The History of Overton Church

Chapter 6:  The Third Ministry (1849-1866)


The third minister, the Rev. John Boyd (afterwards Dr Boyd) seems to have come first as a missionary.  Ordained at Hexham in 1835, he was inducted on 20th June 1849. 

In the “Missionary Record” of the UP Church in November of that year it is stated that before Mr Boyd’s location it was seriously contemplated to give up the cause altogether.  But “since then the audience has grown from 70 to 150. 

After it had gone for about a year amidst decided tokens of reviving, the bond between the people and Mr Boyd was fully formed, and prospects were improving in every way”.


The developing congregation owed much to Mr Boyd.  His lot was not an easy one, for West Kilbride could not then boast of even a railway station, and could not count on the support of summer visitors.

There is record that he was an excellent pastor and businesslike in his management of the congregation’s affairs.  Though there was still financial stringency, during his ministry advances were made.  The lighting of the church was changed from candles to gas – quite a revolutionary development in those days – and as a result, the beadle’s snuffers went out of use.

A still more revolutionary change was made in 1852 – in the church’s praise!  Hymns, regarded by some as “a dangerous symptom of the times” were introduced in the worship to be an alternative to the metrical psalms.  But the attempt then to form a choir failed, and the Precentor still led the praise.

Church Candles

On 13th March 1866 Mr Boyd resigned his charge. 

In his letter to the Presbytery intimating his demission, he stated that the junior members of his family had removed to Glasgow for business or education, and “he felt the evils of a home divided”.  But it is elsewhere recorded that “he retired into private life, making his abode in West Kilbride.

It was in the year of his retiral he became a DD of Monmouth College, Illinois.