Thomas Taylor (priest, 1576–1632)

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Thomas Taylor, engraving after William Marshall, some time after 1633. Thomas Taylor.jpg
Thomas Taylor, engraving after William Marshall, some time after 1633.

Thomas Taylor (1576–1632) was an English cleric. A Calvinist, he held strong anti-Catholic views, and his career in the church had a long hiatus. He also attacked separatists, and wrote copiously, with the help of sympathetic patrons. He created a group of like-minded followers. [1]



Taylor was born in 1576 in Richmond, Yorkshire, where his father was known as a friend to Puritans and silenced ministers. He distinguished himself at Cambridge, became a fellow and reader in Hebrew at Christ's College. [2] [3]

A follower of William Perkins, Taylor began preaching at 21 and when only about 25 preached a sermon at St. Paul's Cross before Queen Elizabeth. He was known for strong anti-Roman Catholic views. [2] [1]

In a sermon delivered at St. Mary's, Cambridge, in 1608, Taylor denounced Archbishop Richard Bancroft's severe attitude towards Puritans. He was then silenced by Samuel Harsnet and threatened with degradation. [2] There began a period of 17 years, in which Taylor apparently had no benefice. He had patrons, and is known to have been chaplain to Edward Conway. [1] He was living at Watford in 1612, and later moved to Reading where his brother, Theophilus Taylor, was incumbent of St Lawrence Church from 1618 to 1640. Here young preachers gathered round him, among them being William Jemmat, who later edited his works. [2]

On 22 January 1625, Taylor was chosen as the incumbent of St Mary Aldermanbury, London. He continued there until about 1630 when, in poor health, he retired to Isleworth for the country air. [2]

Taylor proceeded B.D. 1628. It was only with difficulty that Taylor obtained his degree of Doctor of Divinity at Cambridge, in 1630, in the teeth of opposition from Matthew Wren. He was incorporated at Oxford, died at Isleworth in 1632 of pleurisy. He was buried at St Mary Aldermanbury, Jemmat preaching his funeral sermon. The stenographer Theophilus Metcalfe was his nephew. [2] [1] [4]


Taylor was a prolific writer. Apart from printed sermons, he was author of: [2]

Collected editions of Taylor's works, none of them quite complete, were published: [2]

  1. With a preface by Edmund Calamy and address by Joseph Caryl, London, 1653;
  2. With a life of the author and portrait at age 56, engraved by Thomas Cross, London 1658;
  3. The Works of the Judicious and Learned Thomas Taylor, London, 1659.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 McGee, J. Sears. "Taylor, Thomas". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/27083.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Lee, Sidney, ed. (1898). "Taylor, Thomas (1576-1633)"  . Dictionary of National Biography . 55. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  3. "Taylor, Thomas (TLR592T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. Henderson, Frances. "Henderson, Frances". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/18622.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. Shiels, William Joseph. "Towne, Robert". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/66154.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

Further reading


Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1898). "Taylor, Thomas (1576-1633)". Dictionary of National Biography . 55. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

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