Robert Boyd (university principal)

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Robert Boyd of Trochrig (1578–1627) was a Scottish theological writer, Principal of the University of Glasgow from 1615 to 1621 and Principal of the University of Edinburgh from 1622 to 1623.


He was the eldest son of James Boyd of Trochrig, Archbishop of Glasgow, great-grandson of Robert Boyd, 1st Lord Boyd, and owner of an estate in Ayrshire, which is variously spelled Trochrig, Trochridge, and Trochorege. He was connected by birth with the noble family of Cassilis, and enjoyed a good social position. He studied at the university of Edinburgh, taking his divinity course under Robert Rollock, and associating himself with presbyterians. In 1604 he was chosen pastor of the church at Verteuil, and in 1606 professor in the academy of Saumur, both in France. Along with the duties of the chair he discharged the office of a pastor in the town, and was afterwards called to the chair of divinity. While at Saumur he married a French woman.

James VI and I offered him the principalship of the university of Glasgow, and Boyd moved to Glasgow in 1615. He taught theology, Hebrew, and Syriac, and was preacher to the people of Govan. He was noted for extemporaneous lectures in Latin, and quotations from the Greek fathers from memory.

Boyd opposed the Five Articles of Perth, and lost favour. In 1621 he resigned the principalship and retired to the family house of Trochrig. Invited by the magistrates and people of Edinburgh in 1622 to be principal of the university there and one of the ministers of the city, he accepted. The king then reproved the magistrates for the appointment, and ordered them not only to deprive him of his office, but to expel him from the city unless he should conform absolutely to the articles of Perth. As Boyd refused to comply, he was deprived and expelled accordingly. Afterwards he had some hope of being restored to his office in Glasgow, and was induced to sign a qualified declaration of conformity; the appointment was given to another. In 1626-7 he was called to be minister of Paisley, but the antagonism of the Marchioness of Abercorn, a Catholic convert, meant he was obliged to leave. In 1627, on a visit to Edinburgh, he died there.


Boyd's major work was an elaborate 'Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians', published after his death, and described as a theological thesaurus. His Latin poem Hecatombe ad Christum Salvatorem was included by Sir John Scot of Scotstarvet in his Delicias Poetarum Scotorum, reprinted at Edinburgh by Robert Sibbald, nephew of Dr. George Sibbald, who married Boyd's widow.



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Boyd, Robert (1578-1627)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

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Academic offices
Preceded by
Patrick Sands
Principal of the
University of Edinburgh

Succeeded by
John Adamson