Balscot, Alexander of (c.1335–1400), bishop of Ossory, bishop of Meath, and treasurer, chancellor, and justiciar of Ireland, was born in Oxfordshire and first appears in the records when he was presented to the vicarage of Dungarvan in 1359. He was a prebend in the diocese of Ossory by February 1371, when he was provided to that diocese. He had apparently campaigned vigorously for his new position, because he was pardoned in May 1371 for taking large sums of money out of Ireland and going to Rome without licence. He was appointed treasurer of Ireland in August 1377 but the appointment was ineffective, as was his appointment as chancellor in the same year.
He developed a close relationship with Edmund Mortimer (qv), earl of March, acting as his attorney in Ireland from 1374, and served as justiciar (October–December 1379) before March's arrival as lieutenant. Alexander was reappointed treasurer at about this time, serving till sometime before March 1385. He was present at the meeting in Cork in January 1382 to choose a new justiciar after March's death, and was invited to become justiciar again, but refused the position, claiming poor health. He was appointed chancellor of Ireland on 8 March 1385, and served as chancellor for Robert de Vere, earl of Oxford. He was in England in January 1386 and returned to Ireland with the new justiciar, John Stanley (qv).
While in England, Alexander was transferred to the diocese of Meath (March 1386), probably to allow him to be closer to Dublin. He served as justiciar after Stanley's departure from November 1387 till Stanley's return as lieutenant in the autumn of 1389. He was chastised for not removing all of Oxford's insignia from Irish records in April 1388, and shortly thereafter was removed from the office of chancellor. Alexander faced complaints about his conduct before the English council in May 1388, but answered these complaints and returned to Ireland. He was reappointed as chancellor in August 1389, serving till October 1391 when he was again appointed justiciar, and held this post till the arrival of the new chief governor, James Butler (qv), 3rd earl of Ormond (October 1392).
While justiciar, Alexander concentrated on the defence of the region around Dublin and followed a policy of buying off threats from the Gaelic lords whenever possible. He renewed his connection with the Mortimer family, acting as the guardian in Ireland for Roger Mortimer (qv), 4th earl of March, in 1393. Alexander was in England in July 1394 and probably returned to Ireland with Richard II (qv) later that year. He was reappointed chancellor in June 1395, and supervised a series of changes within the government that acted to enhance the chancellor's powers.
Despite his own English background, Alexander supported the Anglo-Irish magnates in their policies, and attempted to block the appointment of Englishmen to official positions in Dublin. He was sent to England in the spring of 1396 to petition the king for more support for Ireland, but without success. There was an unsuccessful attempt to remove him from office; he did eventually resign, only to be reappointed chancellor by the Lancastrian king, Henry IV (Oct. 1399). He also served the new regime as justiciar (January–March 1400) till the return of John Stanley as lieutenant, and continued to serve as chancellor till his death on 10 September 1400.