Coat of Arms

The following text has been copied faithfully from photostats of the original submission presented by Captain William Balfour in support of his Petition to be recognised as the heir male and representative of the ancient baronial family of Balfour of Munquhanny in the County of Fife following the death of his uncle, John Balfour, on 15 October 1842. He was granted Arms by Letters Patent from the Lord Lyon, but there is no suggestion that Captain Balfour was being recognised as head or representer of the name of Balfour. It was specific to Balfour of Munquhanny. However, it is accepted that the Balfours of Munquhanny were the senior line, and consequently Captain Balfour was, to all intents and purposes, the " Balfour of Balfour".

Lineage of the Family of Balfour of Trenabie

The name of Balfour is derived from the Castle of Bal - or (corruptly Balfour) built in the vale or Strath of the River Or in the County of Fife of which shire the Chiefs of the family were long Heritable Sheriffs. The first of the family in Scotland was

1.      Siwarth or Siward who lived in the reign of Duncan I (1033 - 1039) and left a son

2.      Aswulph to whose son

3.      Siwarth was given the valley of the Or (Strathor) and the Isle of May in 1097 by King Edgar of Scotland, probably on the defeat of the usurper Donald Bane and his Scandinavian allies. His son

4.      Octred, who is witness to charter by David I, 1142, was probably the founder of the Castle which henceforward gave name to his descendants. On the death of his only son

5.      Michael de Balfor, Octred divided his estate among his grandsons, firstly

                                                   I.      Sir William de Balfor of that Ilk, Knight, Sheriff of Fife, who is witness to a Charter by Sir Alexander Seton circa 1200. Received the Castle and the lower part of the Strath from his grandfather Octred and transmitted them to his son

                                                 II.      Henry de Balfor of that Ilk, Sheriff of Fife, who left a son

                                                III.      Sir John de Balfor of that Ilk, Knight, Sheriff of Fife slain with many of the Barons of Fife at the sack of Berwick by Edward I, 1296, leaving two sons,


        Sir Duncan of Balfour, Sheriff of Fife, slain at Blackernside   12 June 1298 and


        Sir John who succeeded his brother

                                             IV.      Sir John de Balfor of that Ilk, Kt., Sheriff of Fife was wounded at Dillecarew 1300. His name heads the list of Barons summoned by the Marischal to decide a cause between John Stele, Abbot of Lundoris and the Burgesses of Newburgh 1309, and is security for Sir Gilbert Hay of Errol, in a Contract with Sir Michael Scot of Balweary, 3 June 1310. His son

                                               V.      Sir Michael de Balfor of that Ilk, Kt., Sheriff of Fife sat as a Baron of Parliament at Ayr 6 April 1315

                                             VI.      Sir John de Balfor of that Ilk, Kt., Sheriff of Fife, died without issue in 1375. His office reverted to the Crown, and his sister and heiress as a ward of the Crown was given in marriage to Sir Robert de Betun. Of this marriage of Janet de Balfor and Robert de Betun is descended the present family of Bethunes of Balfour. At this failure of male heirs of Sir William de Balfor, the Chiefship devolved on the representatives of his brother

        Sir Michael

6.     Sir Michael de Balfor, Knight, got from his grandfather Octred de Strathor (on the death of his father Michael) the upper part of the Strath (thenceforth called distinctively Strath-or) the Isle of May and the lands of Ballo, confirmed by William the Lion with erection into a "Barony to Sir Michael de Balfor and his heirs quhatsoever for the payment of a reid rose", being transmitted by Sir Michael to his son

7.     Sir David de Balfour Kt. of Strathor and Ballo who in his old age assumed the Cross and fell in the disastrous Crusade of Louis IX, at Tunis, with David Earl of Athol and many other Scottish Crusaders, 1269, leaving a son

8.     Sir Michael de Balfour Kt. of Strathor who held the office of Seneschal of the Earls of Fife. He witnesses a Charter by Earl Duncan 1278, and fell with Macduff of Keres, the Earl's uncle, and most of the Fife Barons in Wallace's defeat at Falkirk, 22 July 1298, being succeeded in his Barony and Office by his son

9.     Sir David de Balfour of Strathor Knight and Seneschal of Fife who sat as a Baron in the Parliament assembled by Robert the Brus at Cambuskenneth 6 November 1314 and set his seal to the Act of Forfeiture then passed against the adherents of Balliol, and again in that held at Ayr by the same King 26 April 1315. On his way to the siege of Carlisle he sat as a Baron of Parliament and sealed the Act entailing the Scottish Crown on Edward Bruce. He fell in Ireland in the army of that Prince, 1318, leaving by his wife Isabel, daughter of the Macduff mentioned above (son of Malcolm 8th Earl of Fife by a daughter of Llewellyn Prince of Wales) a son

