Edward’s Story


I have always known about Kate’s brother, Edward. The family story was that he went to Hungary to tutor a young girl and fell in love with her. When her father found out, he said “no” and Edward was told to leave. He then fell out of a train (either accident or suicide attempt from love) and was never the same again. Kate used to visit him once a year (possibly in Northampton, my mother remembers) and Alys (his little sister, my great grandmother) allegedly never saw him again. And that was all we ever knew.


Until I started to transcribe Kate’s diaries…..

20191201_125702 copy
L-R – Kate, Edward, Alys and Lucy (Mother)

Edward was educated at Clifton College, Bristol and then Sidney College, Cambridge University (1895 – 1898) where he attained Exhibitioner Natural Science Tripos 1st Class.

L-R – Alys, Mother, Edward, Kate

The family were delighted with his achievements and, from the diaries, it was clear to see that Edward was a much-loved and admired member of the family with great prospects.

Entries from Kate’s diaries

“Friday, 17th June 1898
De B’s encore in bed to breakfast. Aunt Ada and I to Westbourne. Had croquet out. Edward got 4 telegrams to congratulate him on his getting a “first class” in his Tripos!!!  Oh Joy!!! A drive at 2.30. We played tennis a lot. Speeches at dinner.”

Having taken his Degree, Edward left a few days later to work for the family of Countess Pejacsevich-Mikó,

ludany castle.jpg

Kate’s Diary entry…

Thursday, June 23rd 1898
Mother, Alys, Ed and I drove to town; had photographs taken and shopped. Cut sandwiches in afternoon; and had tea-party, as see mem. Wade came and helped to serve. Played tennis and croquet. Uncle P “migraine”.

20191201_125731 copy.jpg
L-R – Alys, Mother, Edward, Kate

Friday, June 24th June 1898
Rained all day hard. We packed and saw to Edward’s things. He and Uncle Pierre to town. Wadie came and did sewing. Had songs in evening. Dear old Edward sang “Sleep”. Uncle P sang.

Saturday, June 25th June 1898
Packed and did heaps of things. All morning. Rainy, showery. At 1.30 we all to station to see Edward off to Hungary via see “mem”. Mother and Alys home. The De B’s, Aunt Ada and I to Winter Gardens. Walked home, songs, etc, in evening.

Mem: Edward to Harwich, Rotterdam, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, Danube, etc.

Letters went backwards and forwards, even a lovely birthday present (scarf and ring) for Kate, when suddenly 3 months later a telegram arrived.

“Monday, 19th September 1898
Wrote to Aunt Alice, Tades, Mrs Geddes, Sarah, Minnie. Ella and Alys to tea at Menies. I rested and read Lamb’s Essays 45. Telegram from Uncle H. Ed sunstroke. Mrs Carnie and Hannah and Norah in.”

Lucy (Edward, Kate and Alys’ mother) and Uncle Harold (Lucy’s brother) went straight to Troppau where Edward was in hospital and, with that, their whole world collapsed.

The diagnosis of sunstroke changed to “malarial fever” and Edward was subsequently declared insane.

Suffering from delusions and auditory hallucinations, Edward had thrown himself out of a train to kill himself.  There was no unrequited love story.

With the help of Edward’s Austrian psychiatrist and possibly a man-servant/hospital orderly, Mother and Kate (aged 19) took him home to England where he was swiftly transferred to Holloway Sanatorium Virginia Water in Surrey – a private mental institution known for the care and treatment of the insane. Edward was only 22.

Edward at St Anns 1899.png
Only photograph of Edward from his medical notes

Just over one year later, Edward was discharged from Holloway Sanatorium and moved to Bethlem (Bedlam) Hospital – a psychiatric hospital in London.

He stayed there for 4 years and was then transferred to St Andrew’s Hospital, Northampton. Later he was admitted to  to Bryn-y-neuadd Mental Hospital, Llanfairfechan, Caernarvonshire (part of St Andrew’s Hospital).

Edward died in 1946 aged 69 at St Andrew’s Hospital, Northampton.

It must have been a very sad state of affairs for the whole family. I may find out more as I transcribe more diaries. The 1899 one is missing, and I don’t know why. Maybe it was all too much in that year and Kate destroyed it. We will probably never know.

If you are interested his mental health records, they are below:-

(WARNING: It is fairly brutal reading.)

Transcription taken from Edward’s medical notes when in Holloway Sanatorium Virginia Water, Surrey. A private mental institution known for the care and treatment of the insane of the upper and middle classes and supposed to be only for short-term curable patients.

