This famous surname is Scottish. Recorded in many forms as shown below it is locational, either from an estate formerly known as The lands of Bellenden, in the ancient county of Roxburghshire, or from the village of Ballintoun, in the county of Stirlingshire. It is said that both places originate from the Old Gaelic phrase "baile an deadhain" translating as "The farmstead of the dean". It is unclear when the surname was first recorded in Scotland, but John Ballenden, also recorded as John Ballentyne and John Ballantyne was the archdeacon of Moray in circa 1450, whilst Sir Alexander Balendin, was the provost of Methven in 1563. Other early recordings include David Bellenden, given as being a cordiner or leather maker of Maybole, appears in the register of the Privy Council of Scotland in 1630, and another David, this time spelt Ballenden, appears in the commissariot record of Stirling, dated 1642. In the modern idiom it is said that the surname has six spelling variations:- Balentyne, Ballantine, Ballantyne, Ballintine, Ballentyne, and Ballendine, but there may well be more. James Ballantine (1808 - 1877) was an artist and author who executed stained glass windows for the House of Lords and published poetical works. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sir Alexander Balindin, chaplin in Methven, which was dated 1563 in "The provostry of Methven", by T. Morris, during the reign of Queen Mary, known as "Mary Queen of Scots, 1542 - 1567. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.