Baliol, the name of a family which played an important part in the history of Scotland. The founder of the family in England was a Norman baron, Guy or Guido de Baliol, who held the fiefs of Bailleul, Dampierre, Harcourt and Vinoy in Normandy. Coming to England with William the Conqueror, he received lands in the north of England from William II., and his son, or grandson, Bernard or Barnard de Baliol, built a fortress in Durham called Castle Barnard, around which the town of Barnard Castle grew. The first burgesses probably obtained their privileges from him. Bernard fought for King Stephen during the civil war, was present at the battle of the Standard in August 1138, and was taken prisoner at the battle of Lincoln in February 1141. The date of his death is uncertain. Dugdale only believes in the existence of one Bernard de Baliol, but it seems more probable that the Bernard de Baliol referred to after 1167 was a son of the elder Bernard, and not the same individual. If so the younger Bernard was one of the northern barons who raised the siege of Alnwick, and took William the Lion, king of Scotland, prisoner in July 1174. He also confirmed the privileges granted by his father to the burgesses of Barnard Castle, and was succeeded by his son Eustace. Practically nothing is known of Eustace, or of his son Hugh who succeeded about 1215. Hugh's son and successor, John de Baliol, who increased his wealth and position by a marriage with Dervorguila (d. 1290), daughter of Alan, earl of Galloway, is said to have possessed thirty knights' fees in England and one half of the lands in Galloway. He was one of the regents of Scotland during the minority of Alexander III., but in 1255 was deprived of this office and his lands forfeited for treason.
He then appeared in England fighting for Henry III. against Simon de Montfort, and was taken prisoner at the battle of Lewes in 1264. About 1263 he established several scholarships at Oxford, and after his death in 1269 his widow founded the college which bears the name of the family. He left four sons, three of whom died without issue, and in 1278 his lands came to his son, John de Baliol (q.v.), who was king of Scotland from 1292 to 1296, and who died in Normandy in 1315. John's eldest son by his marriage with Isabel, daughter of John de Warenne, earl of Surrey, was Edward de Baliol who shared his father's captivity in England in 1296. Subsequently crossing over to France, he appears to have lived mainly on his lands in Normandy until 1324, when he was invited to England by King Edward II., who hoped to bring him forward as a candidate for the Scottish crown. A favourable opportunity, however, did not arise until after the death of King Robert the Bruce in 1329, when Edward III. had succeeded his father on the English throne.
Although Edward did not give Baliol any active assistance, the claimant placed himself at the head of some disinherited Scottish nobles, raised a small army and sailed from Ravenspur. Landing at Kinghorn in Fifeshire in August 1332, he gained a complete victory over the Scots under Donald, earl of Mar, at Dupplin Moor, took Perth, and on the 24th of September was crowned king of Scotland at Scone. He then acknowledged Edward III. as his superior, but soon afterwards was defeated at Annan (where his brother, Henry de Baliol, was slain) and compelled to fly to England. Regaining his kingdom after the defeat of the Scots at Halidon Hill in July 1333, Baliol surrendered the whole of the district formerly known as Lothian to Edward, and did homage for Scotland to the English king. His party, however, was weakened by disunion, and he won no serious support in Scotland. Entirely dependent on Edward, he again sought refuge in England, and took a very slight part in the war waged on his behalf. He returned to Scotland after the defeat of King David II. at Neville's Cross in 1346. After making an absolute surrender of Scotland to Edward III. in 1356 at Roxburgh in return for a pension, Edward de Baliol died at Wheatley near Doncaster in 1367.
A cadet branch of the Baliol family was descended from Ingelram, or Engelram, a son of the younger Bernard de Baliol. Ingelram's wife was the daughter and heiress of William de Berkeley, lord of Reidcastle in Forfarshire, and chamberlain of Scotland, and by her he had a son Henry, who became chamberlain about 1223. Henry married Lora or Lauretta, a daughter of Philip de Valoines (Valsques), lord of Panmure, and in 1234 inherited part of the rich English fiefs of the Valoines family. He sided with the English barons against John in 1215, and accompanied Henry III. to France in 1242. He died in 1246. It is probable but not certain that Henry's son was Alexander de Baliol, lord of Cavers in Teviotdale, and chamberlain of Scotland. Alexander took a leading part in Scottish affairs during the latter part of the 13th century, and is first mentioned as chamberlain in 1287. He shared in the negotiations between the Scottish nobles and Edward I. of England which culminated in the treaty of Salisbury in 1289, and the treaty of Brigham in 1290. Probably deprived of his office as chamberlain about 1296 he may have shared the imprisonment of his kinsman, John de Baliol the king. He then fought in Scotland for Edward, and was summoned to several English parliaments.
His wife was Isabella de Chilham, through whom he obtained lands in Kent. He died about 1309, leaving a son, Alexander, whose son, Thomas, sold the estate of Cavers to William, earl of Douglas, in 1368. Thomas is the last of the Baliols mentioned in the Scottish records.
A late and dubious tradition asserts that the family name became so discredited owing to the pusillanimous conduct of John and Edward Baliol that it was abandoned by its owners in favour of the form Baillie.
See John of Fordun, Chronica gentis Scotorum, edited by W. F. Skene (Edinburgh, 1871-1872); Andrew of Wyntoun, The Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland, edited by David Laing (Edinburgh, 1872-1879); Gesta Edwardi de Carnarvan, by a canon of Bridlington, edited by W. Stubbs (London, 1883); W. Dugdale, The Baronage of England (London, 1675-1676); R. Surtees, The History of Durham (London, 1816-1840); Documents and Records illustrating the History of Scotland, edited by F. T. Palgrave (London, 1837); Documents illustrative of the History of Scotland (1286-1306), edited by J. Stevenson (Edinburgh, 1870); Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland, edited by J. Bain (Edinburgh, 1881-1888).