Crosly, David (DNB00)

CROSLY, DAVID (1670–1744), baptist minister, was born in the neighbourhood of Todmorden, Lancashire, in 1670. He was brought up by a pious aunt, and in his youth worked as a stonemason at Walsden, employing his nights in preaching. He became acquainted with John Bunyan, and ‘travelled about into various parts of the country for the purpose of propagating his religious principles.’ In 1691 he preached a sermon at Mr. Pomfret's meeting-house in Spitalfields, which he published under the title of ‘Samson, a Type of Christ’ (London, 4to, 1691). Early in the following year he was at Bacup, Lancashire, where a meeting-house was built for him and his cousin, William Mitchell, and a few months later he was (according to Ivimey) baptised at Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, and formally called to the ministry on 26 Aug. 1692. He then returned to Bacup, but in May 1695 was appointed minister of a congregation at Tottlebank, near Lancaster. In 1705 he removed to London as pastor of the particular baptist church, Curriers' Hall, London Wall, of which Mr. Hanserd Knollys was the founder. Subsequently (before 1718) retiring into Lancashire, he was followed by unpleasant reports of indiscretions committed in the metropolis, and this habit of ‘notorious immorality,’ whatever it was, still clung to him, and caused his expulsion from communion by the Yorkshire and Lancashire Baptist Association. The scandal he at length overcame, and his personal earnestness and powers as a preacher attracted to him many adherents. At first he resided at Hapton, near Padiham, and subsequently at Goodshaw, where in his old age he kept a school. In 1696 he edited and published ‘The Old Man's Legacy to his Daughters, by N. T.,’ which he reprinted in 1736, with a few additional pages of his own. In 1720 he published a poem entitled ‘Adam, where art Thou? or the Serious Parley;’ and in 1743, ‘The Triumph of Sovereign Grace, or a Brand Pluckt out of the Fire’ (Manchester, 12mo, pp. 127), being the substance of a discourse occasioned by the execution of Laurence Britliffe of Cliviger. In 1744 he republished his sermon, ‘Samson, a Type of Christ,’ with the addition of a discourse on marriage, and a preface by George Whitefield, with whom he conducted a correspondence in his later years. A third edition was printed in 1851. Crosly was reputed ‘one of the largest men in the county,’ his weight for twenty years averaging twenty stone; and his voice must also have possessed considerable vigour, as his discourse on Britliffe was preached, when he was seventy-two, to an open-air audience of four thousand people. He died at Goodshaw in August or September 1744, in his seventy-fifth year. He was succeeded in the pastorate of the Curriers' Hall, Cripplegate, by John Skepp.

[Hargreaves's Life of Rev. John Hirst, 1816, pp. 32 seq.; Wilson's Hist. of Dissenting Churches, ii. 572; Parry's Hist. of Cloughfold Baptist Church, 1876, pp. 62, 202–15; Newbigging's Hist. of the Forest of Rossendale; Tyerman's Life of Whitefield, ii. 105.]

C. W. S.