About Ian Balfour

Balfour + Manson a history

Ian Balfour Historian, Author, Lawyer, Theologian
Ian Balfour

Ian Balfour was born in Edinburgh in 1932 and brought up there. His grandfather and his grandfather’s nephew had founded the legal firm of Balfour & Manson and Ian’s father, Francis, was a partner from 1922. Ian was apprenticed to the firm in 1952, qualified as a solicitor in 1955, became a partner in 1958 and married a Home Economics teacher that year.

The next forty years were spent happily in general legal practice; he retired as Senior Partner but remains a Consultant. He has written a history of the firm, now known as Balfour + Manson, and this may be downloaded below:

The first 125 years, As recalled by Ian Balfour

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Although law was his main occupation, this website mainly lists the other aspects of his life.


War Diary 1940 – 1944

When it seemed, in the summer of 1940, that Britain might be invaded by German forces, a cousin in Hamilton, Ontario, pressed the family to be his guests for the duration of the war.  After initial reluctance, Ian’s mother accepted the invitation and in August 1940 took Ian and his brother William to Hamilton, returning to Edinburgh in August 1944. Francis Balfour stayed in Edinburgh and the diary which he wrote during these years is available to download below. Please allow a couple of minutes for download as these are large documents.

Gas masks demonstrated for babies in Edinburgh circa 1940

Part 1: 1939-1940

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Part 2: 1941-1942

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Part 3: 1943-1944

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Tertullian – Second century Christianity in Carthage (thesis)

During his student days, Ian developed an interest in Church History, and embarked in 1971 on a Doctorate of Philosophy as a part-time post-graduate student at New College, Edinburgh. The thesis was on The Relationship of Man to God in the writings of Tertullian – a second century lawyer who was converted in his thirties and who gave the remainder of his life to teaching in the Church in Carthage. The Ph.D. degree was awarded in 1980.

Tertullian: The relationship of man to God [thesis]

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Terullian – Oxford papers

Ian’s interest in Tertullian continued and he has given Papers at the International Conference on Patristic Studies, held in Oxford every four years. They have published all his Papers – the first from the 1975 Conference (‘The fate of the soul in induced abortion in the writings of Tertullian’) and the last from the 2015 Conference (‘Tertullian and Roman Law – What Do We (Not) Know?’).

They are available for download, below.

Ian’s 2015 Paper gave him particular pleasure, for two reasons. First, it combined his interest in Tertullian with another long-term interest, Roman Law, from which much of early Scots Law was derived; it was a compulsory subject for Scottish Law students when he was at university – see, on this website, ‘Law – Exam papers – 1953 – Civil Law, I and II’.

Secondly, it happened that Marcus Vinzent, the editor of Studia Patrictica, the publishers of the Conference Papers, was in the audience when Ian gave his Paper. Participants are invited to lodge their Papers with the Conference Office at the end of the week, but Marcus Vinzent asked Ian for an advance copy and sent an email, a short time later, to say that it was the first Paper to be approved for publication.

With advancing years, Ian will not manage to give any more Oxford Conferences. He is, however, working at home on an updated Bibliography of published works which have Tertullian’s name in their title – an expansion of the third download here, ‘Tertullian on and off the Internet’.


Fate of the soul in induced abortionUniversity of Oxford logo

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Tertullian’s beliefs before conversion

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Tertullian on and off the internet
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Tertullian’s description of the heathen
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Tertullian and Roman Law – What Do We (Not) Know?
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The full Oxford paper “Tertullian_and_Roman_Law_Full_Paper.pdf” now available for download
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200 years of Charlotte Chapel

Revival in Rose Street, by Ian Balfour

In 2008, Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Edinburgh celebrated its two hundredth anniversary.  Ian, who had been an elder there since 1965 and Church Secretary from 1980 to 2000, wrote a history and also put a lot of additional information onto a CD which went with the book. For a download with the text of the Charlotte Chapel History without the photographs but with footnotes click here.
Copies of the printed book, with the CD, are available at £5 plus postage:

email: i_balfour@msn.com

Revival in Rose Street

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Additional material for download:

index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | V | W | Y

To see the “Charlotte Chapel History in 10-minutes” film click here.

For the appendix photo-galleries click here.



