Rowland Taylor - Encyclopedia

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ROWLAND TAYLOR (d. 1555), English Protestant martyr, was born at Rothbury, Northumberland; he took minor orders at Norwich in 1528 and graduated LL.B. at Cambridge in 1S30 and LL.D. in 1534. Adopting reformed views he was made chaplain by Cranmer in 1J40 and presented to the living of Hadleigh, Suffolk, in 1544. In Whitsun week, 1547, he preached a "notable sermon" at St Paul's Cross, and was given the third stall in Rochester cathedral. In 1549 he was placed on a commission to examine Anabaptists, and in 1551 he was appointed chancellor to Bishop Ridley, select preacher at Canterbury, and a commissioner for the reform of the canon law; in 1552 Coverdale made him archdeacon of Exeter. Apparently he advocated the cause of Lady Jane Grey, for on the 25th of July 1553, only six days after Mary's proclamation as queen, he was committed to the custody of the sheriff of Essex. He was released not long afterwards, and with the support of his parishioners offered strenuous resistance to the restoration of the Mass. He was consequently imprisoned in the King's Bench prison on the 26th of March 1554. The sturdy Protestantism of Taylor and his flock, who seem to have caused various commotions, marked him out for the special enmity of Mary's government; and he was one of the first to suffer when in January 1 555 parliament had once more given the clerical courts liberty of jurisdiction. He was sentenced on the 2 2nd, excommunicated on the 2 9 th, degraded by Bonner on the 4th of February, and burnt on the 9th at Aldham Common near Hadleigh. His blameless character had made a great impression on his age, and he was commemorated in many popular ballads. He was regarded as the ideal of a Protestant parish priest; he was married and had nine children. The alleged descent of Jeremy Taylor from him has not been proved.

See Thomas Quinton Stow's Memoirs of Rowland Ta y lor (1833); Dict. of Nat. Biogr. lv. 463-4, and authorities there cited.

(A. F. P.)

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