You are here: Home > Family History

Richard Vickerman Taylor

rvtRichard Vickerman Taylor was born at Leeds, Yorkshire, on 10 October 1830, the son of John Taylor and his wife Ann Vickerman. He was married twice, first to Caroline Franks and then to Elizabeth Ann Knowles.

In 1856 he became Senior Classical Master at Bramham College, Tadcaster; and two years later he moved to the same position at Wesley College, Sheffield. While there he gained a B.A. degree from King's College London. He also served as an Assistant Master at Leeds Grammar School.

In 1863 he was ordained deacon, taking his priest's orders the following year. He held a number of curacies, including St Barnabas, Holbeck, Wortley, Brightside near Sheffield and Edlington. In 1878 he became Vicar of Melbecks, Swaledale. He died at the age of 83 years, on 8 July 1914, at his home, The Mount, Low Row, Swaledale.

A Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society and a member of the Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Association, he also published and contributed to publications on the history of Yorkshire.


All listed in the British Library Public Catalogue:

  • SAYWELL. Joseph Lemuel The Parochial History of Ackworth, Yorks., with archćological, antiquarian, and biographical notes & records (With an introduction by R. V. Taylor) James Atkinson & Son, Pontefract; Simpkin, Marshall & Co.: London, 1894.
  • Anecdotć Eboracenses. Yorkshire Anecdotes; or, remarkable incidents in the lives of celebrated Yorkshire men and women, etc.

Whittaker & Co.: London, 1883.

  • Anecdota Eboracensia. Yorkshire anecdotes, etc. (Second series) Whittaker & Co.: London, 1887.
  • The Biographia Leodiensis; or, Biographical Sketches of the Worthies of Leeds and neighbourhood, from the Norman Conquest to the present time, etc. London, 1865-67.
  • The Ecclesić Leodienses; or, Historical and Architectural Sketches of the Churches of Leeds and neighbourhood, etc. London, 1875.

rvt portrait

Reviews of 'Ecclesiae Leodienses'

Taken from the Yorkshire Post, February 3 1876

Ecclesiae Leodienses; or Historical and Architectural Sketches of the Churches of Leeds and the Neighbourhood.

By the Rev. R V Taylor, BA, Edlington, Doncaster.

London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co. Leeds: R Jackson.

The author of this work is well known in Leeds, having been formerly an assistant master in the Leeds Grammar School.  It should be stated, to prevent disappointment, that the present book is not a complete work; the materials proving so numerous that the author contemplates a continuation of the work, for which he reserves fuller references than are given in this volume with regard to many of the churches of the borough of Leeds.  A copious appendix contains numerous supplementary notes, making the work as complete as possible, and bringing down the history and particulars of each church to the latest practicable date.  There are several engravings, and means of increasing the pictorial attractiveness of the work are indicated.  There is a very useful and interesting introduction, in which the author describes the various records and documents which chiefly furnish the materials necessary for such a book, and he makes some general but very appropriate remarks on mediaeval church architecture, the elements which enter into the design of a church, and of its furniture and decorations.  We cordially sympathise with the author’s expressed hope that his work will cause growing interest in the preservation and restoration of our parish churches – a subject which, happily, is every day engaging increased attention.  The work, on the whole, will be found to answer admirably the purpose for which it is intended.

Taken from the Wakefield? Herald, Saturday, August 5 1876

“The Ecclesiae Leodienses; or, Historical and Architectural Sketches of the Churches of Leeds and Neighbourhood” by the Rev. R.V.Taylor, B.A., of Edlington Rectory, near Rotherham.

