This interesting topographical name is of Olde English pre 10th century origin and derives from 'Balca', which translates as the ridge or possibly a bridge formed with tree trunks. The name can also be locational and derive from the village of Balk, near to Thirsk in North Yorkshire, the meaning being the same. In the modern idiom, the spellings are recorded as Balk, Balke, and Baulk and it is possible that some derive from the Dutch-Flemish 'Balk', heraldically recorded before 1680, the Coat of Arms being blue, charged with a gold fesse between a knights spur and two acorns. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Balch. which was dated 1273 in the Pipe Rolls of Somerset during the reign of King Edward 1, known as the Hammer of the Scots 1272-1307. 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.