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]

Christs College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

Christ's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college includes the Master, the Fellows of the College, and about 450 undergraduate and 170 graduate students. The college was founded by William Byngham in 1437 as God's House. In 1505, the college was granted a new royal charter, was given a substantial endowment by Lady Margaret Beaufort, and changed its name to Christ's College, becoming the twelfth of the Cambridge colleges to be founded in its current form. The college is renowned for educating some of Cambridge's most famous alumni, including Charles Darwin and John Milton.

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]

William Perkins (theologian) English cleric and Puritan theologian

William Perkins (1558–1602) was an influential English cleric and Cambridge theologian, receiving both a B.A. and M.A. from the university in 1581 and 1584 respectively, and also one of the foremost leaders of the Puritan movement in the Church of England during the Elizabethan era. Although not entirely accepting of the Church of England's ecclesiastical practices, Perkins conformed to many of the policies and procedures imposed by the Elizabethan Settlement. He did remain, however, sympathetic to the non-conformist puritans and even faced disciplinary action for his support.

Elizabeth I of England Queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until 1603

Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.

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]

Richard Bancroft British priest

Richard Bancroft was an English churchman who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1604 to 1610 and the "chief overseer" of the production of the King James Bible.

Edward Conway, 1st Viscount Conway PC was an English soldier and statesman. Notable among his descendants are Queen Elizabeth II and Barack Obama. He was the son and heir of Sir John Conway of Arrow, and his wife Ellen or Eleanor, daughter of Sir Fulke Greville of Beauchamp's Court, Warwickshire.

Watford Town & Borough in England

Watford is a town and borough in Hertfordshire, England, 15 miles (24 km) northwest of central London.

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]

St Mary Aldermanbury Church in London

St. Mary Aldermanbury was a church in the City of London first mentioned in 1181 and destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666. Rebuilt in Portland stone by Christopher Wren, it was again gutted by the Blitz in 1940, leaving only the walls standing. These stones were transported to Fulton, Missouri in 1966, by the residents of that town, and rebuilt in the grounds of Westminster College as a memorial to Winston Churchill. Churchill had made his Sinews of Peace, "Iron Curtain" speech in the Westminster College Gymnasium in 1946.

Isleworth Town in west London

Isleworth is a small town of Saxon origin sited within the London Borough of Hounslow in west London, England. It lies immediately east of the town of Hounslow and west of the River Thames and its tributary the River Crane. Isleworth's original area of settlement, alongside the Thames, is known as 'Old Isleworth'. The north-west corner of the town, bordering on Osterley to the north and Lampton to the west, is known as 'Spring Grove'.

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]

Matthew Wren British bishop

Matthew Wren was an influential English clergyman, bishop and scholar.

Pleurisy pleural disease that is characterized by inflammation of the pleura, the lining of the pleural cavity surrounding the lungs.

Pleurisy, also known as pleuritis, is inflammation of the membranes that surround the lungs and line the chest cavity (pleurae). This can result in a sharp chest pain with breathing. Occasionally the pain may be a constant dull ache. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, cough, fever or weight loss, depending on the underlying cause.

Theophilus Metcalfe English stenographer

Theophilus Metcalfe was an English stenographer. He invented a shorthand system that became popular, in particular, in New England, where it was used to record the Salem witch trials.


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 Wikisource-logo.svg  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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