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Descendants of Andrew Boyd pay a visit

You’ll never guess who came to see us at Inveraray Jail the other week. Tom Letham, the great great grandson of Andrew Boyd, one of the jail’s longest-serving Prison Warders. As far as we’re concerned it was better than a visit from royalty!  It was great to meet Tom and his family and they  supplied us with some fascinating new information about Boyd.

Tom told us that Andrew Boyd was born in Kilbride, Arran, c.1850. Prior to his career as a prison warder, he was a Railway Goods Guard in New Monkland (Airdrie), Lanarkshire. He married his wife, Elizabeth MacKellar (a native of Inveraray), in Airdrie in 1874.

The UK Census of 1881 finds Andrew Boyd in residence at the Jail, along with the Prison Governor Alexander Robertson and his family, plus six prisoners. The same 1881 UK Census finds Andrew Boyd’s wife Elizabeth and their children living with her mother, Janet MacKellar, at Cross Houses No.8 in Inveraray.

The illness that afflicted Andrew Boyd from late 1884 seems to have been progressive. Sadly, on 31st January 1887, he died at home in Cross Houses No.8, aged just 37. The cause of death was recorded as paralysis, of two years duration; and debility, lasting six months.

Tom traced this fantastic image of Andrew Boyd and his wife Elizabeth.

 Andrew Boyd and wife Elizabeth MacKellar.

Andrew Boyd and wife Elizabeth MacKellar.

Following his visit, Tom wrote to us to say: ‘Thank you for an excellent and informative tour during my family’s visit to Inveraray Jail. It was most enjoyable and, at the same time, quite emotional to be following in the same footsteps as my great great grandfather Andrew Boyd. To see his name incorporated in your guide book and in certain displays made it all the more poignant for us.’

It was quite emotional for us too. After all, it’s not every day that you get to meet the family of one of the jail’s key staff members. Rob Irons, the actor who plays Andrew Boyd, was particularly thrilled to meet Boyd’s descendants and find out more about the man.


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Inveraray Jail, Argyll, Scotland, PA32 8TX