James Elphinstone

(1st Lord Balmerino or Balmerinoch)

1557 - 1612

Politician. Born the third son of Robert, 3rd Lord Elphinstone (d. 1602), Elphinstone became a judge and Secretary to King James VI (1566 - 1625). He accompanied his king to London in 1603 when James inherited the English throne. Elphinstone was appointed President of the Court of Session in 1605 and was created Lord Balmerino (or Balmerinoch) the following year. However, his enthusiasm for the Roman Catholic religion brought about his downfall. He had previously been accused of writing to Pope Clement VIII on the James' behalf and when the matter was re-investigated in 1608 Elphinstone admitted his involvement and was duly tried. A sentence of death was imposed the following year but, after a brief period of imprisonment, he was released and died at Balmerino.

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