Robert Crowley (printer)

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Robert Crowley also Robertus Croleus, Roberto Croleo, Robart Crowleye, Robarte Crole, and Crule (c. 1517 – 18 June 1588), was a stationer, poet, polemicist and Protestant clergyman who was among the Marian exiles at Frankfurt. Crowley appears to have been a Henrician Evangelical who favoured a more reformed Protestantism than was sanctioned at that time by the king and the Church of England.

Under the more favourable conditions of the brief reign of Edward VI, Crowley took part in a well-organised London network of evangelical stationers to argue for the reforms he sought, particularly on behalf of ordinary people, for the spiritual and material health of the nation. In this regard he resembles his contemporaries Hugh Latimer, Thomas Lever, Thomas Beccon, and others, who upheld a vision of England as a reformed Christian commonwealth. Like these others, Crowley attacked what he perceived as corruption and uncharitable self-interest among the clergy and wealthy, land-holding elites whom Crowley saw as inhibiting the progress of true reform. It was during this time that Crowley participated as writer, editor, and/or printer in the production of the first printed editions of Piers Plowman, the first translation of the gospels into Welsh, and the first complete metrical psalter in English, which was also the first English psalter with harmonised music.

Toward the end of Edward's reign and later, Crowley criticised the Edwardian Reformation as being compromised by self-serving, insufficiently reformed aristocrats, and he came to regard the Dissolution of the Monasteries, not as a boon to the people as was originally hoped, but as the replacement of one form of corruption by another. Upon his return to England following the reign of Mary I, Crowley produced a revised and up-dated version of a historical chronicle in which he represented the Edwardian Reformation as a substantial failure because of the corruption of its supposed supporters such as Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley; Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset; and John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland. In Crowley's account of the Marian persecutions and martyrs he represents them as the tragic but potentially redemptive cost – mostly paid by commoners – for the failures of the Edwardian Reformation. This work became the basic source for John Foxe's account of the Marian period in his famous Book of Martyrs.

In the early to mid 1560s Crowley held several positions in the church, and he focused his energies on effecting change from the pulpit and within the church hierarchy. In reaction to what has often been called the Elizabethan Religious Settlement despite its failure to achieve a true consensus, Crowley led the anti-vestiarian faction in resuming the vestments controversy which had taken place during the reign of Edward VI. This role eventually cost Crowley all his clerical offices. During this dispute he produced, in collaboration with other London clergy, what has been called by Patrick Collinson "the first Puritan manifesto". Late in life Crowley was restored to several positions within the church, and he appears to have charted a more moderate course by defending the established church from both Roman Catholicism and the more extreme, emerging nonconformist and Puritan factions which espoused a Presbyterian church polity.

Early life[edit]

Crowley was born in about 1517 in Gloucestershire, possibly in Tetbury, although John Bale says that he was a native of Northamptonshire, and A. B. Emden's A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford says that Crowley was twenty on 25 July 1539. Crowley himself wrote in 1578 that he was then sixty-one years old.

Crowley began his studies at the University of Oxford in about 1534, and was listed as a demy1 of Magdalen College on 25 July 1539. He experienced an evangelical conversion about this time which entailed religious convictions more in line with continental Protestant reformers, but quite at odds with the Church of England under Henry VIII and the Act of Six Articles, known to those who chafed under it as "the whip with six strings". Magdalen was then "a hotbed of evangelicals," according to Brett Usher. Four of its members during this period became bishops under Elizabeth I, and with Crowley, Lawrence Humphrey was a key leader in the vestments controversy that took place during her reign. Most of the Magdalen evangelicals became exiles under Mary I, and their influence was purged from the college by Stephen Gardiner in 1554.

