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Richard G. Boyd

Penkill Castle

In "The General Armory", by Sir Bernard Burke, 1884, page 110, the following entry is recorded;  "Boyds of Trochrig"
Azure. a fesse chequy argent. and gu betw. two crosses
crosslet fitchee in chief, and as many stars in base of the
second.  Crest - A Sun dial or Motto - Eternitatem cogita."

 

The first of the Boyds of Penkill was Adam Boyd, third son of Alexander, third Lord Boyd. Adam was the father of James, who became the first Laird of Trochrague. Adam Boyd is credited with having built Penkill Castle round about 1490. It is, however, more likely that he first went there shortly after his marriage in about 1532.  Indeed, this appears to be proved by certain among several hundred documents relating to Penkill in the 16th and 17th centuries, which were found in the floor of an attic in Ayr. The Marquis of Bute reviewed these old writs in a lecture to the Scottish History Society. Dated in 1563, one of these old papers is a Note of Assignation by David Muir in Kilkerran, in which Muir states that he had a right to the lands of "Pinkhill" (an old  spelling of the name) from which he states he was "wrongously ejected by Adam, his servants and

Photo:Alice Boyd 15th Laird of Penkill

accomplices in July 1532" and he in 1563, claims "all the rents and profits of these lands for the past 31 years or thereby." The 35 earlier writs dated between 1532 and 1563 mentioning Adam Boyd, mostly describe him as "in" Pinkhill and the preposition "of" then appropiate for ownership is not used, until later on in the 1560's, though it does occur occasionally as early as 1544.  It would thus seem certain that though he was the first Boyd Laird, Adam Boyd in about 1532 occupied Penkill about 40 years after it had been built, and that his occupancy became fully recognized at law some 35 years later still, after settlement in the 1560's of the dispute with Muir.
 
 
 

Photo: Spencer Boyd 12th Laird

The same documents show that in 1558 Adam Boyd's neighbor Kennedy of Bargany attacked him at Penkill under cover of night, wounded 6 of his friends and besieged the Castle for 4 days to try and seize it and kill him. Boyd was rescued by the Earl of Glencairn and Lord Boyd, who missed this siege "and conveyit Adam with great difficulty forth of the same."

These old writs show that Adam Boyd died in 1572 (not 1554 as stated in Seymour Clarke's book) predeceased by his son Robert, and was succeeded at Penkill by his grandson Adam Boyd, whose tutor, discharged in 1580, was Lord Boyd of Kilmarnock.
 
 

Photo:  Spencer Boyd 14th Laird
 

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It  seems  Penkill Castle was purchased by an American, Elton A. Eckstrand,
in 1978.  Eckstrand, from Grosse Pointe, Michigan became the eighteenth laird of
Penkill.  Agents for the seventeenth laird,  Evelyn May Courtney-Boyd,  offered
Penkill for sale to the highest bidder together with a first option to purchase
its contents. The contents included a large collection of paintings, furniture,
clothing,  manuscripts,  china,  silver,  armor,  vases,  rugs, and the general
mementoes of centuries of castle life.   The castle was unoccupied for at least
a year before Mr. Eckstrand purchased it and was in need of some repair.

The London Times had an article entitled "Art Lovers Plead for Rescue of Castle
Treasures" relating to the tenuous fate of  Penkill Castle.  "In this condition
none of the art treasures will last very long...... Evelyn May Courtney-Boyd, a
distant relative of Alice Boyd..... now 84... She was described by friends as a
strange, impulsive, but generous woman, with no head for money, who continually
found  herself in  debt over her fuel bills, rates, and the like."  The article
mentioned  those  who  had  contributed to the castles decline, among them pro-
fessors, a milk man, antiques dealers, and friends of  the  seventeenth  laird,
people  who  had  sought  to  gain at the castle's expense. Of all those inter-
lopers, the "milk laird" as the Sunday Times referred to the local milkman, and
his  apparent  tangle  with  the alleged curse of Penkill most precipitated the
eventual  sale  of  the  castle.  The curse, as explained in the  village pubs,
dooms  to  certain  death  anyone who dares bring harm to Penkill, and I recall
reading in Alice Boyd's diary written in the  1860s how,  when opening a window
one morning, she noticed a stranger impaled on a tree branch in the glen below.
Apparently  slipping  from the castle wall, this would be burglar had fallen to
his death.

The recent tale spawned by the curse concerns  milkman  Willie Hume, who in the
early 1970s, having long delivered Courtney-Boyd's meager  dairy  requirements,
suggested that he would  be  delighted  to  furnish  her  with a  hot meal each
evening if he and  his  wife could occupy the empty gatehouse. Living alone and
apparently  lonely  in the  twenty-five room castle, the laird quickly accepted
the milkman's offer.

