Crabb, James (DNB00)

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CRABB, JAMES (1774–1851), Wesleyan methodist preacher, was a native of Wilton, Wiltshire, where his father was a cloth manufacturer. He learned the business of his father, for whom he travelled for two years, but afterwards became a teacher of a school at Romsey, Hampshire. Here he married a Miss Radden, whose pious beliefs led him to become a preacher among the Wesleyan methodists, and he ultimately became pastor of a chapel in Southampton, while at the same time retaining his school. At an early period he took an active interest in the welfare of the gipsies in the New Forest, whom he occasionally gathered together and entertained at his house, these ‘gipsy festivals’ being attended by many of the neighbouring gentry. Among various institutions in Southampton which owed their origin to efforts which he initiated were the Hampshire Female Penitentiary, the Kingsland Place Infant Schools, the earliest of the kind in the country, and a Bethel for sailors, with a school for children near the quay. He expounded the needs of the gipsies in a tractate entitled the ‘Gipsies' Advocate,’ and he was also the author of ‘Address to the Irvingites, in which many of their errors are exposed,’ 1838, and ‘Account of the Life and Experience of Captain John Bazin,’ 1838. Crabb is the missionary referred to by Legh Richmond as having brought the ‘Dairyman's daughter to a sense of religion.’ He died 17 Sept. 1851.

[Gent. Mag. 1851, vol. xxxvii. new ser. i. 659–660.]

T. F. H.