Church History – 36 Illustrated Lectures

These lectures outline events and personalities, mainly but not exclusively in the Western Church, from its beginning on the Day of Pentecost, as described in Acts chapter 2, to the present day. Many Colleges select two or three areas from the History of the Church and direct students to a detailed study of (only) these areas. This is a valuable discipline, teaching them how to undertake research, but these students may finish their course with no knowledge about key people and events outside the chosen areas.

Click here to see a list of PDFs


Tertullian – translated works: Volume One


As he read various scholarly works for the Ph.D. thesis, if Ian had time and inclination he dictated, in English, some of the German and French works to his secretary in the office, who typed them on interleaved pages and often improved the English as she did so. Here are the resulting translated documents.

Click to download:

Bender, Wolfgang: Die Lehre über den Heiligen Geist bei Tertullian (1961)
Chartier, P.Clément: L’excommunication ecclèsiastique d’apres les écrites de Tertullien (1935)
Danielou, Jean: La Catéchèse aux Premier Siècles (1968)
Fütscher, Lorenz: Die naturliche Gotteserkentnis bei Tertullian (1927)
Geest, van der, J. E. L.: Le Christ et L’ancien Testament chez Tertullien (1972)
Guilloux, P.: L Evolution Religieuse De Tertullien (1923)
Refoule, R. F. : Tertullien, Traite De La Prescription Contre Les Heretiques (1957)
Refoulé, R.F.: Traite du Bapteme (1952)
Schlossman, Seigmund: Tertullian Im Lichte Der Jurisprudenz (1906)
Schneider, Andre: Le Premiere Livre Ad Nationes De Tertullien (1968)
Wolfl, Karl: Das Heilswirken Gottes Durch Den Sohn Nach Tertullian (1966)

See also Volume Two.






Tertullian – translated works: Volume Two

As he read various scholarly works for the Ph.D. thesis, if Ian had time and inclination he dictated, in English, some of the German and French works to his secretary in the office, who typed them on interleaved pages and often improved the English as she did so. Here are more of the resulting translated documents.

Click to download:

Cavallera,Ferdinand: La Doctrine de la Pénitence (1930)
Durig, Walter: Disciplina Eine Studie zumBedeutingsumfag (1952)
Galtier, Paul: Comment on écarte la pénitence privée (1940)
Galtier,Paul: La Rémission de Péchés Moindres (1923)
Labriolle,Pierre de: Tertullien Jurisconsulte (1906)
Maistre, A.P: Aspects Théologiques D’un Terme De Droit Chez Tertullien (1967)
Mehat, A-Pénitence Secondé et ‘Péché Involontairé (1954)
Montpellier, E.D-Paganus, Mithra et Tertullien (1959)
Morel, Valentin-Disciplina Le mot et L’idée Représentée (1944-45)
Morel,Valentin-Le Développement de la ‘Disciplina’ (1939)
Pauw,Frans De-La Justification des Traditions (1942)
Riviére,Jean-Tertullien et les Droits du Démon (1926)
Tanghe,D.A.-L’Eucharistie pour la rémission des péchés (1961)
Teeuwen,St.W.J-De Voce ‘Paenitentia’ Apud Tertullianum(1927)



The Lands of the Book – 1953

Ian Balfour’s twenty-first birthday present was a rail ticket on 11 March 1953 from Edinburgh to the border of Syria, an airline ticket from Tel Aviv to Athens and Rome on 7 April and then rail back to Edinburgh, with some spending money but no fixed itinerary for the fortnight between the Syrian border and Tel Aviv. So many people asked about the experience that he wrote it up in the form of a diary. One of his friends returned the book with the illustrated cover and the phrase ‘The Lands of the Book’ on it.

