Crashaw, William (DNB00)
|←Crashaw, Richard||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 13
CRASHAW, WILLIAM (1572–1626), puritan divine and poet, son of Richard Crashaw of Handsworth, near Sheffield, Yorkshire, by his wife, Helen, daughter of John Routh of Waleswood, was born at Handsworth, and baptised there on 26 Oct. 1572 (Works of Richard Crashaw, ed. Grosart, ii. p. xxii). He was educated at Cambridge, in St. John's College, which he called his ‘deere nurse and spirituall mother,’ and admitted a sizar of the college on 1 May 1591. Two years afterwards the bishop of Ely's fellowship at St. John's became vacant by the death of Humphrey Hammond; and as the see was then unoccupied, the right of nomination became vested in the queen, who in a letter to the fellows, dated from Windsor on 15 Jan. 1593–4, states that she had been ‘crediblie informed of the povertie and yet otherwise good qualities and sufficiencie’ of William Crashaw, B.A., and requires them to admit him, ‘vnless you shall knowe some notable and sufficient cause to the contrarie.’ He was accordingly admitted on the 19th of that month (Baker, Hist. of St. John's, ed. Mayor, i. 187, 291, 438). The date of his B.A. degree is not recorded; but he doubtless took it in 1591–2. After being ordained he became ‘preacher of God's Word,’ first at Bridlington and then at Beverley in Yorkshire. He commenced M.A. in 1595, and proceeded to the degree of B.D. in 1603. In 1604 he was collated to the second prebend in the church of Ripon, and he held it till his death (Hist. of Ripon, ed. 1806, p. 103). He was appointed preacher at the Inner Temple, London, and next was presented by Archbishop Grindal to the rectory of Burton Agnes, in the diocese of York, on the death of Robert Paly (Addit. MS. 24487, f. 35). Adrian Stokes, however, denied the title of the archbishop to the advowson, and presented William Grene, clerk, who was admitted and instituted to the rectory. Sir Edward Coke, the attorney-general, intervened in the dispute on behalf of the queen, the result being that Crashaw was removed from the living in Trinity term, 43 Eliz. (Coke, Booke of Entries, pp. 494–6).
On 4 July 1609 he was ‘convented’ before the convocation of the province of Canterbury for publishing an erroneous book, which appears to have been his translation of the ‘Life of the Marchese Caraccioli.’ He confessed, and was ready to retract. The archbishop accepted his submission, ordered him to retract, and dismissed him (Cardwell, Synodalia, ii. 591 n, 595). Writing to Sir Robert Cotton from the Temple, on the 19th of the same month, he says: ‘The grief and anger that I should be so malitiously traduced by my lords the byshops (whom I honour) hath made me farr out of temper, and put me into an ague, which in these canicular dayes is dangerouse’ (Cotton MS. Julius C. iii. 126). Among the ‘State Papers’ for 1609 is a statement by him containing what he knew about ‘the discovery of that damnable libell, the Puritanus’ (Calendar of State Papers, Dom. 1603–10, p. 536). In 1610 he addressed to Sir Julius Cæsar, chancellor of the exchequer, a letter testifying to Sir Thomas Cæsar's godly disposition on the morning of his death (Addit. MS. 12497, f. 467).
He became prebend of Osbaldwick in the church of York on 2 April 1617 (Le Neve, Fasti, ed. Hardy, iii. 208), and on 13 Nov. 1618 was admitted to the church of St. Mary Matfellon, or Whitechapel, London, on the presentation of Sir John North and William Baker (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 468 n.) He died in 1626, and his will was proved on 16 Oct. in that year.
He was twice married. His first wife was the mother of the poet, Richard Crashaw [q. v.] He married secondly, at All Hallows Barking, on 11 May 1619, Elizabeth Skinner, daughter of Anthony Skinner of that parish, gentleman (Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. ii. 424, 425). This second wife is commemorated in a privately printed tractate entitled ‘The Honovr of Vertve, or the Monument erected by the sorowfull Husband, and the Epitaphes annexed by learned and worthy men, to the immortall memory of that worthy gentlewoman, Mrs. Elizabeth Crashawe, who died in child-birth, and was buried in Whit-Chappell, October 8, 1620. In the 24 yeare of her age.’ Archbishop Ussher preached her funeral sermon, ‘at which sermon and funerall was present one of the greatest assemblies that ever was seene in man's memorie at the buriall of any priuate person.’ Crashaw placed a monument to her memory in the chancel of Whitechapel Church (Stow, Survey, ed. Strype, ii. 45).