“Males no. 9: Certified male patients admitted February 1898 – April 1899”
Source – Wellcomelibrary.org

Book covers the dates: 1898-1907

Holloway Sanatorium Hospital, Virginia Water

Edward Boyd

Page 305
Margin notes:
Admitted – Nov 23. 1898
Reception Order – Nov 27 1898
Certificate in Lunacy – Nov 28 1898

Family History: Uncle insane

Edward Boyd – 22 years. Single University Student. Church of England. 1st attack duration 9 weeks. Supposed cause Malarial Fever. Not epileptic or dangerous but possibly suicidal.

1st Certificate:
“He is very slow in understanding and answering – he told me he wished to save the world by drowning himself. He also said he thought he could steer better than the Captain of the Steamer. He said at the Austrian Asylum he had been taking Paraldehyde with the Austrian Emperor.” – Geo H. Savage[1]

2nd Certificate:
Corroborates Wm Wadham Floyer[2]

Condition on Admission:

He is a fair youth with light hair. Body fairly nourished. No organic disease of Heart or lungs (there is a slightly higher pitched note at ?2nd? apex). Tongue clean. Bowels fairly regular. Pupils equal and react to Light and dark Knee jerks present. All his mental processes are much dulled – it takes him a long time to understand a question, when he does so there is an interval before he answers and the act of answering is slow and hesitating. All his movement are slow and he has delusions that an Austrian Countess is here and that he has seen and heard her. He takes no interest in his surroundings. He sleeps fairly and takes his food.

November 30th, 1898

Very dull and confused with various delusions about the Queen of Hungary and other ladies of high rank. The attached letter was written yesterday.

November 29th 1898

My Lord
Having unfortunately deluded the Queen of Hungary into falling in love with me I consider it is best for the good of this nation that I should save the country and travel round the world passing first through Hungary that country, or that she should marry me as a private English citizen at once, since I have written her a letter saying I would marry her, no answer having arrived. May I have leave to start on the journey above mentioned. I believe it important that I should start as soon as possible. Can I join an expedition for exploration of Central Asia passing onwards in a westerly direction, could you furnish me with a commission or order that I may be able to follow up this scheme. I should like to take scientific notes on the way of scientific interest on the way.

I hope that this project may be as hastily with the utmost haste imaginable be arranged with the utmost speed as soon as possible as the moon seems to hang here.

With ?***? Allow me the honour of to “S*****” myself my lord

Your obedient servant

Edward Boyd


December 3rd, 1898

To-day burnt his hand blistering them (He is on a Caution Ticket having attempted to burn himself before). He also fought and attacked the attendant so has been moved to No. 7.

December 10th 1898

Continually hearing voices under the influence of which he is suicidal, he also frequently attacks those around him. He is incoherent and irrational. He asks to be allowed to have a pistol as it will add much to personal comfort.

December 17th 1898

Continues deluded continually under the control of his auditory hallucinations. Makes impulsive attacks on those around him. He is quite unable to carry on a connected conversation.

January 9th 1899

Quite under the control of “voices”, very deluded and quite unable to carry on a conversation. Given to making impulsive attacks and making the most absurd requests, eg can he go to Hungary to marry a Princess. He is in good health.

February 11th 1899

Still very deluded, and under the control of auditory hallucinations which influence him at times to make impulsive attacks. He takes a good deal of exercise and some interest in the amusements and sports of the place.

March 25th 1899

There is not much change. He continues to hear “voices”. And to have the same delusions or being engaged to the Emperor of Austria, etc. Makes impulsive attacks at times.

Edward at St Anns 1899.png
Photo of Edward Boyd – in medical notes

July 12th 1899

He does not improve. Continues to have delusions and hallucinations and to make impulsive attacks on attendants and other patients. Health good.

September 23rd 1899

Now very exalted. Calls himself “We”. Frequently hearing “voices”, quite uninterested in his surroundings. Very excited at times.

December 11th 1899

To-day transferred to Bethlem. No bruises or injuries on leaving.

Letter dated May 28th

Your Majesties

Favours are requested for this Mr Edward Boyd who desires to serve as Footman at your Majesties’ High Table of Honour.

Edward Letter 1.png

Another letter dated February 21st

St Anns Heath
Virginia Water

In the pen of your Majesties’ humble servant Edward Boyd myself, I beg to indite in that name, the death sentence of the man Arthur Parnell so called and allow him to be hanged during the course of this day having obtained by means of this writing the corresponding sentences as passed by the doctors of this asylum who can carry out the same by means of legal warrants. As some explanation may be necessary, I proffer the following words as said by the same man in my nostrils.

‘I am deliberately pulling your mother to pieces.’