This work is a most important addition to Church history, and will be frequently be consulted.  Mr Taylor has clearly been unwearied in his exertions to compile a reliable and valuable record, and there are abundant evidences in the 520 pages of which the book consists that this task has been a labour of love.  Before commencing his sketches of the several Churches within a circle of ten miles around Leeds, the radius fixed by the author, Mr Taylor treats his readers to an exhaustive essay on Church architecture, from which much interesting information may be gathered.  The arrangement of the sketches is excellent, being alphabetical according to the parishes.  The facts contained in them are presented in a form easily to be grasped, and with a view to render them as perfect as possible, most of the sketches contain the names of the townships of which the parish is composed, the population, the area of the parish in statute acres, the amount of Church Accommodation, the value of the respective benefices, the appropriations of churches and the names of the monastic houses to which they were appropriated, the value of the benefices as stated in the Taxation of Pope Nicholas, the Nonce Rolls, the Liber Regis, and the Parliamentary Survey, information on the subjects of tithes, glebes, charities, augmentations from Queen Anne’s Bounty, the Parochial Charities and Free Grammar Schools, lists of the incumbents, &c., with the dates of institution; lists of curates and churchwardens for the last ten or twelve years, the names of the schoolmasters and mistresses, with some statistics relative to the number of day and Sunday scholars, and the number of baptisms, marriages and burials for the last five or six years.  Mr Taylor has laboured under many disadvantages in compiling his book, not the least of which was his removal from Leeds to Edlington.  He has, however, successfully overcome most of these drawbacks and is to be warmly congratulated on the satisfactory outcome of his labours.  He found, however, that it would be absolutely impossible to do full justice to the whole of the Churches in the area fixed upon, even when those of Wakefield and Bradford are excluded, in one volume, and it is gratifying to learn that Mr Taylor intends to issue a second volume as soon as a sufficient number of subscribers has been obtained to warrant its publication.  This condition ought to be early complied with, for a more useful work as a book of reference as to the Churches of the particular district which it covers, it would be difficult to procure, notwithstanding that the style is not so attractive as many works on ecclesiastical subjects.  Mr Taylor does not rest satisfied with hunting up and referring to innumerable works and documents in the compilation of his book, and simply giving the results of his researches in the body of his sketches, but he reproduces all the more important parts of the information on which his sketches are based, in the form of foot notes, in order that the reader may be in possession of all the particulars he can possibly desire to become acquainted with.  These lengthy notes certainly detract somewhat from the appearance of the book, but their value as corroborative information more than compensates for this drawback.  Among the Churches in our neighbourhood dealt with in this volume are Allerton-Bywater, Ardsley, East and West, Bramham, Castleford, Earlsheaton, Garforth, and Kippax.  There are three or four excellent plates in the book, the most noticeable being a view of Bramham College.  In the second volume, Mr Taylor proposes to include sketches of the following Churches in our vicinity:- Lofthouse, Methley, Osset, South Osset, Rothwell, Thornbill, Walton, and Woodlesford.  We cordially wish the author the success he deserves, and an early re-issue of his first volume.

Taken from a Sheffield newspaper, November 23 1876

A Book About Churches

The Ecclesiae Leodienses; or, Historical and Architectural Sketches of the Churches of Leeds and neighbourhood (within a radius of about ten miles); compiled from various sources and arranged in alphabetical order, according to the parishes; with lists of vicars and incumbents, etc.  Together with an introduction on Church Architecture, and copious indexes.

By the Rev. R.V.Taylor B.A., F.R.H.S., Edlington Rectory, near Rotherham.

London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co.  Leeds: Richard Jackson. 1876.

The learned title of this interesting work need startle nobody.  On examination it will be found that the book itself is an extremely simple one, and that the author has contrived to make a somewhat dull subject attractive if not entertaining.  Without being a profound archaeologist or antiquary one may have a sincere love of ancient churches, and be charmed with the curious traditions which cling to these venerable edifices.  The Rev. R.V.Taylor – late of Sheffield and now of Edlington Rectory, near Rotherham – appears to us to have all the qualifications necessary for the production of what we have taken the liberty of calling “A Book about Churches.”  He is devoted to his subject, is possessed of the requisite knowledge and is gifted with the patience and industry which are indispensable to the successful performance of so laborious a task.  With great modesty he styles himself “the compiler” – leaving the reader to infer that he has merely put together the materials collected by others.  We must be more just to him than he is to himself, and state that even the introductory essay entitles him to the praise of the critic.  If we might “hint a fault” it would be that the work bears evidence of hastiness.  Our suggestion is that he should prepare a second edition, writing a new preface, arranging his materials more systematically and widening the field of his labours.  The present edition has many defects, the source of which is easily detected and the remedy for which is obvious.  The introductory sketch of which we have spoken is in our view by far the most valuable portion of the contents of the volume.  Mr Taylor very truly says that the parochial antiquities of the part of the county of York with which he deals have hitherto been greatly neglected – chiefly, we imagine, because the subject was wrongly supposed to be lacking in interest.  Dugdale, Tanner and Burton have described at large the ancient monastic institutions of Yorkshire, but the humbler parochial records have been left in obscurity.  Mr Taylor mentions the MS. materials extant relative to the ecclesiastical topography of the county, stating that though they are widely dispersed it is quite possible to make them available for the purposes of a general ecclesiastical history of Yorkshire.  He goes beyond his subject now and then to discuss church architecture, and always displays admirable judgement.  For instance he remarks that a –

