Crane, Nicholas (DNB00)

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CRANE, NICHOLAS (1522?–1588?), presbyterian, of Christ's College, Cambridge, was imprisoned in 1568 for performing service in the diocese of London out of the Geneva prayer-book, which he called ‘the most sincere order,’ and for railing against the usages of the church. After a year's imprisonment he was released by the interposition of Bishop Grindal on making a promise to behave differently. As he did not keep this promise the bishop inhibited him. The Londoners of his party complained of this prohibition to the council, alleging that the bishop's conduct drove them ‘to worship in their houses.’ Grindal wrote to the council, pointing out that his action in the matter had been misrepresented. Crane's failure to keep his promise is said to have been the reason why Sandys, on succeeding Grindal in the see of London in 1570, called in all ‘the clerks' tolerations.’ He now appears to have taken up his residence at Roehampton, Surrey, and in 1572 joined in setting up a presbytery, ‘the first-born of all the presbyteries in England’ (Fuller, iv. 384), at the neighbouring village of Wandsworth. His nonconformity was grounded rather on disapproval of the vestments and usages prescribed by the church than on dissent from her doctrines. In 1577 he signed a letter from nine ministers to Cartwright, who was then abroad, declaring that the writers continued steadfast in their opposition to ceremonies, and in 1583 he subscribed the Latin epistle exhorting Cartwright to publish his confutation of the Rhemish translation of the New Testament in spite of the prohibition of the archbishop. His name is also attached to the petition sent by the imprisoned nonconformists to the lord treasurer. By June 1588 he had died in Newgate ‘of the infection of the prison’ at the age of 66. He married Elizabeth Carleton, and left children by her. His reasons for nonconformity are contained in ‘Parte of a Register,’ pp. 119–24 (Brook). In the summer and autumn of 1588 Udall, Penry, and the printer Waldegrave were at Mrs. Crane's house at East Molesey, Surrey, a case of type was brought thither from her house in London, and the ‘Demonstration of Discipline,’ and the first of the Martin Marprelate books, ‘The Epistle,’ were printed there.

[Strype's Grindal, pp. 226–31, Whitgift, p. 482, Annals, II. i. 40, iv. 130 (8vo edit.); Brook's Puritans, i. 362, ii. 246; Memoir of Cartwright, p. 220; Fuller's Church History, iv. 384 (ed. 1845); Arber's Introductory Sketch to the Martin Marprelate Controversy, passim; Waddington's John Penry, pp. 24, 178, 225; Cooper's Athenæ Cantab. ii. 39.]

W. H.