Daniel Taylor (Baptist pastor)
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The Rev Dan Taylor (1738–1816) was the founder of the New Connexion of General Baptists, a revivalist offshoot from the Arminian Baptist tradition, one of two main strands within the British Baptist movement.
From Methodist to General Baptist
Dan Taylor was born at Sourmilk Hall, Northowram, near Halifax, Yorkshire, on the 21st December 1738 to Azor Taylor and his wife Mary (Willey). Like his father he was a coal-miner who joined the Wesleyan Methodists in 1761, during his early twenties. Whilst never straying from Wesley’s Arminianism, Taylor quickly tired of what he saw as Wesley’s authoritianism. By 1763, Taylor had been ordained a General Baptist and had begun organising the Birchcliffe Baptists, an independent grouping of dissenters around Hebden Bridge. The following year the Birchcliffe group built their own chapel. Taylor, a young man used to manual labour, quarried the stone himself.
Building the Chapel proved an expensive burden, so Taylor travelled on foot to Leicestershire in search of support. Among the independent Baptist congregations throughout the east Midlands, there was a great deal of disillusionment with the current state of the General Baptists. Traditionally non-creedal, many General Baptist congregations were becoming increasingly liberal in their doctrine, obliging the more orthodox and the more evangelical among them to reconsider their allegiance.
Founding the New Connexion of General Baptists
In June 1770 Dan Taylor was able to bring together many of those Arminian Baptists disenchanted with the ‘Old General Baptists’ in ‘The New Connexion of General Baptists’. Well organised from the outset, the Connexion thrived, particularly in the industrial areas of the English Midlands. By 1817, a year after Taylor’s death, the Connection had 70 chapels.
Daniel Taylor’s younger brother, John Taylor, was also a Baptist pastor.
- ‘The Memoirs of Rev. Dan Taylor, the late Pastor of the general Baptist Church, including diary extracts’, edited by Adam Taylor, was published after Dan Taylor’s death in 1820.
- Dan Taylor’s ‘Reasons for Dissenting from the Church of England’, as well as ‘The General Baptist New Connexion Catechism on God’ (both written in 1805), can be found in ‘Protestant Nonconformist Texts Volume 3: The Nineteenth Century’, edited by David Bebbington (University of Stirling, UK), Burlington, VT, Ashgate, 2006.
- Brackney, William H. A Genetic History of Baptist Thought: With Special Reference to Baptists in Britain and North America. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2004. pp. 105, 124, 147-149, 175, 233, 533, 536.
- Birchcliffe Baptist Church, 1762 - 1962 (Booklet), Kershaw & Ashworth, 1962