“A good bell-gable is ten times more beautiful than a wretched steeple, and even the little wooden belfry, which sometimes occurs in Wales, and other rude districts, may be made really beautiful and appropriate, if it be designed by one who has a feeling of beauty and of the picturesque.  It may be a matter of remark, too, that a difference of position will give sufficient importance to a tower, or turret, which would have been mean in the usual place at the west end.  Cramped as architects usually are for pecuniary means, we cannot but wonder that more is not made of the liberty to depart from the more usual arrangements, and to build a beautiful turret instead of an execrable tower.  The nearest approach, probably to any such method of giving importance to a steeple in any late churches, is the raising of the tower from the aisle, instead of from the nave, which gives it a much greater comparative height: an expedient admirably successful in the new Parish Church of Leeds.  Perhaps it may not be too trifling to remark that the elevation of a corner turret above the rest of the tower has an exceedingly pleasing effect to the eye and that one might be gained at a very small charge.”

Certainly a “wretched steeple” is an eye-sore, and a well-proportioned bell-tower, however humble, is greatly to be preferred.  But Churchmen are proverbially ambitious, and so we suppose the “wretched steeple” will continue to be in favour.  Again, speaking of the interior of a church our author observes –

“The walls of a church, which accept many appropriate decorations which might aid the general harmony of effect, are, unhappily, subject  to most wretched incumbrances; and, as in all other cases, we have made them assume the most incongruous appearance possible.  It is more than probable that some huge monument of the most barbarous of all ages in ecclesiastical design, that of James I., or of the most heathenish, that of Queen Anne, and her immediate successors, will be the most obtrusive object on the opposite wall of the church which we are entering.  Our Gothic forefathers, while they did not deface the church with cumbrous barbarisms, or desecrate it with figures of heathen gods and goddesses, erected in honour, it may be, of impious, immoral, and infidel statesmen, heroes, or poets, did make the walls vehicles of instruction and recipients of decoration, often highly elaborate, and generally not a little adapted to their places.”

We have nothing to say about the “infidel statesmen, heroes and poets” – except that memorials of such regenerate persons do not adorn a church.  Why not provide a vast Valhalla in which effigies, busts, and statues of the great ones of the nation might be placed?  After the introduction come the detailed descriptions with which we have nothing to do.  They are ably written, convey all the information that can be desired, and have the merit of being brief and pithy.  There are 140 churches to be described, but Mr Taylor leaves some 70 of these to be dealt with in a second volume.  It is a little odd, considering the title of the book, that the notices of most of the Leeds churches are held over.  The second volume will, we trust, be accompanied by a second edition of the first, in which case we promise Mr. Taylor that his excellent work will earn for him the praise of the public and the gratitude of the inhabitants of the wide and important ecclesiastical district in which he has laboured.

Taken from the Church News? November 25 1876

The Ecclesiae Leodienses; or, Historical and Architectural Sketches of the Churches of Leeds and Neighbourhood (Price 7s. 6d. Leeds: R.Jackson, Commercial Street.)

The Rev.R.V.Taylor, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and of Edlington Rectory, near Rotherham, has devoted much labour to the compilation of this handsome volume, which has been published by subscription, but can be had by other persons.  It contains a careful compilation of all the information, both of old and modern times, which the Churchman would wish to have about his parish church.  The results here arranged methodically must have required much time and labour in research, and appear to have been most conscientiously verified.  A companion volume, containing the Churches in Leeds itself more in detail, is promised, if a sufficient number of subscribers enrol their names to justify the cost of publication.

This website © Grant E. L. Buttars