Boyle, George David 1828-1901, dean of Salisbury, born at Edinburgh, on 17 May 1828, was eldest child of David Boyle, Lord Boyle [qv.], Scottish judge, by his second wife, Camilla Catherine, eldest daughter of David Smythe of Methven, Lord Methven. As a small, shy child he saw Sir Walter Scott in his father's study (Recollections, p. 2). Educated first at Edinburgh Academy and by a private tutor, he went in 1843 to Charterhouse. In June 1846 he matriculated at Exeter College, Oxford, went into residence in April 1847, and graduated Bachelor of Arts in 1851, M.A. in 1853. In London, as at Edinburgh, family connections brought him, while a schoolboy, the acquaintance of persons of literary distinction and he developed a precocious interest in the Oxford movement; but the influence of John Campbell Shairp [qv.], whom he met first in 1838, and who became a lifelong friend, preserved him from partisanship (cf. his recollections of Shairp in Principal Shairp and his Friends, 1888). Ordained deacon in 1853 and priest in 1854, Boyle was from 1853 till 1857 curate of Kidderminster under Thomas Legh Claughton [qv.], and from 1857 to 1860 of Hagley. In 1860 he had three offers of new work at once and he chose the incumbency of St. Michael's, Handsworth, Birmingham (Recollections, p. 203). He entered into the public life of Birmingham, especially on its educational side, was a governor of King Edward VI's school, and numbered amongst his friends men differing as widely as John Henry Newman, George Dawson, and Robert William Dale. In 1867 Boyle became vicar of Kidderminster, where he won universal confidence. He was chairman of the first school board for Kidderminster, acted as arbitrator in an industrial dispute, promoted the building of an infirmary, and greatly developed the church schools.
In 1880 Boyle was appointed dean of Salisbury. A sum of 14,000l. was spent on the cathedral under his direction. His love of literature and his acquaintance with men of affairs continued to widen his interests (cf. Grant-Duff, Notes from a Diary, 1886-8, i. 119-21). On ecclesiastical controversy, in which he took no active part, he exercised a moderating influence. He died suddenly of heart failure at Salisbury on 21 March 1901. He married, in 1861, Mary Christiana, daughter of William Robins of Hagley, and left no issue. A mural tablet and a window to his memory are in Salisbury Cathedral, and a portrait in oils in the Church House, Salisbury.
Boyle edited with notes Characters and Episodes of the Great Rebellion, selected from the History and Autobiography of Edward Earl of Clarendon (1889), and also published a small volume on Salisbury Cathedral (1897). In his Recollections (1895, with portrait) he gives a full account of his intercourse with men of letters and affairs.
Boyle's Recollections, 1895
The Times, 22 March 1901
Guardian, 27 March 1901, 12 Nov. 1902
Foster's Alumni Oxon.
Contributor: A. R. B. [Augustus Robert Buckland]