Nathaniel Crew, 3rd Baron Crew

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Lord Crew, Bishop of Durham.
Arms of Nathaniel Crew as Bishop of Durham
Both his coronet as a Baron and the Bishop of Durham's Earl's coronet are shown

Nathaniel Crew, 3rd Baron Crew (31 January 1633 – 1721) was Bishop of Oxford from 1671 to 1674, then Bishop of Durham from 1674 to 1721. As such he was one of the longest serving bishops of the Church of England.

Crew was the son of John Crew, 1st Baron Crew and a grandson of Sir Thomas Crewe, Speaker of the House of Commons. He was educated at Lincoln College, Oxford and appointed Rector of the college in 1668. He became dean and precentor of Chichester in 1669, Clerk of the Closet to Charles II shortly afterwards, Bishop of Oxford in 1671 and Bishop of Durham in 1674. He owed his rapid promotions to James, then Duke of York, whose favour he had gained by secretly encouraging the duke's interest in the Roman Catholic Church.

After the accession of James II in 1685 Crew was also appointed dean of the Chapel Royal. He was part of the ecclesiastical commission of 1686, which suspended Henry Compton, Bishop of London (for refusing to suspend John Sharp, then rector of St Giles's-in-the-Fields, whose anti-papal writings had rendered him obnoxious to the king) and Crew shared the administration of the see of London with Thomas Sprat, Bishop of Rochester. On the decline of King James's power, Crew dissociated himself from the court, and made a bid for the favour of William III's new government by voting for the motion that James had abdicated. He was excepted from the general pardon of 1690, but afterwards was allowed to retain his see.

He left large estates to be devoted to charitable ends, and his benefaction to Lincoln College and to Oxford University is commemorated in the annual Creweian Oration.[1] In 1697, Crew had succeeded his brother Thomas as 3rd Baron Crew, but the barony became extinct upon his death.

His tenure also saw the first two new parishes to be erected in England since the Reformation. These were at Stockton-on-Tees in 1712 and Sunderland. The Church of the Holy Trinity in Sunderland, now redundant, was the base for responsible local government in the growing port town for the first time since the Borough of Sunderland, created by the Bishops of Durham, was crushed by Oliver Cromwell in the English Civil War.

Crewe also furnished the chapel of Stene Park, Northamptonshire, of which he was owner.


Academic offices
Preceded by
Paul Hood
Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford
Succeeded by
Thomas Marshall
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Walter Blandford
Bishop of Oxford
Succeeded by
Henry Compton
Preceded by
John Cosin
Bishop of Durham
Succeeded by
William Talbot
Honorary titles
Preceded by
In Commission
Lord Lieutenant of Durham
Succeeded by
The Viscount Lumley
Preceded by
The Earl of Scarbrough
Vice-Admiral of Durham
Succeeded by
The Earl of Scarbrough
Lord Lieutenant of Durham
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Thomas Crew
Baron Crew