Select Taylor Miscellany

Here are some Taylor stories and accounts over the years:

The Taylards of Huntingdon

The original progenitor of the family, according to the Visitation of the County of Huntingdon in 1613, was Walter Taylard who lived in the early part of the 15th century.  He was described “of Wrestlingworth in Bedfordshire” and possessing estates in the county of Huntingdon.

A later William Taylard established himself at Diddington (sometimes spelt Doddington) in Huntingdonshre.  He died in 1505 and an elaborate monument, containing effigies of himself and
his wife, was built for him in Diddington church. 

These Taylards were country gentlemen and not in trade.  The Visitation did allude to the fact that the Taylard heir in the fourth generation married a tradesman's daughter and that, by the sixth generation in the late 1500’s, two of the younger sons were in trade themselves.  

It was at this time that Taylard was becoming Taylor.  A will in 1579 began: “Philip Taylor, citizen and draper of London, and son of Sir Lawrence Taylard,” although the spelling was still quite flexible at that time.  

Sir Lawrence himself died in 1584 and his sole inheritor was his young grand-daughter Catharine.  She must have been quite a catch.  She did in fact marry Robert Brudenell at the tender age of fourteen and he was able to gain access to the Taylard estates.  The Taylards’ home at Upwood in Huntingdonshire was sold to Oliver Cromwell’s family in 1605.

Rowland Taylor the Martyr

The narrative of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs described Rowland Taylor’s return to Hadleigh to meet his death as follows: 

“The condemned man is conducted by slow steps to his beloved Hadleigh.  He is placid and even merry to the last.  He jests upon his burly and corpulent frame and holds that the worms in Hadleigh churchyard will be deceived, for the carcass that should have been theirs will be burned to ashes.  He asks to be taken through Hadleigh.  The streets are lined with his old parishioners.  He could see them.  But they could not look upon his face which had been covered through his journey with a hood, having holes for the eyes and mouth.”

On February 9, 1555 Rowland Taylor was burned at the stake at Hadleigh.  His wife Margaret was there with three of their children and ran to him to say goodbye.  According to Foxe, Rowland addressed his last words to his young son Thomas, aged just six at the time.  This Thomas is thought to have been the forebear of the James Taylor who came to Virginia in 1650.

Inside the 13th century St. Mary's church at Hadleigh today is a chapel honoring his memory.  A stained-glass window depicts his trial and martyrdom.  In the chapel is an ancient bronze plaque commemorating his death.

The Line of Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor and his wife Elizabeth were buried at Meadowfarm in Orange county, Virginia, the Taylor cemetery being located a mile and a half out of Orange.   A plaque on the wall inside the cemetery reads:

"In Memory of the first Master and Mistress of Meadowfarm who are buried here: 
  • Zachary Taylor 1707-1768, son of James Taylor II of Bloomsbury, knight of the Golden Horseshoe,
  • and Elizabeth Lee 1709-1753, daughter of Hancock Lee of Ditchley and granddaughter of Richard Lee.
They were the grandparents of President Zachary Taylor, the great aunt and uncle of President James Madison, and the great grandparents of Sara Knox Taylor, wife of President Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy.”

Another historical marker in Orange marks the location of his father’s plantation:

"A mile north is Bloomsbury, estate of the pioneer, James Taylor, ancestor of Presidents James Madison and Zachary Taylor.  He was a member of Spotswood's expedition over the mountains in 1716." 

Spotswood’s expedition was in fact called the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe expedition across the Blue Ridge mountains.  James, born in 1675, had grown up in New Kent county, Virginia where his immigrant father James had held land

Joseph Tatlor's Antecedents

Joseph Taylor who moved to North Carolina in 1756 to take up a land grant there was the forefather of William Taylor, one of the Mormon pioneers.  Just where the Taylor line ran before that is not quite clear.

The Pleasant Green Taylor family paid a professional genealogist to investigate just who "Mr. Taylor," the father of Joseph Taylor, was.  He concluded that "Mr. Taylor" was Richard Taylor, son of Richard and grandson of Richard who lived at the junction of Julian Creek and the southern branch of the Elizabeth river in Norfolk county, Virginia.  However, the evidence he found, though comprehensive, was circumstantial. 

Other digging has uncovered some more evidence, but still circumstantial, that supported this Richard theory.  It is speculated that the first Richard Taylor might have come from London.

Taylors in the 1891 Census

Taylor (000's)

Mary Taylor - Victorian Feminist

Mary Taylor, born in 1817 into a woollen merchant’s family at Gomersal in Yorkshire, was to flout the accepted norms for women in 19th century Victorian society. 

She became a friend and inspiration to the writer Charlotte Brontë, encouraging her to venture abroad.  Later she herself travelled.  Challenging the strictures of her time she taught boys in Germany, she emigrated alone to Wellington in New Zealand in 1845 (when that country was still new to colonization), she ran a shop there, and she wrote three books.  

When Mary returned to West Yorkshire in 1860, Gomersal Lodge was built as her home.  There she wrote articles for the magazine The Victoria.  In these articles she would outline her feminist views, such as calling on women to earn money to look after themselves so that they would not be so dependent on men.  Joan Bellamy’s 2001 book More Precious Than Rubies is a biography of her life.

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