Taylor, Henry, 1711-1785
- Existence: 1711 - 1785
Rev. Henry Taylor (1711-1785) was born at South Weald, Essex, the third son of William Taylor (1673-1750), a London merchant who achieved some fame as a writer of poetry, mainly humorous or epigrammatic. Henry Taylor was educated at Hackney School and Queens' College, Cambridge (B.A., 1736; Fellow, 1733; M.A., 1735). He was ordained to the diaconate in 1733 and to the priesthood in 1735. During his career he obtained a number of ecclesiastical preferments in the dioceses of Oxford and Winchester. He and his family lived for many years at Crawley, Hampshire, where he was appointed rector in 1755. In 1779 his son Peter was appointed rector of Titchfield, Hampshire, where Taylor seems to have spent most of his last years. He died at Tichfield in 1785. Taylor's achieved fame through his theological writings, especially the Apology of Benjamin Ben Mordecai (London, 1771-1774). His unorthodox beliefs occasioned some controversy. He did not shrink from argument on any point on which he held strong views. As well as his literary attacks on the views of Soame Jenyns and Edward Gibbon, he campaigned against the requirement that all clergy of the Church of England should subscribe to the Royal Supremacy, the Thirty-Nine Articles, and the use of the Book of Common Prayer. At a more personal level, he fought bitterly against the attempts of the Master and Fellows of Christ's College, Cambridge, to enforce residence in Cambridge upon his son Peter when the latter held a Tancred Studentship for theological studies in the 1760s. Like his father, Taylor produced a large quantity of poetry. Most of this was light-hearted in tone, although there were some examples of slightly barbed satire on contemporary events, as well as a number of verses in the classicising pastoral style of the eighteenth century. In 1740 Taylor married Christian (d. 1769), daughter of the Rev. Francis Fox of Reading. The marriage produced eleven children, of whom six survived infancy: two girls and four boys. The elder sons, Henry (1742-1822) and Peter (1745-1791), followed their father into the Church. Daniel (1751-1807), the third son, undertook a mercantile career, but fell into debt and disgrace in the 1780s. The fourth son, William (1755-1843), enjoyed a successful business career. He also wrote poetry, but few of his pieces survive.