The Torn Bible of the Covenanter and Assassin Balfour at RUSI #History #Scotland

Bible John Bafour of Kinloch

‘253.–Bible which belonged to John Balfour of Kinloch, “The Covenanter,” who, with others, took up arms against the [allegedly] intolerant Government of Charles II.; he fought at Drumclog, where, on [correction] 1 June, 1679, the “Covenanters” defeated [John] Graham of Claverhouse.
The first part of this Bible was torn out by Balfour to make wads for his musket.’ (Official Catalogue of the Royal United Services Museum (1914), 31.)

It is a nice story, that the Covenanter John Balfour of Kinloch tore pages from his bible to ‘make wads for his musket’. However, the assassin of Archbishop Sharp in 1679 probably tore the first pages out of his bible to remove what he saw as the “offensive” dedication of God’s word to King James VI.


For example, Christopher Miller did the same thing and the Sweet Singers are said to have torn and burned the bible, or at least parts of it written by man.

It would be interesting to know where Balfour’s bible is now, as RUSI is in a process of handing over its wonderful collection of historical objects to other institutions. The National Museum of Scotland would be an ideal home for Balfour’s intriguing bible.

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Text © Copyright  @drmarkjardine

~ by drmarkjardine on June 21, 2018.

One Response to “The Torn Bible of the Covenanter and Assassin Balfour at RUSI #History #Scotland”

  1. […] The fragmentary evidence suggests that the removal James VI’s name from the Bible was a practice which both the extreme “right-hand” wing of the Cameronian movement and the Sweet Singers shared in 1681.John Balfour of Kinloch may have committed the same act. […]

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