Taylor, Francis (d. 1621), politician and catholic martyr, was the second son of Robert Taylor of Swords, Co. Dublin, and his wife Elizabeth Golding of the Grange, Portmarnock. As befit the son of a wealthy merchant family with ties to the civic government of Dublin, Taylor was active not only in the commercial life of the Pale, but also in the political life of Dublin. He was one of the sheriffs of Dublin in 1586–7, and was appointed an alderman in 1589. He served as treasurer in 1593–4, 1598–9, 1600–01 (in which year he was also engaged in the collection of rents and debts due to the corporation), 1606–7, 1607–8, and 1615–16, and was mayor of the city in 1595–6. In April 1597 he was one of two agents appointed to present the city's suits to the queen, and thirteen years later he was a member of a nine-man subcommittee of the corporation charged with the formulation of bills for the anticipated Irish parliament on issues of importance to the city.
When a parliament was finally called in 1613 Taylor was one of the two MPs elected for Dublin on 20 April. The election of two catholics angered the government as it planned to propose anti-catholic legislation in parliament. The election had taken place while the protestant mayor, James Carroll (qv), was out of the city. On his return the next day, he ordered that another election be held and that non-Irish residents in the city be allowed to vote in it. This sparked a riot and the ejection of all English from the city hall. At this point the lord deputy, Sir Arthur Chichester (qv), intervened, ordering the arrest or silencing of leading members of the catholic opposition and arranging another election for 27 April at Hoggin Green. Despite catholic complaints of intimidation, electoral fraud, and the inclusion of votes from non-citizens, two protestant members were returned at this second election. The level of tension between the catholic and protestant factions in the Pale was particularly high at this period, and at some time during 1615–16 Taylor was arrested along with a number of other catholic recusants.
Taylor owned a house in Ram Lane, Dublin, which in 1586 was damaged during renovation work on an adjoining schoolhouse. He may also have owned a house in High Street, where his widow is known to have lived after his death, though this may have belonged to his son Thomas. He was married to Gennet (Jennet), daughter of Thomas Shelton, of Dublin, a merchant, with whom he had five sons, Thomas, George, Walter, James, and Robert, and a daughter, Mary. Taylor, apparently suffering from ill health and old age, made his will on 4 January 1621, in which he named his son Thomas his heir, and provided £20 p.a. for his wife. He died in prison 29 or 30 January 1621. His years of imprisonment may have caused him financial problems: in his will he states that he did not own a house, but this may have been because he conveyed his property to friends and relatives to forestall its being confiscated by the crown. He seems to have been buried in St Audoen's church, Dublin, as he had instructed in his will. Having died whilst imprisoned for his religious beliefs, Taylor was soon regarded as a martyr for the catholic faith; within eight years of his death an account of his life, extolling his credentials as a martyr, was published in Paris by John Mullan (Joannes Molanus) entitled Idea togatae constantiae. Taylor was one of the seventeen Irish martyrs beatified by Pope John Paul II on 27 September 1992.