Crowley received his B.A. on 19 June 1540, and became Probationer Fellow on 26 July 1541 or 1542. In 1542 he became a Fellow of Magdalen College, but he left the same year. Crowley's departure may have been due to a purge of evangelicals, or because, like John Foxe, he objected to the necessity of taking holy orders which entailed a vow of celibacy. It is known that Foxe, like many evangelicals, did not accept the rationale for mandatory clerical celibacy, and evidently Crowley did not either, as he married some years later. At this time Foxe also left the college, naming Crowley and the future bishop Thomas Cooper in a letter to Magdalen's president, Owen Oglethorpe, as being among his circle. Foxe described this group of his fellows as being persecuted by other members of the college, although – unlike Foxe and Crowley – Cooper did not leave the university, and while Oglethorpe himself was no evangelical, years later in Crowley's psalter's dedication letter to him, Crowley holds his former teacher in high regard.

From 1542 to about 1546 Crowley tutored for the Protestant household of Sir Nicholas Poyntz (1510–1556/7) in Iron Acton, Gloucestershire, his own home county. (Poyntz's aunt on his father's side, Lady Anne Walsh and wife of Sir John Walsh of Little Sodbury, had taken in William Tyndale as a tutor for their sons from 1521 to 1522/1523.) At the same time as Crowley, Foxe found a similar arrangement, following a pattern whereby promising, young, university-educated men who sought greater changes in the church were supported by members of the lesser nobility until political circumstances were more favourable for public and institutional engagement.

London publishing career under Edward VI[edit]

Political circumstances changed greatly with the death of the king. Reformist hopes for the church were high under the boy king, Edward VI, whose uncle, Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, held the real reins of power as Lord Protector during Edward's minority. Both were sympathetic to the reformist cause.

Perhaps anticipating the death of Henry VIII, Crowley had moved to London by the end of 1546, and according to William Herbert's Typographical Antiquities he was possibly working as a proof-reader for an evangelical printer, John Day, and perhaps later William Seres as well. Seres and Day became partners in late 1547, and remained together until 1550. In 1547 they were working in Holborn Conduit in St Sepulchre's parish at the sign of the Resurrection, but as William Cecil's servant, Seres was able to acquire Peter College for his printing operation. This was a former chantry at St Paul's Cathedral, part of which became Stationers' Hall in 1554. Between 1549, when he became a member of the Stationers' Company, and 1551, when he was ordained, Crowley wrote eleven or twelve books, and edited, translated, or acted as printer or publisher of seven others (see below, Crowley's status as a printer).

Crowley may have been involved in the preparation and publication of several books between 1546 and 1548; he certainly participated in the production of some of them. There were two editions of A Supplication of the Poor Commons c. 1546, which may have been written by Henry Brinkelow alone or possibly in association with Crowley. One of these editions included a reprint of Simon Fish's A Supplication of Beggars (c. 1529), which famously attacked the doctrine of purgatory as a politically and economically disabling deception inflicted on the English people. Both "supplications" presented socioeconomic and religious reform as two integral aspects of a single response to the major problems of the day. The other early imprint with some connection to Crowley was a treatise on the true, biblical meaning of the Lord's supper, with a rebuttal of Thomas More's arguments in favour of the Catholic doctrines on that subject. This tract was printed in three editions, and is attributed to William Tyndale (it is also sometimes attributed to George Joye). It includes an introductory epistle, "To all the studious readers", that is signed by Crowley.

