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The Taylors of Swords
By Bernie Marks, Swords Heritage Centre
The ancient area of Fingal (area of the
stranger) was between the rivers Tolka at
Drumcondra and the river Delvin outside
Balbriggan. When Dublin County Council
was divided the area of north Dublin
retained the name Fingal, but the boundar-
ies were changed so that Fingal now
extends from Balbriggan in the North to the
Strawberry Beds to include Blanchardstown,
Castleknock and Clonsilla. Swords was des-
ignated the county town; the modern,
award-winning Fingal County Hall stands
near the ancient Swords Castle which dates
from c.1200. The Castle was the Summer
Palace of the Norman Archbishops of
Dublin, the first of whom was John Comyn.
The present County Hall stands on the site of
Swords House, the home of the Taylors of
Swords since the 13th century. Because of its
closeness to the Castle it is not surprising that
the Taylors were an Anglo-Norman family
that originated in Beverley in Yorkshire. To
read the history of this illustrious family is like
looking at a `who's who' of the ancient Lords
of the Pale. Edward Taylor of Beverly in York-
shire was `chiefe Faulkner' to King Henry III.
His second son, Nicholas Taylor, settled in
Ireland in 1272, and had a son John. His son,
Walter Taylor of Swords had license from
Robert de Vere, Marques of Dublin to pur-
chase fish of all kind in every harbour in the
county of Dublin, and export them for sale to
Chester or Liverpool. He purchased lands in
Co. Meath and Drogheda. It was his eldest
son Alexander Taylor who built a mansion
house in Swords. In 1403 Alexander was ass -
igned, with two others, to collect a subsidy
within the crosslands of Dublin. He married
Agnes Simcock of Drogheda. His son John
married Agnes Brailes of Co. Meath and their
son, also John, married Katherine Hamlin of
Smithstown. Their son James Taylor married
Anne Seagrave, and had two sons, Richard
the heir, and Robert who became the
founder of the family connected with St.
Richard Taylor of Swords was, in 1548,
appointed to decide what temporal and
spiritual possessions of the dissolved monas-
teries became vested in the Crown. He mar-
ried Isabel, younger daughter of the Hon.
Robert Barnwall and had four daughters. The
eldest Catherine married Christopher de la
Hoyde, Recorder of Drogheda, and sec-
ondly, her cousin Patrick, son of the 4th Lord
Trimlestown, and had one son, Robert Taylor
of Swords. He married Alison Fitzsimons of
Dublin whose mother, Genet St. Lawrence,
was daughter of Robert, Lord Howth. Their
son George Taylor's eldest son, Michael
Taylor of Swords, married Miss Russell of
Drynam, Swords and had two sons, John and
Nicholas. John Taylor was M.P. for Swords in
1630, was expelled for rebellion in 1642, and
married Mary Fagan of Feltrim and had three
sons. The eldest John Taylor was planted in
Connaught in 1653 and married a Miss
Moore of Ballina, Co. Mayo. They had two
sons, Michael and John, who was heir to his
brother. John in time returned to Swords and
married firstly Alicia Browne of Clongowes-
wood. He also married Helen Fagan of
Feltrim and had nine children. The eldest
John married a Miss Cusack of Rathaldron,
and then a Catherine Everard and had
Christopher his heir, George and Penelope
who married Edward Maypother of Co.
Roscommon. Here the line of Taylors of
Swords was coming to an end; Christopher
married Ellen Caulfield and had ten children.
Records of two of their baptisms survive in
local parish registers. James Joseph who did
not marry and Jane Elizabeth who married
Josiah Forster of St. Croix in the West Indies.
Jane inherited through the female line, and
Audeon's Parish. John Taylor's daughter
Agnes married Thomas de la Field of Field-
stown.