Anecdotage of Glasgow
Rev. Zachary Boyd's Writings and
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 Generals 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 wifes request Zachary answered sarcastically:
"Na, na, Margaret, Ill lea him what I canna keep frae
him ; Ill lea 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 45.
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
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