The first books that are unambiguously Crowley's issued from Day and Seres' press in 1548, when Seres became a freeman of the Stationers' Company. These were a refutation of Nicholas Shaxton's sermon at Anne Askew's burning in 1546, in which Shaxton recanted his evangelical beliefs, a refutation of Miles Huggarde's arguments for transubstantiation in a lost ballad called The Abuse of ye blessed sacrament of the aultare, and An information and peticion, which must have been written before December 1547, since it refers to the Act of Six Articles as being unrepeated. Crowley's response to Hogarde contains the only source for Huggarde's original poem, since Crowley quotes it in full in order to refute it passage by passage. An informacion and peticion addresses parliament on behalf of economically distressed commoners, and follows an established tradition of social complaint regarding the abuses of wealthy landlords, such as rack-renting, engrossing (the consolidation of several smaller strips into one hedged farm, separated from the rest of the common land), and enclosure. Appearing in two English editions and two Latin editions translated from the English by J. Heron and possibly published by Stephen Mierdman, the full title is An informacion and peticion agaynst the oppressours of the pore commons of this real me, compiled and imprinted for this only purpose that amongst them that haue to doe in the Parliamente, some godlye mynded men, may hereat take occasion to speak more in the matter then the authoure was able to write. If the wealthy fail to reform themselves, Crowley warns that divine retribution will follow, and he looks to the crown to make things right. This is the pattern of a number of Crowley's subsequent Edwardian publications, and for that reason he has been associated with other social critics of the day, such as Thomas Lever, Thomas Beccon, and Hugh Latimer. Some influential 20th-century historians have referred to these men as constituting a "commonwealth party", but G.R. Elton succeeded in sweeping away this romantic designation. The existence of a "commonwealth party" is now widely rejected, and its supposed members are unlikely to be described in terms of a collective movement.

In 1549 Richard Grafton and Mierdman published Crowley's The Psalter of Dauid newly translated into English metre in such sort that it maye the more decently, and with more delete of the mynde, be reade and songe of all men. Wherunto is added a note of four parties.... There is an introduction in English, and a dedicatory epistle to Owen Oglethorpe, president of Magdalen College, Oxford at that time and when Crowley had been a student and fellow there. (Crowley's psalter is discussed in greater detail under the entry for metrical psalters.)

Crowley's next publications included a large number of polemical social works, often poems, some of which appeared in several editions:

  • A new years gyfte, wherein is taught the knowledge of our self and the fear of God. Worthy to be geuen and thankfully receyued of al Christen men (1549)
  • The voyce of the laste trumpet blowen bi the seue[n]th angel (as is me[n]tioned in the eleuenth of the Apocalips) callynge al the estates of menne to the right path of their vocation, wherin are contayned xii. lessons to twelue seueral estates of menne, whych if they learne and folowe, al shal be well and nothynge amise (1549)
  • One and thyrtye epigrammes, wherein are bryefly touched so many abuses, that maye and ought to be put away (1550)
  • The way to wealth, wherein is plainly taught a most present remedy for sedicion (1550)
  • A myroure or glasse for all spiritual ministers to beholde them selues in, wherein they may learne theyr office and duitie towardis the flocke committed to their charg gathered out of Holy Scripture and Catholyke doctours, by Peter Pykeryng seruant to the Ryght Worshipful Syr Anthonie Neueil Knyght, and one of the Kingis Maiesties councel established in the northe, and sent to Syr Avon Todkyll vycar of South Leuerton, and other his co[m]plsis in Notyngham thyre for a newe yeres gyfte (1550)

There are also two books of uncertain authorship published during this period which may have been Crowley's work:

  • Pyers plowmans exhortation, vnto the lordes, knightes and burgoysses of the Parlyamenthouse. Imprinted at London: By Anthony Scoloker dwelling in the Sauoy tentes. without Templebarre (1550?)
  • Vita fatrum mendicantium (c. 1550)

Authorship of Pyers plowmans exhortation is speculatively attributed to Crowley by Barbara Johnson in Reading Piers Plowman and The Pilgrim's Progress: Reception and the Protestant Reader (Southern Illinois University Press, 1992). Vita fratrum medicantium is a lost medieval text that was printed around 1550, perhaps with Crowley's involvement. In his catalogue John Bale names Peter Pateshull as its author and R. Kylington as the translator. Pateshull was an Augustinian divine at Oxford c.1387, whom Wycliffe had persuaded to preach against the Augustinian friars. His text is a commentary on Hildegard of Bingen's prophecy against friars, which was enshrined as proto-Protestant lore in Foxe's Actes and Monuments.[1].