Part 1: Edinburgh – IstanbulDome of the Rock

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Part 2: Smyrna – Jerusalem
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Part 3: Bethany – Calvary

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Part 4: Damascus Gate – Corinth

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Part 5: Greece – Edinburgh

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The Good Samaritan by Jan Wijnants

The Peril of Taking a Lawyer’s Advice

In one of Shakespeare’s plays, Dick the Butcher and Smith the Weaver are planning how to make the world a better place. “The first thing we do”, says Dick, “let’s kill all the lawyers”. This is taken up enthusiastically by the others, and they make a start by hanging the Town Clerk of Latham.
For the Baptist Union of Scotland 1976 Presidential Address, Ian Balfour expressed his own concern about four lawyers found in the New Testament, whose attitudes have had influence in our Churches. He goes further, warning the reader against taking their advice.
The Peril of Taking a Lawyer’s Advice

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40 church buildings in and around Edinburgh

Ian was involved when the Chapels Society (www.chapelssociety.org.uk) visited Edinburgh in May 2015.
church_tour_edinburgh_40The members were primarily interested in the ‘architecture and historical importance’ of church buildings, and arranged two walking tours and one self-guided tour. The notes they provided, edited here by Ian, give an excellent overview of the profusion and variety of church buildings in the area.

Click the button for the full list:

40 Church Buildings



Common Grace and Saving Grace

Greek scholar Archimedes

At one point during my student days, I began to wonder why some of my good-natured and talented friends, who were antagonistic to the Christian faith, were easier to get along with than some of my Christian friends. My ‘Eureka moment’ came through reading a book which explained the difference between Common Grace and Saving Grace. I found it so helpful that when I was asked to speak at meetings, and to choose the subject, I often suggested ‘Common Grace’. As people have been kind enough to say, over the years, that they find the distinction helpful, and as I am no longer able to speak at meetings, here are the notes I used for these talks.

..Click HERE to read on





Taxation of Judicial Accounts

If a litigant is awarded ‘expenses’ against another litigant in a Court case (called ‘costs’ in England), the successful litigant’s solicitor makes up a Judicial Account of Expenses, itemizing the work done, and tries to agree it with the paying litigant’s solicitor. If they cannot agree, the Court remits the Account to an Auditor, who listens to both parties at an oral hearing (‘a diet of taxation’) and advises the Court on how much should be paid. For ease of reference, the following talk assumes that the Pursuer has been awarded expenses against the Defender.

The Society of Sheriff Court Auditors has, for many years, guided its members on how to ‘tax’ Accounts and, if asked by a litigant’s solicitor, has offered advice on the preparation and taxation of Accounts. Proposals by the Scottish Government, well advanced at the date of this note (June 2018), altering the way in which Auditors function, will end my own involvement. Some of those to whom I have given talks, over recent years, have asked me to make publicly available the material I used for these talks.

A typical talk covered twenty areas, and was directed equally to those who prepared accounts and to those who opposed them:

  1. Introduction
  2. Scrutinize the Interlocutors
  3. Update your Table of Fees
  4. Preparing an Account
  5. Travel to Court
  6. Check the Vat position
  7. Lodging an Account
  8. Intimating a diet
  9. Cancelling a diet
  10. Preparing for a diet
  11. Tenders
  12. Attending a diet
  13. Skilled persons
  14. Counsel and Solicitor-Advocates
  15. Party Litigants
  16. Reasonable expenses
  17. After a diet
  18. Clients with fee-exemption
  19. Note of Objections
  20. Powder and shot
Download notes for the talk below

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Exam papers – school and university, 1949-55

Owl illustration by David Hamburgh

In the 1950s, the usual route for pupils at Edinburgh Academy who aspired to qualify as solicitors in Scotland, was to sit the Oxford and Cambridge Schools Examination Board School Certificate at age 16/17 and then to sit the Scottish Higher Leaving Certificate at age 17/18, in order to gain qualification for entrance to the University of Edinburgh for the combined degrees of Master of Arts and Bachelor of Laws. The first two years of the university course were full-time study, then students were simultaneously indentured to a firm of Edinburgh solicitors for the next three years. This involved attending university classes from 9 am until 10 or 11 am during term-time, working in the office until 4 pm or 5 pm, and then attending one or two further university classes. After three years, students graduated Master of Arts; after a further two years, they graduated Bachelor of Laws. Further details are available on this website under ‘Balfour+Manson history’ at pages 45-46. The following are the exam papers which Ian sat from 1949 to 1955. Looking at them, now he realizes how much he has forgotten over the intervening years – he certainly could not pass these papers now. The results for the Oxford and Cambridge Certificate are briefly noted at ‘1949, English Composition’, page 2.

..Click HERE to see list of PDFs