John Taylor began his life in Milnthorpe, Westmoreland, England on November 1, 1808 as a child of British aristocracy—the second of ten children. In his youth, he roamed the hills where legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table were born.
As a youth, John organized a prayer group with others in the furniture-making business where he apprenticed. Each day at lunch time he would lead his companions into the hills to pray. His friends came for a little while and then quit. John continued to draw close to God, becoming a Methodist preacher at age 17.