Next came Crowley's three editions of Piers Plowman in 1550, as well as an edition of the prologue to John Wycliffe's translation of the Bible, which was written by John Purvey and wrongly attributed to Wycliff by Crowley on John Bale's authority. A 1540 recension of this text had been printed as: The dore of holy scripture. Crowley's version contains a signed note "To the reader". A running head reads: "The pathwaye to perfect knowledg", and Crowley's title page for the book reads: "The true copye of a prolog wrytten about two C. yeres paste by Iohn Wycklife (as maye iustly be gatherid bi that, that Iohn Bale hath writte[n] of him in his boke entitlid the Summarie of famouse writers of the Ile of great Brita[n]) the originall whereof is founde written in an olde English Bible bitwixt the olde Testament and the Newe. Whych Bible remaynith now in ye Kyng hys maiesties chamber". Also in 1550 Crowley printed three books by the Welsh scholar William Salisbury (or Salesbury) concerning the Welsh language, some anti-Roman Catholic polemics, and an ancient Welsh precedent for clerical marriage. In 1551 Crowley published a fourth Salesbury text, a Welsh translation of the epistle and gospel readings from the 1549 Book of Common Prayer.

In 1551 Crowley printed a poetic work "for John Case dwelling in Peter Coledge rentes"; its title is: The knoledge of good and iuyle, other wyse calyd Ecclesiastes, ryght excelente and worthy, of all men to be had in mynde now a newe set fourth in meter. by pore Shakerlaye. Two original long poems by Crowley were also printed by him that year: Philargyrie of Greate Britayne (a political-religious allegory) and Pleasure and payne, heauen and hell: Remembre these foure, and all shall be well.

Crowley's status as a printer[edit]

There is some scholarly disagreement about whether or not Crowley actually operated or managed a press that he owned or leased. On the one hand, Olga Illston’s "A Literary and Bibliographical Study of Robert Crowley" (M.A. Thesis, London University, 1953) is the basis for the Revised Short Title Catalogue (STC or RSTC) and current ESTC identification of Richard Grafton, the King's printer, as the printer of many of Crowley's books under Edward VI. Illston demonstrates that the initial blocks used in Crowley's books between 1549 and 1551 belonged to Grafton, and she notes the frequent use of the same type in Grafton and Crowley imprints. This led to the STC revisers and other scholars, most notably John N. King, to conclude that Crowley never had his own press, but was only a bookseller. The revised STC generally follows Illston, although Illston attributed the printing of Crowley's Psalter to Richard Jugge with assistance from Grafton; the revised STC, King, and other sources identify Stephen Mierdman as its printer.

Prior to Crowley's arrival in London, Grafton had been imprisoned three times for printing-related offences: twice in 1541 (for a "sedicious [sic] epistle of Melanctons" and ballads defending Thomas Cromwell), and then in 1543, for the Great Bible. The possibility arises, therefore, that Grafton used Crowley's imprint "as a conduit for radical publication, but at a safe remove", as R. Carter Hailey suggests in "Giving Light to the Reader: Robert Crowley's Editions of Piers Plowman (1550)" (Ph.D. thesis, University of Virginia, 2001): 15 and "'Geuyng light to the reader': Robert Crowley's Editions of Piers Plowman (1550)", Publications of the Bibliographical Society of America 95.4 (2001): 483–502. This semi-surreptitious printing was an attempt, in King's estimation, by Protector Somerset and his supporters "to shape public opinion in secret" (English Reformation Literature, 96–7; repeated in King's "The Book-trade under Edward VI and Mary I", in Lotte Hellinga and J. B. Trapp, eds., vol. 3, 1400–1557, The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999]: 167–8). However, this argument for a connection to Somerset depends on tenuous links drawn between the Protector and Crowley via Grafton and/or Lady Elizabeth Fane. (See below, Crowley's patrons.)

