Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Crofton, Zachary

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CROFTON, ZACHARY (d. 1672), non-conformist divine, was born in Ireland and principally educated at Dublin. The unsettled state of Ireland caused him to come to England about 1646, where he arrived with only a groat in his pocket. His first living was at Wrenbury in Cheshire, from which he was expelled in 1648 for refusing to take the engagement. He then came to London, and was for some time minister of St. James's, Garlick Hythe, and then obtained the rectory of St. Botolph, Aldgate, which he held until the Restoration, when he was ejected for nonconformity. Shortly after his ejectment he began a controversy with Bishop Gauden respecting the solemn league and covenant, for the defence of which he was committed to the Tower. Neal (Hist, of the Puritans, iv. 302, ed. 1738) states that this controversy took place before Crofton's ejectment, and that, after lying in prison for a considerable time ' at great expense,' and being forced to petition for his liberty, he was turned out of his parish without any consideration, although he had been 'very zealous for the king's restoration.' Crofton, with his wife and seven children, returned to Cheshire, where, after suffering another short imprisonment, the cause of which is unknown, he supported himself by farming, or, according to Calamy, by keeping a grocer's shop. In 1667 he again came to London and opened a school near Aldgate. He died in 1672. He published a large number of pamphlets and tracts, mostly of a controversial character, and a few sermons. He was a man of hasty temper and prejudiced views, yet of considerable acuteness, as his controversial tracts prove, and of more than average scholarship and ability. His more important writings are: 1. 'Catechising God's Ordinance, delivered in sundry Sermons,' 1656. 2. 'The People's need of a Living Pastor asserted and explained,' 1657. 3. 'Sermons of Psalms xxxiv. 14,' 1660. 4. 'ANAΛHΨIΣ ANEΛHΦΘH, The Fastning of St. Peter's Fetters, by seven links or propositions,' 1660. 5. 'Altar-Worship, or Bowing to the Communion Table considered, as to the novelty, vanity, iniquity, and malignity charged to it,' 1661. 6. 'Berith-anti-Baal; on Zach. Crofton's Appearance before the Prelate Justice of the Peace, by way of rejoinder to Dr. John Gauden,' 1661. 7. 'The Liturgica Considerator considered,' c., 1661. 8. 'The Presbyterian Lash, or Nactroff's Maid Whipt. A Tragi-comedy,' 1661. 9. 'The Hard Way to Heaven explained and applied,' 1662. 10. 'ANAΛHΨIΣ, or St. Peter's Bonds abide, for Rhetoric worketh no Release.'

[Calamy's Nonconformist's Memorial; Neal's History of the Puritans, iv. 302, ed. 1738; Chalmers's Biographical Dictionary; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

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