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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Rev. Zachary Boyd's Writings and Bequests


ZACHARY Boyd, minister of the Barony Parish Church, is said to have been of the family of Boyd of Pinkhill, and was born in Ayrshire about the year 1590. He is believed to have been a cousin of Boyd of Trochrig, a former principal of the University, and consequently a nephew of Archbishop Boyd, the first of the Protestant prelates of Glasgow, and he would also have family connections with the noble houses of Boyd and Cassius. His education was commenced at the University of Glasgow in 1605; and after finishing his course there, he went to Saumur, in France, where he studied under his cousin, who was at that time Professor of Divinity in the college there.

Zachary returned to Scotland in 1621, and was two years afterwards appointed minister of the Barony Parish of Glasgow. At first when the Covenanting struggle began in the country, Boyd was Royalist in his tendencies, addressing Charles I. in loyal terms when His Majesty visited Glasgow in 1633, and showing a reluctance to sign the Covenant in 1638. He became, however, a convert to the more advanced state of things. Like many of the Scottish Presbyterians, Boyd was averse to the ascendancy of the Independents after the execution of Charles I.; and he railed at Cromwell and his officers, to their faces, from the pulpit of the Cathedral, on the occasion of the Lord Generalís first visit to Glasgow in 1650. Cromwell, however, succeeded in so far winning him over.

Zachary was twice married, his second wife, who survived him, being Margaret Mure, third daughter of William Mure of Glanderston, near Neilston. By neither wife had he any family. There is a traditional anecdote, that: when he was dictating his last will, his wife made the modest request that he would bequeath something to the Rev. Mr. Durham, minister of the Cathedral High Kirk.

To his wifeís request Zachary answered sarcastically:

"Na, na, Margaret, Iíll leaí him what I canna keep frae him ; Iíll leaí him thy bonnie sel'."

Boyd died in the spring of 1653. He had just completed an extensive MS. work entitled The Notable Places of Scripture Expounded, at the end of which he adds, in a tremulous and indistinct handwriting, "Here the author was near his end, and was able to do no more, March 3, 1653."

He was Rector of the University, 1634-5 and Ď45. Zachary Boyd was a voluminous writer both in prose and verse. As a poet he does not rank high, though he has occasional passages of considerable merit; but his quaint Scriptural effusions have been frequently parodied and burlesqued. As a writer of prose he has greater merit, and may stand a comparison with any of his countrymen of the same age, and it has been said that his prose is more poetical than his verse.

He divided his estate, which amounted to £4,527, between his relict and the College of Glasgow. About £20,000 Scots (£1,666 13s. 4d. sterling) was realised by the College, besides his library and MS. compositions. As he seemed to anticipate, his relict became the wife of the Rev. James Durham of the Cathedral High Kirk.


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