Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Boyd, Archibald

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BOYD, ARCHIBALD (1803–1883), dean of Exeter, son of Archibald Boyd, treasurer of Derry, was born at Londonderry in 1803, and, after being educated at the diocesan college in that city, proceeded to Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated B.A. 1823, proceeded M.A. 1834, and B.D. and D.D. long after, in 1868. He officiated as curate and preacher in the cathedral of Derry 1827-42, and here he first distinguished himself as an able and powerful preacher, as a controversialist, and as an author. At that time the controversy between the presbyterians and the episcopalians of the north of Ireland was at its height. Boyd came to the defence of the church and preached a series of discourses in reply to attacks. These discourses attracted great attention, and were afterwards printed. In 1842 he was appointed perpetual curate of Christ Church, Cheltenham. With Francis Close, his fellow-worker here, he joined in a scheme for establishing additional Sunday schools, infant schools, and bible classes. For eight years after 1859 he was entrusted with the care of Paddington. On 11 Nov. 1867 he accepted the deanery of Exeter, and resigned, with his vicarage, an honorary canonry in Gloucester Cathedral, which he had held since 1857. Like Dean Close, he was a preaching and a working dean. He was a firm but moderate evangelical, and was a voluminous writer on the ecclesiastical questions of the day. His name is connected with the well-known Exeter reredos case. The dean and chapter erected in the cathedral, 1872-3, a stone reredos, on which were sculptured representations in bas-relief of the Ascension, the Transfiguration, and the Descent of the Holy Ghost, with some figures of angels. In accordance with a petition presented by William John Phillpotts, chancellor of the diocese, the bishop (Dr. Temple) on 7 Jan. 1874 declared the reredos to be contrary to law and ordered its removal. After much litigation touching the bishop's jurisdiction in the matter, the structure was declared not illegal by the judicial committee of the privy council on 25 Feb. 1875 (Law Reports, Bulwer's Admiralty and Ecclesiastical Reports, iv. 297-379 (1875); Cowell's Privy Council Appeals, vi. 435-67 (1875).

Whilst on the continent during the autumn of 1882 Dean Boyd met with an accident at Vienna, from the effects of which he never fully recovered. He died at the deanery, Exeter, on 11 July 1883, bequeathing nearly 40,000l. to various societies and institutions in the diocese of Exeter. He married Frances, daughter of Thomas Waller of Ospringe, and widow of the Rev. Robert Day Denny. She died on 6 Jan. 1877.

Boyd was the author of the following works:

  1. 'Sermons on the Church, or the Episcopacy, Liturgy, and Ceremonies of the Church of England,' 1838.
  2. 'Episcopacy, Ordination, Lay-eldership, and Liturgies,' 1839.
  3. 'Episcopacy and Presbytery,' 1841.
  4. 'England, Rome, and Oxford compared as to certain Doctrines,' 1846.
  5. 'The History of the Book of Common Prayer,' 1850.
  6. 'Turkey and the Turks,' 1853.
  7. 'Baptism and Baptismal Regeneration,' 1865.
  8. 'Confession, Absolution, and the Real Presence,' 1867. # 'The Book of Common Prayer,' 1869. He also printed many single sermons and minor publications.

[Times, 12 July 1883, p. 6; Devon Weekly Times, 13 and 20 July 1883; The Golden Decade of a Famous Town, i.e. Cheltenham, by Contem Ignotus (1884), pp. 70-102.]

G. C. B.