Ricraft, Josiah (DNB00)

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RICRAFT, JOSIAH (fl. 1646), author and merchant, was probably son of James Ricrafte, sailor, of Stepney, by his wife Grace, daughter of John Mills, late of Caneweden, Essex. His parents were married at Saint Faith's, London, on 27 July 1622 (London Marriage Licenses, Harl. Soc. Publ.) Josiah subsequently became a merchant of London, and a writer of much repute among the presbyterians. In 1645 he involved himself in the quarrel between John Goodwin and Thomas Edwards, and was in consequence threatened by an apprentice called George Caudron with personal violence. The committee of both kingdoms accordingly issued, on 12 and 13 May 1645, orders for his protection. He was also accused of correspondence with the royalists (see his Preface to A Nosegay, and Cal. State Papers, 1645, p. 484). At the Restoration he renounced his presbyterian principles (see Cal. State Papers, Car. II, ix. 162, July 1660). In 1679 he appears as a magistrate in the Middlesex county sessions rolls (Middlesex County Record, i. 95, 120).

On 28 June 1671, he, being then a widower and of Stepney, married Barbara Wood of Wapping, widow, aged 26 (Marriage Licenses, Faculty Office, Harl. Soc.).

Ricraft wrote: 1. ‘A Looking Glass for the Anabaptists and the rest of the Separatists, wherein they may clearly behold a brief Refutation of a certain unlicensed scandalous Pamphlet entitled “The Remonstrance of the Anabaptists”’ (see Wilson, Dissenting Churches in London, iv. 413), London, 1645, 4to. 2. ‘The Peculiar Characters of the Oriental Languages and sundry others exactly delineated for the benefit of all such as are studious in the Languages and the choice rareties thereof,’ &c., London, 1645, 4to. 3. ‘A perfect List of the many Victories obtained (through the Blessing of God) by the Parliament's Forces under the Command of his Excellency the Earl of Essex, &c. … to the 14 June 1645,’ single sheet, fol. London, 1645. 4. ‘A Nosegay of rank-smelling Flowers, such as grow in John Goodwins Garden, gathered upon occasion of his late lying libell against Mr. Thomas Edwards,’ London, 1646. 5. ‘A perfect List of the many Victories by God's Blessing upon the Parliamentary Forces under the Command of Sir Thomas Fairfax since 14 June 1645 to the present month of April (1646),’ single sheet, fol. London, 1646. 6. ‘A perfect List of the many Victories, &c.,’ as above, ‘up to 18 Aug. 1646,’ London, 1646, single sheet, fol. ten portraits. 7. ‘A Survey of England's Champions and Truths, Faithfull Patriots, or a Chronologicall Recitement of the principall Proceedings of the most worthy Commanders of the prosperous Armies raised for the Preservation of Religion, the Kings Majesteys person,’ London, 1647. 8. ‘A Funeral Elegy upon the most honoured upon Earth and now glorious in Heaven, his Excellency Robert Devereux, E. of Essex,’ broadside, fifty-eight lines of doggerel, London, 1646.

‘The Civil Warres of England briefly related from his Majestys first Setting-up his Standard 1641 to this present personal hopeful Treaty with the lively Effigies and Eulogies of the Chief Commanders,’ London, 1649, which is falsely said on the title-page to have been collected by John L. Leycester, consists of Ricraft's books, respectively numbered 3, 5, and 6 above, with the addition of twelve pages at the end containing ‘a catalogue of the earls, lords, knights, &c., slain on the parliaments and kings side,’ and one page by Leycester containing ‘the late proceedings of the army to this present’ (September 1648). A portrait of Ricraft, engraved by W. Faithorne, is prefixed to his ‘Oriental Characters’ and ‘Survey of England's Champions.’

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. iii. 253; and authorities cited.]

W. A. S.