At some time after his move to the gatehouse the milkman suggested to the laird
that  if  she  appreciated  his presence she would permit him to  purchase  the
gatehouse in order to ensure herself continued company. He  then  purchased the
dwelling for a nominal sum, and soon  made a  more  brazen  request:  He sought
permission for him and his wife to move  into  the  castle.  It  seems that the
evening  walk  up  to Penkill from the gatehouse was getting too  strenuous for
them. And move in they did.

Soon  paintings  from  the  Penkill  collections  began to appear in Scotland's
auction rooms, and as has been related in news accounts,  one evening while the
milkman and a glasgow antiques dealer were  visiting the castle's Rossetti Room
a most unusual event took place.  In this room hangs a painting by William Bell
Scott portraying the  fourteenth and  fifteenth lairds, Spencer and Alice Boyd,
atop one of Penkill's  towers  overlooking  the  sea.  The painting is securely
fastened  to  a  fireplace  overmantel  and  carries  in  faint  gold  leaf the
inscription: "Move not this picture, Let it be, For love of those in effigy."
The antiques dealer is reported to have expressed an interest in the painting
but, having noticed the warning and being aware of the castle's curse, decided
to pass on the purchase.

The  milkman,  however,  who  was attempting to pry the painting from the over-
mantel with a poker,  began choking and fell to the floor.   He died later that
night of angina, and shortly thereafter his widow and the now largely dependant
seventeenth  laird  left  the  castle  abruptly and with few  possessions.  The
story goes that the milkman's  widow inherited  from the  seventeenth laird the
proceeds of the castle's  eventual sale,  purchased a  pub that failed, and  is
today  a  cleaning lady in a hospital near  Perth in Scotland.
 
 

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The Penkill/Trochrig Boyds:
 
 

ADAM BOYD, 1st Laird of Penkill, son of Alexander Boyd 3rd Lord Boyd of Kilmarnock. Adam  m.
Helen Kennedy, 1531. Adam died 1572.

ADAM BOYD, 2nd Laird died 1596 aged 39.

THOMAS BOYD, 3rd Laird m. Marion Mure circa 1616. Laird for 77 years. Died 1673.

THOMAS BOYD, 4th Laird m. Ann Melville. He died 1696.

THOMAS BOYD, 5th Laird m. Isabella Lindsay, died 1715.

ALEXANDER BOYD, 6th Laird died with out issue.

ALEXANDER BOYD, 7th Laird  cousin of 6th Laird.  He died unmarried 1750 at which time castle remained
unoccupied until restored, 1850s.

ROBERT BOYD, 6th Laird of Trochrig (see below) was named 8th Laird of Penkill.  Served heir on 28th Feb 1752
as heir male to Alexander Boyd, 7th of Penkill, tracing descent of each from Adam Boyd, 1st of Penkill.  D. Nov 1761

JAMES BOYD,  brother of Robert above, was a physician in Virginia, USA married Mary Thatch, daughter of Spencer Thatch.  Children Spencer (below), Esther and James.  James was a minister in Stratton Main, VA.

SPENCER BOYD*(see Below) 9th Laird of Penkill, served as Minister in Straton Main. Named heir 1763, died about 1782, Straton Main, Virginia. Stayed in America. Two sons James 10th Laird and Spencer 11th Laird.

JAMES BOYD, 10th Laird stayed in America married Betty_____?

SPENCER BOYD 11th Laird, son of ninth Laird. He went to Scotland 1792 to claim the title and estates.  He lived at Piedmont, near Penkill as the castle was in unlivable condition. Married Sarah Wilkinson. Died in 1807 at age 39, buried
at Old Daily. His son:

SPENCER BOYD, 12th Laird of Penkill died 1827, married Margaret Losh, daughter of William Losh. William Losh provided the money to have the castle completely restored.

SPENCER BOYD 13th laird of Penkill restored the Castle with funds from his grandfather William Losh, and resided there from 1858. Died there in 1865, unmarried. He left Penkill in liferent to his sister and in fee to heirs of his mother.

ALICE BOYD14th laird of Penkill  (no issue)

Margaret Courtney-Boyd (15th laird)     More on Courtney

Evelyn May Courtney-Boyd (16th laird) (sold Penkill)      andrew.baker@staffordshire.gov.uk
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*Spencer Boyd, came from the county of Ayr, Scotland, to King and Queen Co, VA where he was partner in
merchandizing with Thomas Brown.  His will bears date Dec 7, 1778, and it was proved May 10, 1779.
Issue by First wife: 1, James; and by second wife, Lucy _____, 2, Spencer; 3, Robert; 4, William; 5,
Julia; and 6, “the child my wife now goes with.” Under entail his Pinkill estate, in Ayr, descended to
his eldest son, James,  who dying without heirs, it came to his son, Spencer Boyd, Jr., who returned to
Scotland and there died before 1809, leaving  an infant son whose guardian was James Thompson.
(Chancery Papers in Williamsburg.)

