John Taylor
Bishop of St Albans
DioceseDiocese of St Albans
In office1980–1995
PredecessorRobert Runcie
SuccessorChristopher Herbert
Other post(s)Honorary assistant bishop in Ely (1995–2016) and in Europe (1997–2016)
Lord High Almoner (1988–1997)
Ordination1956 (priest)
Consecration1 May 1980
Personal details
Born(1929-05-06)6 May 1929
Died1 June 2016(2016-06-01) (aged 87)
ParentsGeorge & Gwendoline
SpouseLinda Barnes (m. 1956)
Children1 son; 2 daughters
ProfessionAcademic & writer (theologian)
Alma materChrist's College, Cambridge
Jesus College & Ridley Hall

John Bernard Taylor (6 May 1929 – 1 June 2016)[1] was a British bishop and theologian who served as Bishop of St Albans.[2]


Taylor was educated at Watford Grammar School for Boys and Christ's College, Cambridge (graduating Bachelor of Arts with first class honours {BA Hons} in Classics), and trained for the ministry at Ridley Hall and Jesus College, Cambridge (as Lady Kay scholar);[3] he proceeded Cambridge Master of Arts (MA Cantab).[2]

Priestly ministry

He was made deacon (presumably c. Michaelmas 1956 at Southwark), and ordained priest at Michaelmas 1957 (22 September), by Bertram Simpson, Bishop of Southwark, at Southwark Cathedral.[4] After a curacy at St Lawrence Church, Morden,[3] he served as Vicar of Henham and Elsenham from 1959 to 1964. During that time he was appointed an examining chaplain to John Tiarks (and later John Trillo), Bishop of Chelmsford in 1962, continuing until 1980.[2]

He was Vice-Principal of Oak Hill Theological College from 1964 to 1972. He was appointed Vicar of All Saints', Woodford Wells and Diocesan Director of Ordinands in 1972; he departed Woodford (but remained DDO) in 1975 to become Archdeacon of West Ham.[2]

Episcopal ministry

Taylor's grave in the grounds of St Albans Cathedral in 2021
Taylor's grave in the grounds of St Albans Cathedral in 2021

In 1980, Taylor was chosen to succeed Robert Runcie (the new Archbishop of Canterbury) as Bishop of St Albans;[5] he was consecrated a bishop on 1 May, by Runcie, at Westminster Abbey).[6] He was enthroned at St Albans Abbey on 14 June 1980, took his seat (as a Lord Spiritual) in the House of Lords in 1985[2] and retired in August 1995;[7] his successor was Christopher Herbert.[8] Taylor succeeded David Say, Bishop of Rochester as Lord High Almoner in 1988[9] and stepped down in 1997: his successor in that post was Nigel McCulloch, Bishop of Wakefield.[10] He retired to Cambridge, where he served as an honorary assistant bishop in the Diocese of Ely until his death; he was also licensed to the same role in the Diocese in Europe from 1997 onwards.[2]

Other work

Taylor authored a number of religious books.[11][12] He became a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) in 1997.[2]




  1. ^ "Former Bishop of St Albans John Taylor dies". Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Taylor, John Bernard". Who's Who. A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U37119. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ a b Daily Telegraph Issue no 50,086 (dated Saturday 4 June 2016) p25 "Scholarly Bishop of St Albans who preferred cocoa to claret"
  4. ^ "Michaelmas Ordinations". Church Times. No. 4937. 27 September 1957. p. 15. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 17 June 2019 – via UK Press Online archives.
  5. ^ New bishop: The successor to the Right Rev. Robert Runcie, Archbishop-Elect of Canterbury The Times (London, England), Wednesday, Jan 30, 1980; pg. 4; Issue 60537
  6. ^ "picture caption". Church Times. No. 6117. 9 May 1980. p. 1. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 16 June 2019 – via UK Press Online archives.
  7. ^ Diocese of St Albans – Bishops of St Albans[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Country cleric chosen as Bishop of St Albans. Ruth Gledhill. The Times (London, England), Wednesday, May 24, 1995; pg. 8; Issue 65275
  9. ^ Appointments. The Times (London, England), Wednesday, May 25, 1988; pg. 17; Issue 63090 to 1997
  10. ^ Lord High Almoner. The Times (London, England), Friday, May 09, 1997; pg. 22; Issue 65885
  11. ^ John Bernard Taylor, Open Library.
  12. ^ Books by John Bernard Taylor, Alibris.