Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Cross, John (1630-1689)

CROSS, JOHN, D.D. (1630–1689), Franciscan friar, was a native of Norfolk, and his real name appears to have been More. He took the habit of St. Francis in or about 1646, and was declared D.D. on 12 Oct. 1672. On 10 May 1674 he was elected provincial of his order in England for three years, and being re-elected on 25 April 1686, he filled the office during an eventful period until 28 Sept. 1689, ‘summa cum laude et omnium satisfactione.’ In 1687 he obtained a ten years' lease of premises near the arches in Lincoln's Inn Fields, previously occupied by the Countess of Bath, and there he established a Franciscan community of ten members. Immediately after the landing of the Prince of Orange the mob made a desperate attack on this residence for a day and a night, and were eventually dispersed by a body of soldiers sent by the king. The rioters contemplated a renewal of the attack, but the king sent an order, through Bishop Leyburn, to the provincial, directing him and the rest of the fathers to retire from the place ‘for prevention of future dangers and inconveniences.’ This they did on 16 Nov. 1688, having first removed their goods and obtained a guard of soldiers from his majesty for the security of the house and chapel. In the ‘Franciscan Register’ is the following remark: ‘By this place 'tis incredible what we lost; perhaps if I should say upwards of 3,000l. I should not be much in the wrong.’ Cross died at Douay on 13 Oct. 1689.

His works are: 1. ‘Philothea's Pilgrimage to Perfection, described in a Practice of Ten Days' Solitude,’ Bruges, 1668, 8vo. 2. ‘De Dialectica.’ Three copies of this work on logic were to be given to every father, by the resolution of the Intermediate Congregation, 12 Oct. 1672. 3. ‘Contemplations on the Life and Glory of Holy Mary, the Mother of Jesus, with a Daily Office agreeing to each Mystery thereof. By J. C., D.D.,’ Paris, 1685, 12mo. Dedicated to the queen dowager. 4. ‘A Sermon preached before the King and Queen on the Feast of the Holy Patriarch St. Benedict,’ 1686. 5. ‘An Apology for the Contemplations on the Life and Glory of Holy Mary, Mother of Jesus. … By J. C.,’ London, 1687, 12mo. Dedicated to Queen Mary, consort of James II. 6. ‘De Juramento Fidelitatis.’

Dodd also attributes to him ‘some divine poems.’ In 1684 the chapter requested him to write a life of Father John Wall, who suffered death at Worcester in 1679, but it does not appear whether he accomplished this task.

[Oliver's Catholic Religion in Cornwall, p. 547; Luttrell's Relation of State Affairs, i. 477; Gillow's Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics, i. 601; Dodd's Church History, iii. 490.]

T. C.