Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Croft, Herbert (d.1622)

CROFT, Sir HERBERT (d. 1622), catholic writer, was son of Edward Croft, esq. [see under Croft, Sir James], of Croft Castle, Herefordshire, by his wife Ann, daughter of Thomas Browne of Hillborough, Norfolk. He was thus grandson of Sir James Croft [q. v.] He was educated in academicals at Christ Church, Oxford, ‘as his son Col. Sir William Croft used to say, tho' his name occurs not in the Matricula, which makes me think that his stay was short there.’ He sat for Carmarthenshire in the parliament which assembled on 4 Feb. 1588–9; for Herefordshire in that of 19 Nov. 1592; for Launceston in that of 24 Oct. 1597; and again for Herefordshire in that of 7 Oct. 1601. When James I came to the throne Croft waited upon his majesty at Theobald's, and received the honour of knighthood, 7 May 1603. He was again returned as one of the members for Herefordshire to the parliaments which respectively assembled on 19 March 1603–4 and 5 April 1614. After he had lived fifty-two years in the profession of the protestant religion he became a member of the Roman catholic church. Thereupon he retired to St. Gregory's monastery at Douay, and by letters of confraternity (February 1617) he was received among the English Benedictines, ‘who appointing him a little cell within the ambits of their house, he spent the remainder of his days therein in strict devotion and religious exercise.’ He died on 10 April (N.S.) 1622, and was buried in the church belonging to the monastery, where a monument was erected to his memory, with a Latin inscription which is printed in Wood's ‘Hist. et Antiq. Univ. Oxon.’ (1674), ii. 269. Lord Herbert of Cherbury was friendly with Sir Herbert, and refers to him several times in his autobiography.

He married Mary, daughter and heiress of Anthony Bourne of Holt Castle, Worcestershire, and had issue four sons and five daughters. His third son, Herbert Croft [q. v.], became bishop of Hereford.

He wrote: 1. ‘Letters persuasive to his Wife and Children in England to take upon them the Catholic Religion.’ 2. ‘Arguments to shew that the Rom. Church is the true Church,’ written against R. Field's ‘Four Books of the Church.’ 3. ‘Reply to the Answer of his Daughter M. C. (Mary Croft), which she made to a Paper of his sent to her concerning the Rom. Church.’ At the end of it is a small piece entitled ‘The four Ministers of Charinton gagg'd by four Propositions made to the Lord Baron of Espicelliere of the Religion pretended; and presented on S. Martin's Day to Du Moulin in his House, & since to Durand and Mestrezat.’ All these were printed at Douay about 1619 in a 12mo volume of 255 pages. Wood, who had seen the work, states that only eight copies were printed, one for the author himself, another for his wife, and the rest for his children; but all without a title.

[Robinson's Mansions of Herefordshire, p. 82; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 317; Willis's Notitia Parliamentaria, vol. iii. pt. ii. pp. 126, 130, 137, 149, 160, 170; Nichols's Progresses of James I, i. 111; Addit. MS. 32102, f. 145 b; Dodd's Church Hist. ii. 365; Weldon's Chronological Notes, p. 164; Foley's Records, vi. 312; Lord Herbert of Cherbury's Autobiography, 1886; Gent. Mag. new. ser. xxvii. 485–8.]

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