Canon Paul Taylor was born in 1915, in Liverpool, where his parents were teachers. He had two brothers, one of whom became a Jesuit. In 1933 he won a Double First at Cambridge in the Natural Science Tripos. He left a research project unfinished to go and train for the priesthood at the Albertinaum International Seminary in Fribourg, Switzerland. He was ordained priest in 1943 and remained in Switzerland until the end of the war. During this time he studied for a doctorate at the University of Fribourg, and was awarded his STD in 1945.
In all the 48 years of his priestly ministry, he served in only four parishes: Northampton Cathedral (1945-1955), All Souls' Peterborough (1955-1968), Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Cambridge (1968-1980) and St Etheldreda's, Ely (1980-1993). He retired in 1993, soon after celebrating his golden jubilee of ordination. His final years were spent in Norwich, where he continued his ministry in St George's parish. He continued to celebrate Mass for the residents of the Hillcrest nursing home, up to the final few months of his life.
His 13 years at All Souls were eventful and fruitful times. The new Catholic schools and the daughter churches were opened during these years: the Eastfield Primary school (later St Thomas More) was built in 1957 and officially opened under its present name in 1964. St John Fisher school opened in 1959 as a two form secondary modern. St Oswalds church was opened in 1959, Our Lady of Lourdes in 1965, St Jude the Apostle (Whittlesey) in 1963, The Italian churches in Fletton (1961) and Gladstone St (1962) and St Olga's (celebrating the Ukrainian rite) in Woodston (1964). Mass centres came into being in Stanground, Ufford, Wansford, Sawtry, Yaxley and St Jude's Westwood. All Souls church was consecrated in 1961. The Elwes Hall, in Church Walk. was sold in 1967 to help ease the burden of increasing parish debt
The early 1960's also saw great changes to the liturgy, with a move to English from Latin, following Vatican 11.
Fr Tony Rogers, who knew Canon Taylor very well, describes him as 'guileless, with no intrigue or politicing.' He had an 'impish' sense of humour. He was a great diocesan priest, with a deep understanding of key issues, his ideas reflecting Jesuit and Dominican thinking. His time at Cambridge made a big impression on him, leaving him with a dislike of Honours.
He was always a contemporary in his thinking, sometimes controversial, keeping up to date with the changes within the Church, even after his retirement, by maintaining his deep interest and reading widely.
Canon Paul, respected for his 'deep pastoral wisdom, compassion and sound common sense,' was much involved , in the work of the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal, which he approached with considerable understanding and admirable dedication.
His incisive and tidy mind led him to record in a notebook the exact details of some 20,000 masses he had said.
He was elected a Chapter Canon of Northampton in 1967, and elected a member of the Old Brotherhood of the English secular Clergy in 1969. He was the first Chancellor of the newly created diocese of East Anglia from 1976 until 1992 and was created a Prelate of Honour in 1984.