Which fact I am unable to prove in any way until later, except in as far as by Evil practice and by making use of knowledge obtained in unfair ways and untrue, he acts of the brains of those around, at the same time destroying their vocabularies and weakening their intellects and by pulling of women’s brains makes them say untruths.

I am compelled that I cannot but I would not like to brave the world in this condition. 

Edward Boyd.

edward letters.png

Edward Letter 3

Bethlem 1896.jpg
Bethlem Hospital – 1896

Transcribed from London, Bethlem Hospital patient admission registers and casebooks 1683-1932

Bethlem Records – Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Whether transferred: From Holloway Sanitorium
Name of Patient: Edward Boyd
Age: 22

Admitted Dec 11th 1899
Residence at or immediately previous to date: Anstalt, Troppau, Austrian.

Rank, Profession or Occupation: University Student
Degree of Education: Good
Religious Persuasion: Protestant
Married, Single or Widowed: Single
Number of Children: none
Whether the first attack: Yes
Age on first Attack: 22
Duration of Existing Attack: 9 weeks
How many previous Attacks: none
Confined in any Lunatic Asylum: Anstalt, Troppau Austria
Supposed cause of Insanity: Malarial Fever
Whether Suicidal: Possibly
Whether dangerous to others, and in what way: No
State of Bodily Health: good
Whether of sober habits: Yes
Relatives afflicted with Insanity: Uncle

1st Medical Certificate
He is very slow in understanding and answering. He told me he wishes­ to save the world by drowning himself. He also said he thought he could steer better than the captain of the steamer. He said at the Austrian Asylum he had been taking Paraldehyde with the Austrian Emperor.

Facts communicated by others.

Mr Harold Faraday of 3 Berners Street, London W tells me that Edward Boyd wished to visit the German Emperor in Berlin to say he wished to save the world by throwing himself overboard.
Nov 25th 1899
Geo. H. Savage MO LRCP
3 Henrietta Street, W.

2nd Medical Certificate
He is dull. There is mental confusion and his reaction is slow. He has grandiose ideas and imagines himself called to great things for the “nations good”. He has hallucinations of sight and of hearing. He imagines that he has seen an Austrian lady in the grounds this afternoon and he hears voices which he believes have been arranged by his mother to prevent him from carrying out his plans.

Nov 25th 1898

William Wadham Floyer
Egham, Surrey

Lunacy Commission
66 Victoria Street S.W.

5th December 1899
I am directed by the Commissioners in Lunacy to inform you that Mr Edward Boyd who is about to be transferred from Holloway Sanatorium to your care is reported to be Suicidal.
I am, Sir, Your Obedient Servant
A signature
For the Secretary

To: the Medical Superintendent
Bethlem Hospital

Relation of Informant to Patient: Uncle
Family History
Insanity or other Diseases of Nervous System
Maternal Uncle was in BMH (Bethlem Mental Hospital) 20 years ago
Phthsis (tuberculosis): Father
Alcoholism: No
Diabetes: Not known of
Other Diseases: –

Previous History
Neuroses in Patient: Cheerful disposition, easily excited.
Acute Rheumatism or Chorea – No
Fits – epileptic or hysterical – No
Fits – infantile – No
Fevers – No
Syphilis – No
Other Diseases: Malaria when in Hungary.
Intemperate: No
Number and nature of previous attacks
Injuries or shocks –

Present Attack
Time of earliest symptoms: Nine weeks ago
Nature of earliest symptoms: Became excited.
Progress of case: wanted to go to Hungary to take some post and marry a Princess.

Presence or Absence of Bruises – no bruises
Tongue – Normal
Palate and Teeth – Normal
Appetite – Good
Bowels – Normal
Urine – Normal
Heart, Pulse, Lungs etc – Normal
Eyes and Sight: Normal
Pupils. React to light
Ears and Hearing: Normal

Edward handwriting in Bedlem.pngWalk: Normal
Reflexes. Normal
Speech: Slow and stilted
Dreams: No
Memory, Recent: Good
Remote: Good
Delusions, Exaltation: Yes
Depression: No
Delusions relating to digestion or food: No
Poison: No
Obstruction: No
Hallucinations of Taste and Smell: No
Hallucinations of Sight: No
Hallucinations of Hearing: No
Hallucinations of Common Sensation: No
Suicidal or Homicidal: ?
Diagnosis: Delusional
Prognosis: Bad

Next page:
The following information has been supplied in addition:-
That the attack is of about 14 months duration. That he has had similar attacks before. That he is suicidal (Com. In Lunacy). That he is impulsively violent. That he is a graduate in statu pupillari of the University of Cambridge. That the prognosis of the case as regards complete recovery is bad (Dr Savage).

