John Taylor Smith

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The Right Reverend
John Taylor Smith
Chaplain-General to the Forces
Church Church of England
In office 1901 to 1925
Predecessor Cox Edghill
Successor Alfred Jarvis
Other posts Sub-Prelate of the Venerable Order of Saint John (1916–1938)
Bishop of Sierra Leone (1897–1901)
Ordination 1885 (deacon)
1886 (priest)
Consecration 1897
Personal details
Born 1860
Kendal, Westmorland, England
Died 28 March 1938(1938-03-28) (aged 77–78)
Nationality British
Denomination Anglicanism

John Taylor Smith, KCB, CVO, QHC (1860–28 March 1938) was an Anglican bishop and military chaplain. He was the Anglican Bishop of Sierra Leone at the end of the 19th century and Chaplain-General to the Forces 1901 to 1925.

Early life and education[edit]

Taylor Smith was born in 1860 in Kendal, Westmorland, England.[1]

Ordained ministry[edit]

Taylor Smith was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon in 1885 and as a priest in 1886.[2][3] From 1885 to 1890, he served his curacy at St Paul's Church, Penge in the Diocese of Rochester.[4] He then moved to colonial Sierra Leone, and served as Sub-Dean of St. George's Cathedral, Freetown, and Diocesan Missioner from 1890 to 1897.[2] In 1897, he was consecrated to the episcopate as Bishop of Sierra Leone.[2] He was also an Honorary Chaplain to the Queen (QHC) from 1896 to 1901.[2]

On 1 November 1901, John Taylor Smith was appointed Chaplain-General to the Forces, and therefore head of the Army Chaplains' Department.[5] His tenure included the First World War, and he oversaw the expansion of the Army Chaplains' Department from around 120 chaplains in 1914 to almost 3,500 in 1918.[6] He retired in 1925.[2]

Having been appointed a Sub-Prelate of the Venerable Order of Saint John in 1916, Taylor Smith continued in that role in retirement.[2] He died on 28 March 1938.[7]


Taylor Smith was appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in 1906, and a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1921.[1] He created a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 1925:[1] as a clergyman, traditionally he would not have received the 'accolade' and thus was not entitled to style himself 'Sir'. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity (DD) degree in 1897.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Rootsweb
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "SMITH, Rt Rev. John Taylor". Who Was Who. Oxford University Press. April 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  3. ^ The Clergy List, Clerical Guide and Ecclesiastical Directory. London, Hamilton & Co, 1889
  4. ^ Who was Who 1897-1990 London, A & C Black, 1991 ISBN 0-7136-3457-X.
  5. ^ "No. 27379". The London Gazette. 22 November 1901. p. 7653. 
  6. ^ The Royal Army Chaplains Department – Clergy Under Fire, by Michael Snape. Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2008
  7. ^ Deaths The Times Wednesday, Apr 06, 1938; pg. 17; Issue 47962; col E
Anglican Communion titles
Preceded by
Graham Ingham
Bishop of Sierra Leone
Succeeded by
Edmund Elwin
Preceded by
Cox Edghill
Chaplain-General to the Forces
Succeeded by
Alfred Jarvis