truly a branch of the great House of Balliol, Lords of Galloway and sometime kings of Scots. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref>The family was said to have changed its name due to the unpopularity of the Balliol kings after the succession of Robert the Bruce. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref>This is considered unlikely by modern authorities, firstly because the name Balliol remained widespread in Scotland after the demise of the Balliol kings, and secondly because the fact that Balliol is now extinct as a surname has no obvious link to adoption of 'Ballie'. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref> <ref>Doward, Surnames, 9</ref>

William Baillie of Hop Rig (b.1320) was knighted by David II in 1357 and received a royal charter to the barony of Lamington in 1368.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref> Lamington is near Biggar, in South Lanarkshire. The main branch of the Ballies were therefore border lairds.<ref>Doward, Surnames, 9</ref>

Sir William established the family fortunes and from him are descended the Baillies of Carphin, Park, Jerviston, Dunrogal, Carnbroe, Castlecarry, Provand and Dochfour.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref>

Alexander Baillie, a younger son of Lamington, fought at the Battle of Brechin in 1452 and was rewarded by the Earl of Huntly with the lands of Dunain and Dochfour near Inverness. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref> He was also appointed constable of Inverness Castle. The family played a prominent part in affairs around the Highland capital, and formed alliances by marriage to many notable local families.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref>

Sixteenth Century

Cuthbert Baillie of Carphin was Lord High Treasurer to James IV in 1512.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref> Sir William Baillie of Provand was called to the Bench in 1566, taking the title of 'Lord Provand'. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref> He was Lord President of the Court of Session from 1565 to his death in 1595. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref>

The principal house of Lamington suffered the vagaries of fortune after having risen high in royal favour when Sir William Baillie married Janet Hamilton, daughter of James, Earl of Arran and Duke of Chatelherault. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref> He was made Master of the Wardrobe to Queen Mary of Guise in 1542. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref> Faithful to her daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots, they fought at the Battle of Langside in 1568, after which the estates were declared forfeit. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref>

War of the Three Kingdoms

General Baillie commanded covenanting forces who were defeated by the Marquess of Montrose at the Battles of Alford and Kilsyth in 1645.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref> The general's two songs married two daughters of Lord Forrester of Corstophine and gained their estates.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref>

Seventeenth Century

Robert Ballie

The Reverend Robert Baillie (1602-1662) descended from the house of Jerviston, was a renowned Protestant minister and chaplain to the Covenanter armies in 1639. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref> He is credited with a contemporary account of the events which led to the wars of the 1640s. <ref>Doward, Surnames, 9</ref> A graduate of the University of Glasgow, Ballie later became Professor of Divinity and was one of the Scottish clergy who attended the Westminster Assembly in 1643 <ref>,_Robert_(Scottish_divine)</ref> In 1649 he was one of the commissioners sent to Holland to invite Charles II to Scotland.

In 1661 he became Principal of Glasgow University. <ref>,_Robert_(Scottish_divine)</ref> He died the following year, with his death being partly attributed to the restoration of episcopacy in Scotland. <ref>,_Robert_(Scottish_divine)</ref>

The Reverend Baillie's children were also notable. His daughter, Margaret, was to marry a Walkinshaw of Barrowfield, ancestor of Clementina Walkinshaw, the mistress of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the 'Young Pretender'.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref>

His son, Robert Baillie of Jerviswood was also a staunch Protestant, whose outspoken views on civil and religious liberty were ultimately to result in his death. A cadet of the Lamington family, he was planning to emigrate to South Carolina in 1683, believing that there was no escape from the oppression of the government of the time.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref>

He was also in correspondence with leaders of the faction opposed to the succession of James VII in England, and prior to his intended journey he went to London to consult with the Duke of Monmouth (later involved in a rebellion, and executed) and others. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref> Baillie had no connection with any conspiracy to overthrow the government but he was nevertheless arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit high treason. He was convicted in the High Court at Edinburgh on 24 December 1684 and sentenced to be hanged the same day.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref> His family was forced to flee to Holland and the estates were not restored until the overthrow of James VII in 1688.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref>

Eighteenth Century

Lady Grizel Baillie

Lady Grizel Baillie (1665-1746) was the wife of Ballie of Jerviswood's son. Lady Grizel was a noted songwriter, some of whose compositions were published by Allan Ramsey. <ref></ref> As a child she carried communications from the imprisoned Robert Ballie to her father, Sir Patrick Hume. <ref></ref>

Lady Grizel's son suceeded to the Earldom of Haddington, which is still held by the Ballie family. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref> They are also still in posession of a stately home at Mellerstain in Berwickshire. <ref></ref>The title, Baillie of Lamington, having often been held by females, finally fell vacant in 1880. <ref></ref>

Joanna Ballie, born in Bothwell in Lanarkshire (1762-1851) was a dramatist and poet. <ref>Dorward, Surnames, 10</ref><ref></ref> She became a prominant literary figured based on London and authored many plays.<ref></ref> Joanna's works included a collection titled 'Plays on the Passions' (1798) with each 'passion' being the theme of a comedy and a tragedy'. <ref></ref>Due to the author's gender they were at first published anonymously, and Sir Walter Scott was suspected of being the author. Joanna became a friend of Sir Walter for more than fifty years. <ref></ref>