The Tower of Loyd was erected in 1791 by the first Earl of Bective in memory of his father Sir Tomas Taylor, the first baronet of the family that later obtained the title Marquess of Headfort. The designer was Henry Baker, who also designed the Kings Inns after his master, Gandon had given up the project. It is built in two sections joined by a stone “Belt”. At the top there is a rounded elevation or torus with a railing around it. The staircase with 201 steps is circular and is lit by windows. On the side of the tower facing the town is the Headfort Coat of Arms with the family crest – consequinque petit’. – ‘He follows what he seeks’.
The lantern on the top of the tower was covered with glass and a round table below it was surrounded by a circular seat, where the ladies and gentlemen could sit and dine as they viewed the countryside. The inscription on the Tower reads: ‘This pillar was designed by Henry Baker Esq. architect. It was executed by Mr Joseph Beck, stone cutter, Mr Owen McCabe, Head Mason, Mr Bartle Reilly, overseer. Anno 1791’.
Michael Daly recalls Loyd in the 1930s: ‘I walked all over the area, especially up to Loyd and up on the hill and down the other side and back in with two other lads. I walked up those steps and stood at the top of the spire when there was a top on it – before the top was blown off. The cap was made of copper and was brought by the UDC to their yard. Four or five lads used to go up playing cards at the top, for a few coppers’.
In 1989 renovations commenced on the area around Loyd, making it a very attractive amenity area for people of all ages. A Fas scheme was run in cooperation with the Kells Enterprise Group. On the Spire itself the major task had been the replacement of broken steps and the installation of a protective cage up the centre of the tower, and another at the top of the dome. Kells Enterprise Group chairman Aidan Cary guided the work to completion. A light on the top of the tower at night is a striking symbol of welcome to Kells.