The patient is a young man of medium height. With fair hair brushed back from his forehead. He behaves quite as though he is a superior being saying in stilted tone “Pray be seated”, when we converse with him.

He has not exhibited any violence since admission. His behaviour is quiet and collected.

He thinks that he is the King of Hungary and that he is married to an Austrian Arch-Duchess. This delusion had origins in the fact that he was formerly a tutor or companion in the family of an Austrian magnate where he was introduced to an Arch Duchess. He thinks that his marriage was somewhat irregular, and would like it to be solemnised again. He continually enquires if the Arch-Duchess has been to see him.

He admits that on one occasion he tried to commit suicide by leaping out of a train, on or about September 17th of this year while in Hungary. He says that at that time he was suffering from the effects of a sunstroke.

December 18th. The patient asks daily if any letter has been received from his wife, the Arch-Duchess. His behaviour is quiet and restrained.

December 25th. The patient has written a letter to Dr Hyslop signing himself Edward, King of Hungary.

Mental condition unchanged

Jan 1st 1900 Retains his old fancies.
Jan 8th. No change. Good health.
Feb 8th. No change. Delusional as before.
Mar 8th. No change. Good health
April 8th. Patient’s mother died recently and he thinks that she has been buried alive. Wants her exhumed, etc.
May 3rd. A German doctor came round the other day and told this patient that he (the doctor) was the King of Hungary. The patient accepted this statement and has now given up this delusion.
June 3rd. Is anxious to marry. Has formed an attachment to one of the K E S (me: no idea King Edward VI?) girls, whose name he does not even know.
July 3rd. Has written a two volume novel in large hand-writing as on other side of this page.
Aug 3rd. Less exalted. More weak-minded. Good health.
Sept 3rd. No change.
Dec 3rd. Weak-minded.
Jan 1st 1901 – Kisses the hands of the M.O’s whenever they greet him. Signs himself Emperor of Hungary on ball programmes. Good Health.
Apr 1st. Continues to degenerate. Thinks people put thoughts into his head. Masturbates. Eats and keeps well. Good health.
July 1st. No change. Good health
Oct 1st. Is demented. The delusions are rather falling in the background.
Jan 1st 1902. Demented as before.
Apr 1st. No change
July. No change
Oct. No change
Jan 1903. Demented. Kisses the hands of the A.M.O.
Apr. Demented and with no fixed delusions
July. Demented. Good health
Oct. No change
January 1904 – No change
Jan 20th 1904 – Discharge received

Letter by Edward
Bethlehem Royal Hospital
Saint Georges Road

December 12 1900

Ed Letter 1900.pngEd letter 1900(2).pngEd letter 1900(3).png

Screenshot 2020-01-13 at 16.39.40.pngScreenshot 2020-01-13 at 16.43.04.pngScreenshot 2020-01-13 at 16.43.40.png

Mr Stoddart
Bethlehem Royal Hospital

August 31, 1900

Dear Sir

Allow ourselves to call attention to the condition of negligent in ?***? of the authorities of the institution.

A terrible oversight is presented to us in the following neglect.

The patients should have been removed to another building and establishment while the digging or boring being prosecuted.

To present the possibility of diptheria, which is said to injure the workmen when the whole house whose drains are to be tended is not left in their charge, that they may be unrestrained and more open in the exercise of such talents as minute observation and rights of possession.

Hence any internal disruption due to their ?***? Circumstances is absolutely certainly conveyed onto the oldest patients and the literary ones.
The fearful and shameful neglect should dear sir be remedies at once. The example of removing patients, if required to Wellington College, Somerset to Westward Ho, Somerset the Hotel 500 boys due to bad drains. More care must be exercised than in the exercise of troops. A few complaints from the workmen should have later effect. Excuse dear sir our needful attention.

Your humble ?***?
Edward Boyd
King of Hungary

Screenshot 2020-01-13 at 16.44.56.png

Screenshot 2020-01-13 at 16.44.56

Screenshot 2020-01-13 at 16.46.36

Holloway Sanatorium, Virginia Water
Nov 29th 1899

Dear Dr Hyslop
I am afraid there does not seem to be much change change or chance? of Boyd’s recovery. It looks very like a case of Chronic delusional insanity. Duration of attack about 14 months. Auditory hallucinations under the influence of which he has been both suicidal and violent. Lately not suicidal but impulsively violent. He thinks he is a prince of Hungary, etc. Savage has frequently seen him and thinks bad diagnosis of him.

Yours truly

William Moore

%d bloggers like this: