|Bishop of Down and Connor|
|Church||Church of Ireland|
|Diocese||Down and Connor|
|Consecration||27 January 1661|
|Died||13 August 1667 53–54)(aged|
|Alma mater||Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge|
|Feast day||13 August|
|Venerated in||Church of England |
Jeremy Taylor (1613–1667) was a cleric in the Church of England who achieved fame as an author during the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. He is sometimes known as the "Shakespeare of Divines" for his poetic style of expression, and he is frequently cited as one of the greatest prose writers in the English language.[ citation needed ] He is remembered in the liturgical calendars of the Church of England and the Episcopal Church of the United States.
Taylor was under the patronage of William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury. He went on to become chaplain in ordinary to King Charles I as a result of Laud's sponsorship. This made him politically suspect when Laud was tried for treason and executed in January 1644/5 by the Puritan parliament during the English Civil War. After the parliamentary victory over the King, he was briefly imprisoned several times.
Eventually, he was allowed to live quietly in Wales, where he became the private chaplain of the Earl of Carbery. After the Restoration, he was made Bishop of Down and Connor in Ireland. He also became vice-chancellor of the University of Dublin.
Taylor was born in Cambridge, the son of a barber, Nathaniel.He was baptised on 15 August 1613. His father was educated and taught him grammar and mathematics. He was then educated at the Perse School, Cambridge, before going to Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge University where he gained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1630/1631 and a Master of Arts degree in 1634.
The best evidence of his diligence as a student is the enormous learning of which he showed so easy a command in later years. In 1633, although still below the canonical age, he took holy orders, and accepted the invitation of Thomas Risden, a former fellow student, to supply his place for a short time as lecturer at St Paul's Cathedral.
Archbishop William Laud sent for Taylor to preach in his presence at Lambeth, and took the young man under his wing. Taylor did not vacate his fellowship at Cambridge before 1636, but he spent, apparently, much of his time in London, for Laud desired that his considerable talents should receive better opportunities for study and improvement than the obligations of constant preaching would permit. In November 1635 he had been nominated by Laud to a fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford,where, says Wood (Athen. Oxon., Ed. Bliss, iii. 781), love and admiration still waited on him. He seems, however, to have spent little time there. He became chaplain to his patron the archbishop, and chaplain in ordinary to Charles I.
At Oxford, William Chillingworth was then busy with his magnum opus, The Religion of Protestants, and it is possible that through his discussions with Chillingworth Taylor may have been turned towards the liberal movement of his age. After two years in Oxford, he was presented, in March 1638, by William Juxon, Bishop of London, to the rectory of Uppingham, in Rutland. There he settled down to the work of a country priest.
In the next year he married Phoebe Langsdale, by whom he had six children: William (d.1642), George (?), Richard (the last two died c.1656/7), Charles, Phoebe and Mary.. In the autumn of the same year he was appointed to preach in St Mary's on the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, and apparently used the occasion to clear himself of a suspicion, which, however, haunted him through life, of a secret leaning to the Roman Catholic position. This suspicion seems to have arisen chiefly from his intimacy with Christopher Davenport, better known as Francis a Sancta Clara, a learned Franciscan friar who became chaplain to Queen Henrietta; but it may have been strengthened by his known connection with Laud, as well as by his ascetic habits. More serious consequences followed his attachment to the Royalist cause. The author of The Sacred Order and Offices of Episcopacy or Episcopacy Asserted against the Arians and Acephali New and Old (1642), could scarcely hope to retain his parish, which was not, however, sequestrated until 1644. Taylor probably accompanied the king to Oxford. In 1643 he was presented to the rectory of Overstone, Northamptonshire, by Charles I. There he would be in close connection with his friend and patron Spencer Compton, 2nd Earl of Northampton.
During the next fifteen years, Taylor's movements are not easily traced. He seems to have been in London during the last weeks of Charles I in 1649, from whom he is said to have received his watch and some jewels which had ornamented the ebony case in which he kept his Bible. He had been taken prisoner with other Royalists in the siege of Cardigan Castle on 4 February 1645. In 1646 he is found in partnership with two other deprived clergymen, keeping a school at Newton Hall, in the parish of Llanfihangel Aberbythych, Carmarthenshire. Here he became private chaplain to and benefited from the hospitality of Richard Vaughan, 2nd Earl of Carbery, whose mansion, Golden Grove, is immortalised in the title of Taylor's still popular manual of devotion, and whose first wife was a constant friend of Taylor. Taylor wrote some of his most distinguished works at Golden Grove.Alice, the third Lady Carbery, was the original of the Lady in John Milton's Comus . Taylor's first wife had died early in 1651. His second wife was Joanna Bridges or Brydges, said to be a natural daughter of Charles I; there is no good evidence for this. She owned a good estate, though probably impoverished by Parliamentarian exactions, at Mandinam, in Carmarthenshire. Several years following their marriage, they moved to Ireland. From time to time Taylor appears in London in the company of his friend John Evelyn, in whose Diary and correspondence his name repeatedly occurs. He was imprisoned three times: in 1645 for an injudicious preface to his Golden Grove; again in Chepstow Castle, from May to October 1655, on what charge does not appear; and a third time in the Tower in 1657, because of the indiscretion of his publisher, Richard Royston, who had decorated his Collection of Offices with a print representing Christ in the attitude of prayer.