10. Sir Malcolm de Balfour of Strathor and Pittencrieff, Knight and Seneschal of Fife who sat with his father in the Parliament of Cambuskenneth and sealed the forfeiture there passed 1314. Duncan 11th Earl of Fife confirmed to his cousin Sir Malcolm the lands of Pittencrieff. He was slain by the English in one of the battles of the disputed succession between David Bruce and Edward Balliol. Tradition fixes his death as caused by wounds received in defence of his kinsman Earl Duncan at the Battle of Durham 1346 when the Earl was taken prisoner and the kindness shown by the family of Fife to his son Sir Michael may thus be accounted for. The Earl on returning to Scotland from captivity testifies his thanks for his escape by a gift of the Church of Auchtermuchty to Lundoris Abbey for the safety of the souls of his friends who fell on that occasion. Sir Malcolm left a son

11.  Sir Michael de Balfour of Strathor, Knight was brought up by his kinsman (Duncan 12th Earl of Fife) who gave him Munquhanny in exchange for the poorer property of Pittencrieff. He became male representative and Chief of the family on the death of his kinsman Sir John de Balfour of that Ilk, and as such assumed the Arms of that family without a difference as they are quartered by Betun of Balfour on marriage with the heiress, Janet. Sir Michael is present with other noblemen at the Perambulation of the Marches of Kirkness and Lochor 6 July 1395. He witnesses many Charters by Earl Duncan, Countess Isabel, and Walter de Moravia their kinsman. He married Elena (Helen) de Abernethy, probably the same Helen daughter of Laurence de Abernethy forfeited by David II, or perhaps a daughter of Sir John Abernethy of Balgony and Balgarvy whose brother Sir George of Salton witnesses Duke Robert's Charter of Confirmation to Sir Michael 1378. By this lady he had a son who succeeded him

12. Sir Laurence de Balfour of Munquhanny and Strathor Knight, who was present on the part Duncan 8th Earl of Lennox at a Convention relative to the Patronage of Polmadie between that Earl and William, Bishop of Glasgow at the West Chapel of Edinburgh Castle where the Earl was then a prisoner 7 January 1424 - 5. Sir Laurence fell in France (probably about 1429 when Sir John Stewart of Darnley, the Earl's son-in-law, was slain at the siege of Orleans) leaving by Marjory, his wife, three sons

                                                               I.      George the eldest who succeeded him

                                                             II.      David Balfour of Corraldstone

                                                            III.      John of Balgarvy ancestor of Burleigh, Denmylie, Torry, Boghall etc. received from James II a gift of the lands of Easter and Wester Balgarvy

13. George de Balfour of Munquhanny and Strathor succeeded his father and marrying Christian Lyndsay probably of the family of the Byres had by her two sons, to the younger of whom, James, he gave his lands of Ballo by a Charter dated at Munquhanny 26 February 1458 - 9, and another dated at Auchtermuchty (the residence John Lord Lindsay of Byres) 27 March 1467. The elder of the sons was

14. Sir John de Balfour Knight, Sheriff of Fife witnesses the Charter of Ballo 1458 - 9, and predeceasing his father left a son

15. Sir Michael de Balfour of Munquhanny and Strathor in whose favour his grandfather (while attending James III with John Lord Lindsay and other Fife Barons against the rebellious James, Earl of Douglas) resigned his lands of Munquhanny, Strathor etc. into the King's hands for new infeftment to the said Michael, and who accordingly received a Charter from James III at Edinburgh 13 October 1465. By his wife Janet Ogilvy he had a son Michael and a daughter Margaret, the wife of William 3rd Earl of Rothes. Sir Michael and his son-in-law fell at Flodden 1513.

16. Michael Balfour received on his father's resignation at Cupar a Charter whereby James IV created his whole estate into the Barony of Munquhanny in his favour with reservation of the liferent of the Castle of Munquhanny to his father and mother 1 April 1493. On his marriage he settled on his wife Marjory, daughter of George Drury of that Ilk, his lands of Strathor 19 October 1495, and predeceasing his father died in 1509, leaving a son Andrew who succeeded his grandfather.