On the other hand, Peter M. W. Blayney contends that the revised STC erroneously indicates that Grafton printed Crowley's works. Blayney believes that the revisers realised that the ornamental "A" in Crowley's The baterie of the Popes Botereulx (1550): A6r (STC 21613) "had once belonged to Grafton", but they did not know that "the person from whom Crowley borrowed it was almost certainly not Grafton but John Day, who apparently acquired it from Grafton in 1548 (STC 23004) and never returned it (2087.5, 6849.5, 7633.3, etc.)". Additionally, Blayney suggests that the STC revisers were misled by another fact:

"In and after 1560, Grafton's son-in-law Richard Tottel used quite a lot of Grafton's old ornament stock. It has long been the received opinion that when Mary Tudor deprived Grafton of his royal office, he immediately sold off his printing house and equipment to Robert Caly — except, of course, for the various bits and pieces that Tottell allegedly used to set up shop in that same year. In fact, that is not what happened at all. What Grafton did with his printing house was to sublet it to Caly — and when Elizabeth acceded in late 1558 he took it back and attempted to re-start his own career (STC 16291 of 1559 was really printed by Grafton, as the titlepage claims). By the end of 1559 he had realised that it wasn't going to work — and it was not until then that Grafton stopped paying the rent for his printing house and Tottell acquired his supply of ex-Grafton initials."
(Peter W. M. Blayney, letter to R. Carter Hailey, 5 January 2001).

The appearance of Grafton's blocks in Crowley's books is, on this view, insufficient evidence from which to conclude that Crowley did not print them himself or, moreover, that he never had a printing house at all. Blayney believes that Crowley did have a press and printed the works that bear his name from 1550 to 1551, except for a few titles printed entirely or in part by Day and/or Mierdman:

"The three 'Crowley' books of 1549 seemingly were printed for him by others: STC 2725 by Stephen Mierdman (only); 6087 and 6094 by John Day. Also by Day is 6096 (dated 1550), while the double-dated 6095 was either printed partly by Day or partly by Crowley himself or (more likely) by Crowley alone but with a few ornamental initials borrowed from Day. All the other Crowley books of 1550–51 that I've seen are the work of Crowley alone—as I assume are the only two I haven't seen, namely 2761.5 and 19897.3. Crowley also printed STC 25852 for Robert Stoughton, but without putting his name on it."
(Peter W. M. Blayney, letter to R. Carter Hailey, 5 January 2001)

Blayney's revised attributions are discussed and listed in Hailey's dissertation; they are expected to appear in Blayney's forthcoming book, The Stationers' Company and the Printers of London, 1501[2].

Crowley's patrons[edit]

As discussed in the previous section, Crowley has been linked with Grafton, the King's Printer under Edward VI, and some speculate that through Grafton Crowley had some measure of support from Somerset and other reform-minded political elites. However, it is far from certain that Crowley had Somerset or other highly placed patrons supporting his various projects, and it is in any case tenuous to assume that the existence of direct or indirect support implies a unity of thought and purpose rather than a contingent, pragmatic alliance.

This is especially true in the case of Somerset, who fell from power just before Crowley's most prolific publishing period. Crowley cast Somerset in a less than positive light in alterations and continuations that he made in his 1559 revised and updated version of Thomas Lanquet and Thomas Cooper's chronicle. Crowley's Philargyrie may also offer veiled criticism of some of Somerset's perceived military and political failings from 1547-1550. Philargyrie and other of Crowley's Edwardian works take the dim view of John Bale and other reformers of Protestant elites like Somerset who benefitted financially from the Reformation, particularly the monastic dissolutions. (See the entry for Somerset House.) Bale, for his part, appealed in the dedication of his Summarium for patronage from the king (and indirectly, it would seem, Protector Somerset), but no such support was forthcoming until Somerset had been succeeded by his rival, John Dudley. In general, Crowley's work demonstrates a consistent and progressively emphatic scepticism toward and frustration with the nobility and clerical elites.