The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living provided a manual of Christian practice, which has retained its place with devout readers. The scope of the work is described on the title page. it deals with the means and instruments of obtaining every virtue, and the remedies against every vice, and considerations serving to the resisting all temptations, together with prayers containing the whole Duty of a Christian. Holy Dying was perhaps even more popular. A very charming piece of work of a lighter kind was inspired by a question from his friend, Mrs Katherine Phillips (the matchless Orinda), asking How far is a dear and perfect friendship authorised by the principles of Christianity? In answer to this, he dedicated to the most ingenious and excellent Mrs Katherine Phillips his Discourse of the Nature, Offices and Measures of Friendship (1657). His Ductor Dubitantium, or the Rule of Conscience … (1660) was intended to be the standard manual of casuistry and ethics for the Christian people.His works were translated into Welsh by Nathanael Jones.
He probably left Wales in 1657, and his immediate connection with Golden Grove seems to have ceased two years earlier. In 1658, through the kind offices of his friend John Evelyn, Taylor was offered a lectureship in Lisburn, Co. Antrim, by Edward Conway, 2nd Viscount Conway. At first, he declined a post in which the duty was to be shared with a Presbyterian – or, as he expressed it, "where a Presbyterian and myself [shall be] like Castor and Pollux, the one up the other downe" – and to which a meagre salary was attached. He was, however, induced to take it, and found in his patron's property at Portmore, on Lough Neagh, a congenial retreat.
At the Restoration, instead of being recalled to England, as he probably expected and certainly desired, he was appointed to the see of Down and Connor,to which was shortly added the additional responsibility for overviewing the adjacent diocese of Dromore. As bishop, he commissioned in 1661 the building of a new cathedral at Dromore for the Dromore diocese. He was also made a member of the Irish privy council and vice-chancellor of the University of Dublin. None of these positions was a sinecure.
Of the university he wrote:
I found all things in a perfect disorder ... a heap of men and boys, but no body of a college, no one member, either fellow or scholar, having any legal title to his place, but thrust in by tyranny or chance.
Accordingly, he set himself vigorously to the task of framing and enforcing regulations for the admission and conduct of members of the university, and also of establishing lectureships. His episcopal labours were still more arduous. There were, at the date of the Restoration, about seventy Presbyterian ministers in the north of Ireland, and most of these were from the west of Scotland, with a dislike for Episcopacy which distinguished the Covenanting party. No wonder that Taylor, writing to James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde shortly after his consecration, should have said, "I perceive myself thrown into a place of torment". His letters perhaps somewhat exaggerate the danger in which he lived, but there is no doubt that his authority was resisted and his overtures rejected.
This was Taylor's golden opportunity to show the wise toleration he had earlier advocated, but the new bishop had nothing to offer the Presbyterian clergy but the alternative of submission to episcopal ordination and jurisdiction or deprivation. Consequently, at his first visitation, he declared thirty-six churches to be vacant; and repossession was secured on his orders. At the same time, many of the gentry were apparently won over by his undoubted sincerity and devotedness as well as by his eloquence. With the Roman Catholic element of the population he was less successful. Not knowing the English language, and firmly attached to their traditional forms of worship, they were nonetheless compelled to attend a service they considered profane, conducted in a language they could not understand.
As Reginald Heber says:
No part of the administration of Ireland by the English crown has been more extraordinary and more unfortunate than the system pursued for the introduction of the Reformed religion. At the instance of the Irish bishops Taylor undertook his last great work, the Dissuasive from Popery (in two parts, 1664 and 1667), but, as he himself seemed partly conscious, he might have more effectually gained his end by adopting the methods of Ussher and William Bedell, and inducing his clergy to acquire the Irish language.
During this period, he was married a second time to Joanna Brydges, natural daughter of Charles 1. From this marriage, two daughters were born, Mary, who went on to marry Bishop Francis Marsh and had issue and Joanna, who married Irish M.P Harrison and had issue.
Taylor died at Lisburn on 13 August 1667. He was buried at Dromore Cathedral where an Apsidal Chancel was later built over the crypt where he was laid to rest.
