Dr Johnson's father came from Cubley a village 6 miles south of Ashbourne. He is reputed to have written entries for his dictionary in the Temple in the grounds of the Mansion.
Dr Johnson, whose father came from Cubley a village near Ashbourne, was an old school friend of Taylor from their time in Lichfield. Johnson first visited Taylor at the Mansion in 1740, but did not return until the 1770s, when in his 60s, although he came regularly after that. Their correspondence occasionally referred to building works at the Mansion. Dr Johnson also corresponded affectionately with Miss Hill Boothby from Ashbourne Hall.
In 1777 and 1776, Johnson was accompanied on his visits to Ashbourne by his companion and biographer, James Boswell. Boswell was impressed by the Mansion and Taylor’s hospitality, but not by the comeliness of the female servants. Johnson’s last visit was in 1784, by which time he was finding the visits less pleasurable, writing that “time passed heavily but he could not get away”. Taylor preached at Johnson’s funeral.