The argument in favour of the existence of aristocratic Edwardian patronage for Crowley was first made and is most extensively laid out in an unpublished dissertation by Frederica M. Thomsett where Crowley is connected with Somerset via Lady Elizabeth Fane. John N. King subsequently remarked in several articles, and in his English Reformation Literature (Princeton University Press, 1982) that Crowley had support from Somerset via the patronage of Lady Elizabeth Fane (or Vane), wife of Sir Ralph Fane, one of Somerset's close supporters, who was executed shortly after Somerset in 1552. Following King in identifying Lady Fane as Crowley's patroness are J. W. Martin and, more recently, Graham Parry's contribution to The Cambridge History of Early Modern Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).

The evidence for Lady Fane's patronage is Crowley's dedication to her of his Pleasure and Payne, Heaven and Hell... (London, 1551), STC 6090, and Andrew Maunsell's record in The First Part of the Catalogue of English Printed Bookes (London: John Windet for Andrew Maunsell, 1595): 1.85r. Maunsell cites a lost 1550 Crowley imprint of Lady Elizabeth Vane her certain psalms of godly meditation in number 21, With 102 proverbs. (See also Joseph Ames, Typographical Antiquities, 271.) Jennifer Loach, in Edward VI (Yale University Press, 1999): 62, notes that Lady Fane is Crowley's "only possible link, and a tenuous one, with Somerset". Nevertheless, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entries on Lady Fane and Crowley have taken the Crowley-Fane-Somerset link as a fact, with the former stating that in the dedication to Pleasure and Payne Crowley called Lady Fane "his 'liberall parones'".

On the contrary, Crowley's dedication appears to be a customary bid for patronage rather than an indication of existing support, and Crowley does not call Fane "his" patroness at all. He writes: "After I had compiled thys little treatise (ryght vertuouse Lady) I thought it my duty to Dedicate the same unto youre Ladishyppes name, as to a ryght worthy Patrones of al such as laboure in the Lords harveste. Not for that I thyncke I have herein done any thyng worthy so liberall a Patrones, but for the worthynes of the matter..."

The rest of the dedication appears to be an oblique admonishment and exhortation to the Somerset circle that is in line with Crowley's other publications at this time and in the late 1540s. Crowley writes in the dedication to Pleasure and Pain that men in positions of power who have "long tyme talked" of the gospel have been more concerned with their own worldy gain and now need to "lyve the gospell". He further implies that failure to act on behalf of the gospel (i.e., the Reformation) and the poor commons, has caused or will soon cause God to "plage" these men and all England just as God punished Israel for its unfaithfulness. These warnings are in line with the rest of the book, which speaks prophetically of judgment to come if the godly commonwealth is not established. Since Pleasure and Pain was printed during the latter stages of Somerset's fall and shortly before his and Sir Ralph Fane's executions, it appears as less a bid for financial support than a plea for a changing of minds and policies. It is notable that Crowley's 1559 continuation of the Lanquet-Cooper chronicle looks back on this period—Somerset's fall, then Dudley's, and the accession of Mary—as precisely a time of judgement that befell England due to the failings principally of the secular leaders such as Somerset.

The only other evidence for a possible connection between Crowley and Somerset is a 1551 publication: The abridgemente of goddes statutes in myter, set oute by Wylliam Samuel seruaunt to the Duke of Somerset hys grace (STC 21690.2). The title page continues: "Imprinted at London: By Robert Crowley for Robert Soughton [i.e., Stoughton]", although the revised STC points to Grafton as the printer. This work is dedicated to Lady Somerset, Anne Seymour.

Other sources suggest a link between Crowley and key aristocratic backers of reformism, such as William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley and Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester under Elizabeth. Crowley's associate John Day was long connected with Cecil. Some time between 1561 and 1564 Crowley was listed among twenty-eight "godly preachers which have utterly forsaken Antichrist and all his Romish rags", which was presented to Dudley.