Jeremy Taylor is honored in the Church of England and in the Episcopal Church on 13 August.
Jeremy Taylor is said to have been a lineal descendant of Rowland Taylor, but the assertion has not been proved.Through his daughter, Mary, who married Archbishop Francis Marsh, he had numerous descendants.
Henry Hammond was an English churchman, who supported the Royalist cause during the English Civil War.
James Sharp, or Sharpe, was a minister in the Church of Scotland, or kirk, who served as Archbishop of St Andrews from 1661 to 1679. His support for Episcopalianism, or governance by bishops, brought him into conflict with elements of the kirk who advocated Presbyterianism. Twice the victim of assassination attempts, the second cost him his life.
John Goodwin (1594–1665) was an English preacher, theologian and prolific author of significant books.
John Bramhall, DD was an Archbishop of Armagh, and an Anglican theologian and apologist. He was a noted controversialist who doggedly defended the English Church from both Puritan and Roman Catholic accusations, as well as the materialism of Thomas Hobbes.
Daniel Featley, also called Fairclough and sometimes called Richard Fairclough/Featley, was an English theologian and controversialist. He fell into difficulties with Parliament due to his loyalty to Charles I of England in the 1640s, and he was harshly treated and imprisoned at the end of his life.
James Ramsay (c.1624–1696), bishop of Dunblane, bishop of Ross, was son of Robert Ramsay (1598?–1651). The latter was successively minister of Dundonald (1625–40), of Blackfriars or College Church, Glasgow (1640–7), and of the High Church, Glasgow (1647–51); was dean of the faculty of the University of Glasgow 1646 and 1650–1, rector in 1648, and principal from 28 August 1651 until his death in the following September. He is buried in Canongate Churchyard. His grave is officially "lost" but the ornate, illegible stone on the east side of the church, now somewhat spuriously ascribed to Rizzio is probably his.
The Caroline Divines were influential theologians and writers in the Church of England who lived during the reigns of King Charles I and, after the Restoration, King Charles II. There is no official list of Caroline-era divines; they are defined by the era in which they lived, and Caroline Divines hailed from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. However, of these four nations, it is Caroline England which is most commonly considered to have fostered a golden age of Anglican scholarship and devotional writing, despite the socio-cultural upset of civil war, regicide, and military rule under Oliver Cromwell. Importantly, the term divine is restricted neither to canonised saints nor to Anglican figures, but is used of many writers and thinkers in the wider Christian church.
The Diocese of Down and Dromore is a diocese of the Church of Ireland in the south east of Northern Ireland. It is in the ecclesiastical province of Armagh. The geographical remit of the diocese covers half of the City of Belfast to the east of the River Lagan and the part of County Armagh east of the River Bann and all of County Down.
Nicholas Bernard was an Anglican priest and author during the 17th century. A dean in Ireland at the time of the Rebellion of 1641, he wrote descriptions of current events. He was also the biographer of James Ussher.
Richard Steward or Stewart was an English royalist churchman, clerk of the closet to Charles I and designated Dean of St. Paul's and Westminster, though not able to take up his position because of the wartime circumstances.
Henry Leslie was a Scottishman who became the Church of Ireland Bishop of Down and Connor from 1635 to 1661 and briefly Bishop of Meath from January to April 1661.
John Shawe or Shaw (1608–1672) was an English Puritan minister, an influential preacher in the north of England during the Interregnum.
William Guild (1586–1657) was a Scottish minister, academic and theological writer.
From 1649 to 1660, Puritans in the Commonwealth of England were allied to the state power held by the military regime, headed by Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell until his death in 1658. They broke into numerous sects, of which the Presbyterian group comprised most of the clergy, but was deficient in political power since Cromwell's sympathies were with the Independents. During this period the term "Puritan" becomes largely moot, therefore, in British terms, though the situation in New England was very different. After the English Restoration the Savoy Conference and Uniformity Act 1662 and Great Ejection drove most of the Puritan ministers from the Church of England, and the outlines of the Puritan movement changed over a few decades into the collections of Presbyterian and Congregational churches, operating as they could as Dissenters under changing regimes.
John Owen (1580–1651) was an English bishop of St Asaph.
Joseph Boyse was an English presbyterian minister in Ireland, and controversialist.
John Reading (1588–1667) was an English priest of Calvinist views and Biblical commentator.
Richard Hollinworth (1607–1656) was an English clergyman of presbyterian views, an influential figure in North-West England in the 1640s.
George Rust was an English Anglican academic and churchman, who became bishop of Dromore in 1667. He is known as a Cambridge Platonist and associate of Jeremy Taylor.
Tobias Pullen, or Tobias Pullein, was an Irish bishop.