Boyton, Charles (1799?–1844), clergyman and political campaigner, was born in Dublin, son of John William Boyton, a prominent doctor and king's professor (1792–1826) of the institutes of medicine in TCD; it is possible that his mother was a Montgomery, since Charles's brother was named William Montgomery Boyton. Charles was educated by Dr Dowdall, and entered TCD on 4 July 1814. After graduating BA (1819), he became a fellow of the college in 1821; he was a family friend of and later tutor to William Rowan Hamilton (qv) from 1822. Boyton's intellectual attainments were considerable; Hamilton greatly profited from being introduced by Boyton to material, not on the college course, from the École Polytechnique in Paris, which was then the world leader in mathematical study.
In 1828 Boyton was one of the founders of the Brunswick Clubs, which were set up by protestants during a temporary eclipse of the Orange Order to provide a focus for protestant opinion and political action. By 1832 Boyton was recognised by Daniel O'Connell (qv), who called him ‘Bully Boyton’, as one of the leaders of Tory and protestant opinion in Dublin. O'Connell's agitation for repeal of the act of union was anathema to Boyton, who became a mainstay of the Protestant Conservative Association. He grasped the importance of what he called ‘the politics of publicity’ (quoted in Spence, 45) and, as well as publishing four pamphlets, he was an effective platform speaker, organiser, and publicist. He developed strong views on the need for Irish protestants to be aware, not just of their heritage of protestantism and what they were accustomed to regard as its natural prerogative of ascendancy over catholicism, but also of the claims made on their loyalty by the country in which they had been born, and to be as a result, socially responsible and self-reliant.
Boyton was tutor to Isaac Butt (qv), and his influence or example may have fostered the development of some of the complex and even contradictory attitudes which shaped Butt's later career. After 1833, when he resigned his fellowship to become rector of the college living of Conwall, Co. Donegal, Boyton took little further active role in politics. In 1835 he was one of the Grand Chaplains of the Orange Institution of Ireland. In 1836 he exchanged for the rectory of Tullyaughnish, and that year at a meeting of the clergy of the diocese of Derry, he was prominent in protests to government against the absence of religious instruction in the system of national education then under discussion. At the spring graduation of 1838, he was awarded the degrees of MA, BD, and DD by Dublin University. He was vicar-general of Raphoe, and was granted the freedom of the city of Londonderry. It is said that Charles Boyton contracted fever while visiting parishioners, and he died 16 April 1844.
He married (6 May 1835) Mary Elizabeth Montgomery of Convoy House, Donegal, who inherited the property of her father, Robert Montgomery, and may have been a relative of the Boytons; she was related to Richard Montgomery (qv), and was a great-niece of Robert Stewart (qv), 1st marquess of Londonderry. The Boytons had one son, William Charles Boyton, rector of Templemore.