BALCH, George (d. 1738), of Bridgwater, Som.
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Family and Education
1st s. of Robert Balch*. m. 10 Dec. 1707, Hanna Ludlow (d. c.1730), 3s. d.v.p. 1da. suc. fa. 1705.1
Mayor, Bridgwater 1699–1700, 1708–9, ald. 1709–11.2
Like his father, Balch was in business as a ‘merchant’ and was a prominent member of Bridgwater’s corporation. He was also an active member of the town’s Dissenting community and a trustee of the Presbyterian Christ Church Chapel. Returned to Parliament in February 1701, he continued to represent the borough until 1710. On 13 Feb. 1703 he voted for agreeing with the Whig Lords’ amendments to the bill extending the period in which the oath of abjuration was to be taken, while in October 1704 he was predicted as a likely opponent of the Tack and did not vote for it (or was absent) in the division of 28 Nov. He was otherwise wholly inactive and was regularly granted leave of absence for unspecified periods of time: 28 May 1701, 10 Apr. 1702, 7 Jan. 1703, and 8 Jan. 1704. Classed as ‘Low Church’ in 1705, he voted for the Court candidate for Speaker on 25 Oct., and was granted leave on 12 Jan. 1706, several of his family having fallen ill. Early in 1708 he was noted as a Whig. In 1709 he voted in favour of naturalizing the Palatines, and in 1710 in favour of the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell, obtaining three weeks’ leave on 16 Mar. Despite his long association with Bridgwater, his interest was not sufficient to withstand the Tory attack levelled at him in the 1710 election. After that, his position appears to have gone into decline. He lost his place on the Somerset bench, and it is probable that he joined in the series of resignations from the corporation in the spring of 1712: he was certainly no longer a member of it in 1715. He died in 1738, and in his will, proved on 20 Jan. 1739, left the bulk of his property to his grandson, Robert Balch.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Paula Watson
- 1. F. Brown, Som. Wills, v. 18; IGI, London; PCC 165 Gee, 3 Henchman.
- 2. A. H. Powell, Ancient Borough of Bridgwater, 288, 300; S. G. Jarmon, Bridgwater, 271; info. from Dr J. M. Triffitt.
- 3. Info. from Dr Triffitt; Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 58(6), p. 215; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 207; PCC 3 Henchman.