Dr Taylor had a love of conspicuous consumption and ostentatious display. He was known locally as the “King of Ashbourne” and exercised considerable patronage in the town through his habit of periodically giving large amounts of food and drink to the rich and poor alike. Dr Johnson wrote sermons for him but Taylor never preached more than four to five times per year. He did carry out one clerical duty though, preaching at Johnson’s funeral. He had hopes of high office right up until his death, but they were never fulfilled.
Dr John Taylor was the eldest son of Thomas Taylor, a member of a wealthy Ashbourne family, who lived at The Mansion, Church St.