Crashaw was a good scholar, an eloquent preacher, and a strong protestant. His principal works are: 1. ‘Romish Forgeries and Falsifications, together with Catholike Restitutions,’ London, 1606, 4to. 2. ‘Newes from Italy, of a second Moses, or the life of Galeacius Caracciolus, the noble Marquesse of Vico,’ translated, London, 1608, 4to. Other editions appeared, some of which are entitled ‘The Italian Convert’ (Brydges, Censura Literaria, ed. 1809, x. 105). 3. ‘The Sermon preached at the Crosse, Feb. xiiij. 1607. Justified by the Authour, both against Papist and Brownist, to be the truth: Wherein this point is principally followed; namely, that the religion of Rome, as now it stands established, is worse than ever it was,’ London, 1608, 4to. 4. ‘A Sermon preached before the right honorable the Lord Lawarre, Lord Governour and Captaine Generall of Virginea, and others of his Maiesties Counsell for that Kingdome, and the rest of the Adventurers in that Plantation, Feb. 21, 1609,’ London, 1610, 4to (Anderson, Hist. of the Church of England in the Colonies, i. 232–93). Mr. Grosart says ‘there is no nobler sermon than this of the period.’ 5. ‘The Jesuites Gospel, written by themselves, discovered and published,’ London, 1610, 1621, 4to; reprinted in 1641 under the title of ‘The Bespotted Jesuite, whose Gospell is full of Blasphemy against the Blood of Christ,’ London, 1641, 4to; and again in 1643, under the title of ‘Loyola's Disloyalty, or the Jesuites in Open Rebellion against God and His Church,’ London, 1643, 4to. 6. ‘Manuale Catholicorum: a Manuall for true Catholickes (Enchiridion piarum Precum et Meditationum. A Handful, or rather a Heartfull of Holy Meditations and Prayers),’ Latin and English, London, 1611, 12mo. A poetical work, in two divisions. Other editions appeared in 1616 and 1622. 7. ‘Consilium quorundam Episcoporum Bononiæ congregatorum quod de ratione stabiliendæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Julio III Pont. Max. datum est. Quo artes et astutiæ Romanensium et arcana Imperii Papalis non pauca propalantur,’ London, 1613, 4to. Dedicated to Henry, earl of Southampton. 8. ‘The Complaint, or Dialogue betwixt the Soule and the Bodie of a damned man. Supposed to be written by S. Bernard, from a nightly vision of his; and now published out of an ancient manuscript copie,’ London, 1616, 16mo. This is the most remarkable of Crashaw's writings in verse. The poem, the original and translation of which occupy alternate pages, is divided into eighty-five verses, as a dialogue between the author, a soul departed, a dead carcase, and the devils. The volume, consisting of thirty-four leaves, is dedicated to some of the translator's friends, benchers of the Inner Temple (Lowndes, Bibl. Man. ed. Bohn, p. 550). 9. ‘Fiscus Papalis, sive Catalogus Indulgentiarum et reliquiarum septem principalium Ecclesiarum Urbis Romæ, ex vet. MS. descriptus,’ London, 1617, 1621, 4to. 10. ‘Milke for Babes, or a North Countrie Catechisme, made plaine and easy to the capacitie of the countrie people,’ second impression, London, 1618, 16mo. 11. ‘The Parable of Poyson. In five sermons of spirituale poyson,’ London, 1618, 8vo. 12. ‘The New Man; or a Supplication from an unknowne person, a Roman Catholike, unto James, the Monarch of Great Brittaine, touching a necessity of a Generall Councell to be forthwith assembled against him that now usurps the Papall Chaire under the name of Paul the Fifth,’ London, 1622, 4to. 13. ‘The Fatall Vesper, or a trve and pvnctvall rela- tion of that lamentable and fearfull accident, hapning on the 26 of October last by the fall of a roome in the Black-Friers, in which were assembled many people at a Sermon which was to be preached by Father Drvrie, a Iesvite,’ London, 1623, 4to. Generally attributed to Crashaw (Cat. of the Huth Library, i. 365). 14. ‘Ad Severinum Binnium Lovaniensem Theologum Epistola Commonitoria super Conciliorum Generalium editione ab ipso nuper adornata,’ London, 1624, 4to. 15. ‘Mittimus to the Jubilee at Rome, or the Rates of the Pope's Custom-House, sent to the Pope as a New Year's Gift from England,’ London, 1625, 4to. 16. ‘A Discoverye of Popishe Corruption, requiringe a kingley reformation,’ Royal MS. 17 B. viii.[Authorities cited above; also Addit. MS. 5865 f. 28, 12497 f. 467, 17083 f. 145 b; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. vii. 111, 4th ser. iii. 219, 314, 370, 440, 511, 5th ser. iv. 289, 377; Cowie's Cat. of MSS. and Scarce Books at St. John's College, Camb. pp. vi, 16, 24, 39, 43, 47, 113; Black's Cat. of Ashmolean MSS. p. 310; Parr's Life of Archbishop Ussher, 12–15, 55; Selden's Table Talk, 3rd edit. p. 87; Gent. Mag. February 1837, p. 151.]