Emily Taylor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Emily Howson Taylor
Banham, Norfolk, England
Died11 March 1872
St Pancras, London, England
OccupationSchoolmistress, writer
RelativesEdgar Taylor (brother)

Emily Taylor (1795 – 11 March 1872)[1] was an English schoolmistress, poet, children's writer and hymnist. She wrote numerous tales for children, chiefly historical, along with books of instruction and some descriptive natural history.

Early life and education[edit]

Emily Howson Taylor was born in 1795, in Banham, Norfolk. She was the daughter of Samuel Taylor, of New Buckenham, Norfolk, a niece of John Taylor, of Norwich, a hymn writer, and a great-granddaughter of Dr John Taylor, a Hebraist.[2] Her brother Edgar Taylor was also a writer and translator. Her mother died shortly after she was born, so that she was brought up by her father, five brothers, one sister and two aunts. She became partly deaf at the age of seven after suffering from scarlet fever and could not attend formal schooling.[3]


When she moved with her father to nearby New Buckenham, she started a school for some 30 children, which laid emphasis on singing, partly because Taylor had become friendly with Sarah Ann Glover, a musical theorist who had developed the Norwich sol-fa system.[4]

In 1825, she published The Vision of Las Casas, and Other Poems. The title poem, about a vision of the dying Bartolomé de las Casas, has an anti-slavery theme. Las Casas' vision ends with his being granted a prophetic glimpse of the abolitionist movement in Taylor's own time, with specific mentions of Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce.[citation needed]

Taylor moved up to London in 1842, to live with a widowed sister and continued to teach.[4] Taylor wrote numerous historical tales, works of instruction for children, and popular biographies, including The Ball I Live On, or, Sketches of the Earth[5] and Chronicles of an Old English Oak, or Sketches of English Life and History.[6] Works of hers appeared in the Monthly Repository among other publications.[7] Originally a Unitarian, she joined the Church of England under the influence of English theologian Frederick Denison Maurice.[2]

Her other publications include Letters to a Child on Maritime Discovery, 1820; Poetical Illustrations of Passages of Scripture, 1826; Tales of the Saxons, 1832; Tales of the English, 1833; Memoir of Sir T[homas] More, 1834; and The Boy and the Birds, 1835. She edited Sabbath. Recreations, 1826; and Flowers and Fruit in old English Gardens, 1836; and contributed to the Magnet Stories, 1860; and the Rainbow Stories, 1870.[2]


She was also the writer of many hymns that remained popular through the 19th century, including fourteen contributed anonymously to a Unitarian hymnal published in 1818.[8] Taylor's hymns appeared as follows:—[2]

To the Unitarian Collection of Psalms & Hymns, printed for the Renshaw Street Chapel, Liverpool, 1818, she contributed anonymously:[2]

  1. "Come to the house of prayer." Invitation to Public Worship. Sometimes given as “O come to the house of Prayer.”
  2. "God of the changing year Whose arm of power." Lessons of the Changing Year.
  3. "O Father, though the anxious fear." Sunday.
  4. "O here, if ever, God of love." Holy Communion.

These, and the following six hymns, were given anonymously in the second edition of the Norwich Unitarian Hymn Book, 1826:[2]

  1. "Here, Lord, when at Thy Table met." Holy Communion.
  2. "O not for these alone I pray." Holy Communion. Sometimes, “No, not for these alone I pray."
  3. "The Gospel is the light." Worth and Power of the Gospel. Sometimes “It is the one true light."
  4. "Thus shalt thou love the Almighty God [Lord]." Self-consecration to God.
  5. "Who shall behold the King of kings?" Purity.
  6. "Who that o'er many a barren part." Missions. Sometimes it begins with stanza 2, “Thy kingdom come! The heathen lands."

Of the above, Number 6 is part of a longer poem which was given in her Poetical Illustrations of Passages of Scripture, 1826. This work also contains:[2]

  1. "O Source of good around me spread." Seek, and ye shall find.
  2. "Truly the light of morn is sweet." Early Piety.
  3. "When summer suns their radiance fling." Resignation with Praise.

In the Rev. John Relly Beard's Collection of Hymns for Public and Private Worship, 1837, several of the above are repeated, and also:

  1. "If love, the noblest, purest, best." Communion with Jesus.[2]

Of these fourteen hymns, ten are in Dr. James Martineau's Hymns, 1840, and nine in his Hymns, 1873. Several are also found in other collections, as William Garrett Horder's Congregational hymnody, 1884, and some American and other hymn books.[2]

She died in 11 March 1872, St Pancras, London.[2]

See also[edit]

English women hymnists (18th to 19th century)


  1. ^ Emily Taylor, hymntime.com. Revised place of birth and date of death from ODNB, see note below.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Julian 1892, p. 1117.
  3. ^ Dunham Bible Museum News, Fall 2011, Vol. 9, No. 1. Retrieved 16 September 2014. Archived 29 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b Alexander Gordon, "Taylor, Edgar (1793–1839)", rev. Eric Metcalfe, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. Retrieved 16 September 2014. Pay-walled.
  5. ^ London: John Green, 1839. Rooke Books online catalogue. Retrieved 16 September 2014.; British Library Catalogue entry.
  6. ^ London: Groombridge & Sons, 1860. Women Writers R–Z 2012. Bookseller's catalogue. London: Jarndyce; British Library Catalogue entry.
  7. ^ "Monthly Repository (1806–1838)". NCSE. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  8. ^ Hymnary.org site. Retrieved 16 September 2014.


External links[edit]