17. Andrew Balfour of Munquhanny, being a child at the death of his father, the Casualty of his marriage was given by James IV to Patrick Mersar and Isabel, Lady Aldie, his spouse 29 January 1509 - 10. As he was still minor at the death of his grandfather his wardship was given by the Regent to Janet daughter of Sir David Stewart of Rosyth and widow of Sir Alexander Bruce of Earlshall 27 May 1517. He married Janet Bruce, daughter of his guardian and settled upon her his lands of Strathor 3 September 1530. After an active life of political and warlike exertion and risk, he died circa 1583 - 4 leaving a large family of whom

                                                               I.      Michael, the eldest, predeceased him, but left issue

                                                             II.      Sir Gilbert Balfour of Westray, Master of Queen Mary's Household, Sheriff of Orkney, married and had issue

                                                            III.      Sir James Balfour of Pittendriech, Abbot of Pittenweem, Lord President

                                                         IV.      David Balfour of Balbathy and New Grange

                                                           V.      George Balfour, Prior of Charterhouse

                                                         VI.      Robert Balfour, Provost of Kirk o' Field

                                                        VII.      John

18. Michael Balfour received from his father (reserving his own liferent of the Castle and the terce of his wife Janet Bruce) the Barony of Munquhanny 28 January 1540 on his marriage with Janet Boswell, daughter of David Boswell of Balmuto by whom he left a son Michael, the heir of his grandfather. He died circa 1560 - 61.

19. Sir Michael Balfour of Munquhanny and Westray settled upon Mariota Adamson his wife, half of the lands of Munquhanny reserving the liferent of the Castle to his grandfather and a reasonable terce to the widow of his father 10 May 1562. He acquired the Estate of Westray in Orkney from his cousin Archibald Balfour of Westray 1 January 1588 and added largely by purchases from the Earls of Orkney to his property there. He thereafter resided mostly at Noltland Castle in that County. He served himself heir to his grandfather 6 December 1592 and died 1603 leaving two sons and was succeeded by the elder

                                                               I.      Sir Andrew Balfour, during his father's life "of Strathor" afterwards "of Munquhanny" to whom on his marriage with Mary, daughter of Sir James Melville of Halhill, his father, with consent of his mother, gave the Tenandry of Westray 12 November 1590. He was knighted at the baptism of Prince Henry 30 August 1594. Being compelled by his creditors to part with the whole of his ancient patrimony of Munquhanny and Strathor he died 1615, without issue and was succeeded by his brother

                                                             II.      Michael Balfour of Garth who carried on the line of the family

20. Michael Balfour of Garth acquired the lands of the Lordship of Zetland from his father 17 October 1589 and with his brother's consent those of Garth and Skelwick on his marriage to Margaret, daughter of Malcolm Sinclair of Quendale, Archdean of Zetland 6 July 1593. From his brother, he received the island of Pharay 22 June 1610, and on that gentleman's death succeeding to the wreck of the Orkney estate received 1 November 1615, a Renunciation of the Castle of Noltland from Edward Scollay of Strynie who had held it under his brother. He left by his wife a large family and was succeeded by his eldest son.

21. Patrick Balfour of Pharay to whom his father with consent of his mother gave the lands of Garth on his marriage with Barbara daughter of Francis Moodie of Breckness and Melsetter 12 November 1623, those of the island of Pharay 7 April 1625, and the Castle of Noltland 31 August 1637. By his wife Barbara he had a large family of whom

22. George Balfour of Pharay, his eldest son, received from him the lands of Garth, Pharay etc. on his marriage with Marjory, daughter of James Baikie of Tankerness 26 August 1657. By this lady he had several daughters and two sons

                                                                 I.    Patrick Balfour, younger of Pharay, who predeceased him without issue

                                                               II.    William Balfour who served himself heir to his deceased brother 6 May 1690 and left an only daughter Isabella who married Archibald Stewart of Brugh and conveyed the lands of Garth, Pharay etc. to her son James Stewart of Brugh 19 February 1761. After the death of Marjory Baikie, George Balfour married secondly Mary McKenzie, daughter of Murdoch, Bishop of Orkney on whom he settled a part of his lands which became the inheritance of their eldest son.

23. John Balfour of Trenabie who settled on his wife Elizabeth (daughter of Thomas Traill, son of Colonel Thomas Traill of Holland) his lands of Trenaby 19 July 1722 and died 3 January 1741, leaving issue a daughter and five sons of whom the eldest

24. William Balfour of Trenabie, served heir to his father 31 March 1741 and to his grandfather 14 September 1778. He married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Thomas Covingtrie of Newark and died 1786, leaving issue four daughters and three sons of whom

                                                               I.      John Balfour of Trenabie succeeded both his father and mother, was for many years MP for the County of Orkney and dying 15 October 1842 without issue by his wife Harriet (Henrietta) Sullivan was succeeded by his nephew William Balfour, now of Trenabie, only surviving son of

25. Colonel Thomas Balfour of Elwick, second son of William Balfour of Trenabie, who married Frances, only sister of Edward, 2nd Earl Ligonier and died 1799, leaving issue two sons and a daughter, and was succeeded by his only surviving son

26. Captain William Balfour Royal Navy of Elwick and now of Trenabie, heir male of the Family of Balfour and Chief of that Name.