Taylor, John (1836-1905)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1887
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1906

Early years

John was born on 28 June 1836 at Kendal, Westmorland to parents Matthew Taylor and Mary Nelson.  His father was a grocer and a Primitive Methodist. John’s younger brother, William, became an Independent (Congregational) Minister.

John was converted aged 12 and immediately became a Sunday School Teacher. Three years later he became a local preacher. John served an apprenticeship at a Bobbin Mill.


In 1857 he was stationed at Alston with Moses Lupton as his superintendent. John became very popular, but this caused him injury. As people followed him around, he felt he had to furnish them with a new sermon each time. He became overtaxed and returned home.

In March 1858, with the support of Thomas Greenfield and Colin C McKechnie, the latter arranged for a co-pastorship with Rev W Bowman, a Congregational Minister at Gainsford. Here John was able to avail himself of the educational opportunities at Gainsford Academy where Bowman was the Principle.

In 1859 John re-entered the PM ministry at Whitehaven, once again joining up with Moses Lupton.

His obituary records that from first to last, John was a circuit minister. He steadfastly refused District Office.

As a preacher he wielded great influence, possessing that indefinable quality called ‘unction’, and moving his listeners to both laughter and tears. Sermon production was never easy to him, though he laboured conscientiously at it, but when he came face to face with his congregation then he kindled, and the glow of imagination and the play of emotion irradiated what he had brought with him from the study, and made it live.

John Day Thompson writes; ‘He was a true, brave man, full of the most generous enthusiasm, and with the wonderful power of appealing to the common heart.’


John married Elizabeth Harryman (1842-1916) in 1865 at Hexham, Northumberland. Census returns identify three children.

  • John Harryman (1867-1931) – a PM Minister
  • Mary Jane (1869-1872)
  • Mary Elizabeth (1875-1961) – married William Nicholas Shepherd, a manufacturer of wooden handles in 1911

John died on 12 May 1905 at Hugill, Kendal, Westmorland.


  • 1857 Alston
  • 1859 Whitehaven
  • 1862 Maryport
  • 1864 Hexham
  • 1865 Brompton
  • 1870 Durham
  • 1876 Shildon
  • 1878 Newcastle l
  • 1882 S Shields
  • 1885 Chester le Street
  • 1892 Kendal
  • 1898 Kendal (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1887 (portrait); 1906/901

PM Minutes 1905/36

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers



Transcription of Obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine 1906. Added October 2018

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