Crow, Francis (DNB00)

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CROW, FRANCIS (d. 1692), nonconformist divine, came of a family seated at Hughhead in Scotland, within six miles of Berwick-upon-Tweed. He was born in Scotland, but received his education in France under the care of Louis du Moulin. For a while he acted as usher to a schoolmaster named Webb in the town of Berwick, and subsequently took the degree of master of arts, at what university is not known. Some time before the Restoration he was presented to the vicarage of Hundon, Suffolk, where he continued till the Act of Uniformity ejected him in 1662. After this he removed to Ovington in Essex, where he usually preached twice every Sunday between the times of worship in the parish church, and attracted a large congregation. He next fixed himself at Clare, a mile and a half from Ovington, and laboured there for many years. Once a month he preached at Bury St. Edmunds; indeed, ‘often would he preach up and down every day in the week.’ Towards the close of Charles II's reign, having suffered some persecution, he resolved to retire to Jamaica. Arrived at Port Royal on 30 March 1686, he found, to use his own words, ‘Sin very high and religion very low.’ By way of rebuking the islanders' gross superstition he wrote a little treatise entitled ‘The Vanity and Impiety of Judicial Astrology,’ &c., 12mo, London, 1690. At length, ‘upon K. James's liberty,’ he returned to England, and refusing the offer of a pastorate in London, he went again to his old people in Clare, with whom he continued till his death, which occurred in 1692 at the age of sixty-five. The year after appeared his ‘Mensalia Sacra: or Meditations on the Lord's Supper. Wherein the Nature of the Holy Sacrament is explain'd. … To which is prefixt, a brief account of the author's life and death,’ 12mo, London, 1693. This so-called ‘life’ is merely a pedantic rhapsody, and does not touch upon a single incident in Crow's career.

[Calamy's Nonconformist's Memorial (Palmer), iii. 266–70; Addit. MS. 19102, ff. 289–90.]

G. G.