   Source: Historical and Genealogical Notes, William and Mary College
      Quarterly Historical Magazine, Vol. 7, Issue 2 (Oct. 1898), p. 126
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                     THE BOYDS OF TROCHRIG
 

In  "The General Armory", by Sir Bernard Burke, 1884, page 110, the following entry is recorded:  "Boyd (Pinkill) Azure a fesse chequy argent and gules in base a cross moline or.  Crest: A cross moline sa.  Motto - Prudentia me sustinet."


Photo on Left:
Robert Boyd 2nd Laird of Trochrig  Photo on Right: Trochrig House in Girvan

Electric Scotland's Robert Boyd of Trochrig Web Link
 
 
 
 
 
 

JAMES BOYD, 1st Laird of Trochrig was son of Adam Boyd and Helen Kennedy. He was the Archbishop of Glasgow. He married Margaret Chalmers, daughter of James Chalmers of Gadgirth. James died in 1581. His son:

ROBERT BOYD, (likeness above) 2nd Laird of Trochrig was Professor of Saumur University in France where he married Ann de Malvera.  He was Principal of Glasgow University. He was born 1578 and died 1627.  Robert was the son of James Boyd, 1st Laird of Trochrig, & Margaret Chalmers. James was Archbishop of Glasgow. Robert was  Professor at Saumur University in  France  and Principal of  Glasgow University.  He married Ann de Malvera.  Robert was the grandson of Adam Boyd, 1st Laird of Penkill.  The original of the painting (above)  hangs in  the  College of Glasgow.  Robert is  Great Great Grandfather  of  the Robert Boyd who was the 6th Laird of Trochrig  and  8th Laird of Penkill.  Penkill and Trochrig  both  were located  in Girvan, on the other side of the valley in Girvan parish.  The direct line of  Penkill died out when  Alexander Boyd,  7th Laird  of Penkill died unmarried in 1750.  The Penkill estate was passed to  Robert Boyd 6th of Trochrig  and Robert became  8th  Laird  of  Penkill.   The Penkill estate fell to James Boyd brother of  Robert when Robert died in 1761.  James lived in America and did not return to Scotland.  Trochrig was sold by a  grandaughter of Robert (6th Laird of Trochrig) who married William Robertson in the 1790s.  The estate at  Penkill  continued in the family until the 1970s  when it was sold by Miss Evelyn May Courtney Boyd, 16th Laird.  The  property  is said to be owned now by famed  movie producer Patrick Drumgoole.  Perhaps one  day  we  will see a movie about the owners of the castle.

JOHN BOYD, 3rd Laird of Trochrig was served heir in 1640. His daughter Margaret married Sir William Bruce, 4th Bart. of Stonehouse. Johns son:

ROBERT BOYD, 4th Laird of Trochrig  was imprisoned 1683-1685 for refusal of the Test Act. He was alive in 1724 (Ayr Presbytery). His son:

JOHN BOYD, 5th of Trochrig, referred to in 1709 as "younger" of Trochrig, in his son's service as heir.

ROBERT BOYD, 6th Laird of Trochrig became 8th Laird of Penkill and the lines joined. Served on 28th Feb 1752 as heir male to Alexander Boyd, 7th Laird of Penkill, tracing descent of each from Adam Boyd, 1st of Penkill. He died November, 1761. (see Penkill line above).
 

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                               Charts showing Penkill and Trochrig descent
 
 

ADAM BOYD, 1st of Penkill, which Castle he first possessed in 1532. He was 3rd son of Alexander, 3rd Lord Boyd. Castle beseiged in 1558 for four days by Sir Thomas Kennedy of Bargany. He married before December 1531, Helen Kennedy of Royal descent. He died 1672.
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                      |_________________________________________________________________
                      |                                                                                                                                 |
ROBERT BOYD, predeceased                                                                                        JAMES BOYD, 1st of Trochrig
               |_______________________________                                                          Archbishop of Glasgow. Died
               |                                         |                    |                                                         1581. Married Margaret Chalmers
ADAM BOYD, 2nd of Penkill         Wm.          Mark Alexander                                     dau. of James Chalmers of Gadgirth
Died 1596 aged 39, tombstone        Boyd          Boyd, scholar 1562-1601                                 |
at Old Bailey, near Penkill.                                                                                                       |
             |                                                                                                             ROBERT BOYD, 2nd of Trochrig,
 

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