James Boyd (schoolmaster)

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James Boyd LL.D. (24 December 1795 – 18 August 1856) was a schoolmaster and author.


He was the son of a glover, was born at Paisley and after receiving his early education partly in Paisley and partly in Glasgow, he entered Glasgow University, where he gained some of the highest honours in the humanity, Greek, and philosophical classes. After taking his degrees of B.A. and M.A., he devoted himself for two years to the study of medicine, but abandoned this pursuit; entered the divinity hall of the university of Glasgow, and was licensed to preach the gospel by the presbytery of Dumbarton in May 1822. Towards the close of that year he removed to Edinburgh, where for three years he maintained himself by private tuition. In 1825 he was unanimously chosen house governor in George Heriot's Hospital, Edinburgh. The university of Glasgow conferred on him the honorary degree of doctor of laws.

Boyd became classical master in the High School of Edinburgh on 19 August 1829. The largely attended classes which he always had decisively proved the public estimate of his merits. In 1833 he is listed as living at 11 Castle Street (just off Princes Street).[1]

For many years before his death he held the office of secretary to the Edinburgh Society of Teachers. He died at his house in George Square, Edinburgh, on 18 August 1856, having nearly completed an incumbency of twenty-seven years in the High School. He was interred at New Calton Burial Ground on 21 August 1856.

Recognition and Remembrance[edit]

The affectionate respect which all his pupils entertained towards Boyd is evinced by the number of clubs formed in his honour by his classes. In the Crimea, during the Russian war, two ‘Boyd clubs’ were formed by British officers in acknowledgment of their common relation to him as their preceptor. Within two months after his death a medal, to be named the Boyd medal, and to be annually presented to the ‘dux’ of the class in the high school taught by Boyd's successor, was subscribed for at a meeting held in Edinburgh by his friends and pupils. He married on 24 December 1829 to Jane Reid, eldest daughter of John Easton, merchant, Edinburgh, by whom he was the father of nine children.


Boyd's literary talents were confined to the editing of classical and other school books. They include:

  1. Roman Antiquities by A. Adams, 1834, which was reprinted fifteen times during the editor's lifetime
  2. Q. Horatii Flacci Poemata by C. Anthon, 1835, which passed through three editions
  3. Archæologia Græca by J. Potter, Bishop of Oxford, 1837
  4. Sallustii Opera by C. Anthon, 1839
  5. Select Orations of Cicero by C. Anthon, 1842
  6. A Greek Reader by C. Anthon, 1844
  7. A Summary of the Principal Evidences of the Christian Religion by B. Porteus, Bishop of London, 1850
  8. The First Greek Reader by Frederic Jacobs, 1851



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Boyd, James". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.