Recently an argument has been propounded that Crowley and others like him were patronised by less elevated but still powerful figures, particularly after the reign of Edward VI. In an article for the Foxe's Book of Martyrs Variorum Edition Online, Brett Usher has emphasised the importance of previously neglected work by T. S. Willin on Tudor merchants in London, particularly those associated with the Muscovy Company, which was established early in the reign of Mary I and traces its roots to the Company of Merchant Adventurers. At its inception, Sir George Barne, then Lord Mayor of London, was the principal figure in the Muscovy Company. Barne was praised by Bishop Ridley and prior to becoming bishop of Winchester, Robert Horne preached the funeral sermon for Barne's wife in 1559 after returning from exile on the continent. Barne's nephew and apprentice was Nicholas Culverwell whose younger brother Richard left money at his death in 1586 to Crowley as well as William Charke, Walter Travers, John Field, Thomas Crooke, Nicholas Crane, Thomas Edmonds, William Cheston and Giles Sinclair.

Earlier, under Henry VIII and Edward VI, the Merchant Adventurers included Thomas Poyntz, brother of Lady Anne Walsh in whose house Crowley had served as tutor. Poyntz was the head of the Merchant Adventurer's house in Antwerp; it was there that he sheltered William Tyndale as his sister had in England. John Foxe's 1563 biography of Tyndale concludes with an account probably written by Thomas Poyntz, and received from him or someone close to him. While Tyndale was with Poyntz in Antwerp, Richard Grafton was there as a merchant adventurer involved with Tyndale's project of publishing an English Bible. John Rogers, the first martyr under Mary I, whose "Matthew's Bible" later combined translations by Tyndale and Miles Coverdale, served as chaplain to the English merchants in Antwerp. Some of these merchants, like Grafton, were probably involved in producing and smuggling copies of Tyndale's New Testament and other Protestant texts into England. Another figure in the network of evangelical merchants with ties to Crowley was "the immensely rich John Quarles", who was "twice Master of the Drapers' Company" and "a friend and patron of Robert Crowley". (See Brett Usher, "Backing Protestantism: the London godly, the exchequer and the Foxe circle", in David Loades (ed.), John Foxe: an Historical Perspective (Aldershot, 1999), p. 129; T. S. Willan, The Muscovy Merchants of 1555 (Manchester, 1953), p. 118.)

Ordination and Marian exile[edit]

Crowley was ordained deacon on 28 September or 29 September 1551 by Bishop Ridley, and referred to as "stationer of the Parish of St Andrew, Holborn". On 24 June the previous year, John Foxe had been ordained deacon by Ridley, after having taken up residence with the Duchess of Suffolk in the Barbican in order to be eligible. The anticipated reforms that would follow from the spreading influence of men like these were deferred by the death of the king and the accession of Mary I after the ill-fated attempt to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne.

Around 1553–1554, or 1555 at the latest, Crowley had left England. In 1557 records state he was a member of the Frankfurt congregation of English exiles and living in very crowded quarters with a wife and child. Local tax lists registered him as a "student", and expelled him at the same time as a poor and possessionless man.

According to A Briefe Discourse of the Troubles begun at Frankeford in Germany (1575), which covers events from 1554 onward, in 1557 Crowley's signature appeared with those endorsing "the new discipline" at Frankfurt (i.e., the Genevan church order), which limited the pastoral authority of Robert Horne over the congregation. Horne objected stridently as he was pushing for a more hierarchical system, and Crowley was among those who supported the presbyterian system. However, it must be remembered that this framing of events comes from the Briefe Discourse of the Troubles which was first published eighteen years later, evidently in support of the Elizabethan presbyterian faction. (For further discussion of the significance of these events to later Elizabethan church politics, see the entry on the Marian exiles.)

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

Note 1: "Demy" was the term used at Magdalen for what was elsewhere called a scholar; it was a sort of research position occupied by those waiting for fellowships to become vacant.