3 MARCH 1939, Page 34


THE TAYLORS OF ONGAR By Doris Mary Armitage

Ann and Jane Taylor's great-great niece has put together a pleasant little book (Cambridge : Heifer los. 6d.) about those ladies whose verses for children delighted Walter Scott and still amuse the nursery. Miss Armitage has drawn upon family records to supplement Isaac Taylor's well-known account of his parents and sisters, and she reproduces portraits and views of the Taylors' homes at Lavenham, Colchester and Ongar. Ann and Jane, the eldest of a family of eleven, were the daughters of the Rev. Isaac Taylor, a competent engraver who became a country minister and educated his own children as well as his flock. The Taylors may be said in truth to have cultivated the Muses on a little oatmeal; they were all authors and artists, and their modest household was a literary resort. Ann's verses, added to what he had heard of her from friends, inspired an unknown Nonconformist minister to propose to her by letter before he had seen her, and the marriage that followed was a complete success. Students of heredity should note the Taylor family, in which the three generations with which Miss Armitage deals all had strong artistic leanings, while the next two generations, not mentioned by her, have produced several well-known architects and Canon Isaac Taylor, of Stanford Rivers, who virtually founded the study of place-names.