– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.

Q&A – founders and Bailleul

Q:  Is there any connection between Balliol and Baileul in Belgium?

A: Not exactly; there are a number of Bailleuls on either side of the French-Belgian border. It’s a generic toponym meaning ‘enclosed/fenced place’ (cf Irish & Scottish prefixes Bal/Balla, similar to English –ay/ey, -garth, -ton, -worth etc) and the various ancient Bailleul place names probably predate personal/family connections. The college founders’ direct connection is with Bailleul-en-Vimeu, on the French side, 150km from Bailleul-Estaimpuis in Belgium. I’d recommend Amanda Beam’s book The Balliol Dynasty as good modern scholarship about the family.

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