BALCH, Robert (c.1651-1705), of Bridgwater, Som.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. c.1651, s. of Thomas Balch of Dulverton, Som. educ. St. Alban Hall, Oxf. matric. 3 June 1668, aged 16. m. 26 Dec. 1678, Elizabeth Everard, 1s. 1da.1
Mayor, Bridgwater 1688–9, 1691–2.2
Balch set up as a merchant in Bridgwater, becoming a prominent member of the corporation. An active Presbyterian, he was a trustee of Brent’s charity, established in the town to provide for the education of Dissenting ministers, and was closely involved in the life of the town meeting-house. Entering Parliament for Bridgwater following a closely contested by-election in February 1692, he was at first classed as ‘doubtful’, but was later categorized as a Court supporter. A largely inactive Member, his only contribution of note to proceedings was a speech on 10 Feb. 1693 in favour of adding Bridgwater to the list of ports legally able to import wool from Ireland. This undistinguished record was probably due, at least in part, to poor health. He was granted leave of absence on medical grounds twice in his second session, on 21 Jan. and on 15 Feb. 1693, and again on 29 Jan. 1694 and 12 Jan. 1695. He stood down at the 1695 election. The date of his death is not known, but his will was proved on 2 Nov. 1705. He was succeeded by his son, George*.3