James Medland Taylor
- Born : 1834 Stanford Rivers Ongar Essex. Son of Isaac Taylor.
- Married : 29 August 1867 Priscilla Coventry at Holy Trinity Church, Upper Tooting.
- Died : 31 May 1909 at Rusholme, Manchester
James Medland Taylor was born at Stanford Rivers, Essex in 1834. His father was Isaac Taylor, of Stanford Rivers, the author of several books of religious philosophy. His two aunts. Ann and Jane Taylor, wrote a large number of nursery rhymes and verses, among them. Twinkle, twinkle, little star." His elder brother was Canon of York, and the author of " Words and Places." James Medland Taylor himself was educated at Felsted School, Leatherhead under Mr Joseph Payne, before bring articled to his uncle, James Medland, later county surveyor, Gloucester. He was afterwards assistant to H. J. Paull, Cardiff; S. S. Teulon, London; and Hayley and Son, 45, Cross Street, Manchester.
In 1860 James Medland Taylor commenced practice at 2, St. Ann's Churchyard and carried out some public work including Stalybridge Public Library and the Blair Hospital, Bolton. However, it was as an ecclesiastical architect that he was most widely known, more than fifty new churches having been built from his designs, while he was charged with the restoration or extension of some ninety more. among them the parish churches of Cheadle, Prestwich and Radcliffe. Perhaps the most familiar of his buildings in Manchester was the Union Chapel in Oxford Road. In the 1880s, he was the architect for among others St. Stephen's. St. Michael's, and St. Gabriel's, Hulme: St. Michael's, Ardwick; St. Agnes's, Slade-lane. Manchester; St. Clement's. Longsight; and St. Luke's, Miles Platting. His work was always careful and owed much of its interest to his handling of material, and his minute attention to detail.
Medland Taylor has been described as the arch rogue architect of South East Lancashire. Coined by H S Goodhart Rendell in 1949 the term “rogue architect” was a convenient form of shorthand much used by Pevsner and much abused by subsequent writers. The term is unfortunate. It was principally intended to be used in the sense of rogue elephant rather than the criminal sense although it could be used in both senses. Rogue architects “driven or living apart from the herd, and of savage temper” were supposed to be outside the mainstream of architecture; their extreme individuality preventing them from having any real influence on their contemporaries. Yet Medland Taylor did not pursue originality at any price; rather he was proof that not all Victorian architects were mere imitators in their ecclesiastical architecture. Although individual elements can easily be traced back to period precedent, their mixture with completely original ones results in an unprecedented whole. It is curious that attributes such as flair and imagination, now highly prized, should still be considered a failure on the part of some Victorian architects reluctant to meekly follow the herd. Unfortunately, the image of Medland Taylor trampling about Lancashire like a rogue elephant through the African bush, has a surprisingly appeal, difficult to easily dismiss from the mind.
In 1868 he was joined in partnership by his younger brother Henry under the style James Medland and Henry Taylor. The partnership was dissolved in 1883 when Henry retired through ill health. In later years he employed his son Isaac although no evidence of a formal partnership has been found. By 1902 Isaac was obtaining commissions under his own name.
Medland Taylor was for three successive years President of the Manchester Architectural Association, and two years President of the Manchester Society of Architects of which he was a Fellow. He was for many years an occasional contributor of architectural criticisms to the columns of the "Manchester Guardian".
On 29 August 1867 at Holy Trinity Church, Upper Tooting, by the Rev Isaac Taylor, assisted by the Rev E D Cree, James Medland Taylor married Priscilla, fourth daughter of Millis Coventry of Feandale, Wandsworth Common. [Manchester Guardian 31 August 1867 page 6].
The children of the marriage were Mary Grace Taylor, b. 1868; Margaret Elizabeth Jane Taylor, MA . born 22 Feb 1870 at Moon Grove - Ref Girton College Register, Author - an introduction to Greek Philosophy 1924; Isaac Taylor b. 1871, Manchester, d 1948, architect; Emma Constance Taylor, b. 1873, Manchester; Gerald Medland Taylor, b. 1874, Manchester, d. date unknown.; Muriel Coventry Taylor, b. 1875, Manchester, d. date unknown; Mildred Bevington Taylor, b. 1879, d. date unknown; Agnes Priscilla Taylor, b. 1881.
James Medland Taylor died on 31 May 1909 at his residence, Stanford, Rusholme, in his 75th year. The funeral and burial took place on Friday 4 June at St James's Church, Birch, at noon. [Manchester Guardian 2 June 1909 -Death Notices]
1860-1900 St Ann’s Churchyard, Manchester
1900-1908 7 Chapel Walks, Manchester
1900 : Notice of Removals from Winter’s Buildings, St Ann’s Street on or after 24 March, owing to the premises coming down. – Medland Taylor 2 St Ann’s Churchyard to 7 Chapel Walks. [Manchester Guardian 20 March 1900 page 1]
1851 Clarence Street Gloucester (with James Medland) Census
1868 1 Moon Grove, Risholme
1871 1 Brookfield Tettace, Dickenson Road, Rusholme
1909 Stanford, 147 Dickenson Road, Rusholme