CREW, John (c.1598-1679), of Steane, Northants and Lincoln's Inn Fields, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. c.1598, 1sts. of Sir Thomas Crew† of Nantwich, Cheshire and Steane by Temperance, da. and coh. of Reynold Bray of Steane. educ. G. Inn, entered 1615, called 1624; Magdalen Coll. Oxf. matric. 26 Apr. 1616, aged 18. m. c.1623, Jemima, da. and coh. of Edward Waldegrave of Lawford Hall, Essex, 6s. 2da. suc. fa. 1634, cr. Baron Crew of Stene 20 Apr. 1661.2
J.p. Northants. 1634-49, 1656-d., commr. for defence 1642, assessment 1643-8, 1657, Jan. 1660-1, sequestration 1643, execution of ordinances 1643, accounts 1643, levying of money 1643, appeals, Oxf. Univ. 1647, militia, Northants. 1648, Northants. and Westminster Mar. 1660, drainage, Great level of the fens 1649, visitation, Oxf. Univ. 1654, scandalous ministers, Northants. 1654, statutes, Durham college 1656, oyer and terminer, Midland circuit July 1660.
Member, committee of Both Kingdoms 1644-8; commr. for treaty of Uxbridge 1645, abuses in heraldry 1646, exclusion from sacrament 1646, bishops’ lands 1646, scandalous offences 1648, trade 1655-7, relief of Piedmontese Protestants 1656; Councillor of State 25 Feb.-31 May 1660.3
Crew’s grandfather was a tanner of Nantwich, who put his two sons to the law. Both became Speakers of the House of Commons, a record which remains unique. Crew, a moderate Parliamentarian in the Civil War, was imprisoned at Pride’s Purge. Though summoned to Cromwell’s ‘Other House’, he never took his seat. He returned to Westminster with the secluded Members, and moved the resolution condemning the execution of Charles I.4
Crew was returned for Northamptonshire for the third time at the general election of 1660. It is probable that most of the 19 references in the Journals are to him rather than to his son. He derived additional political weight from the part played by his son-in-law Edward Montagu I in the Restoration. His only known speech was unfortunate; Samuel Pepys records on 29 Apr. 1660 that, according to Montagu, ‘Mr Crew did go a little too far the other day in keeping out the young lords from sitting’. He served on the committees for the abolition of the court of wards and the continuance of the Convention, and took part in drawing up the instructions for the messengers to the King and the conference on the King’s reception. He was one of the delegation that met Charles II at The Hague. After the King’s return, as a leading Presbyterian he seems to have been chiefly interested in the bill for settling ministers, helping to draw up a proviso on crown livings on 1 Sept. and to manage a conference on 10 Sept.5
Crew received a peerage in the coronation honours, and retired from public life. His Northamptonshire estate was estimated at £1,660 p.a. Pepys describes his household as ‘the best family in the world for goodness and sobriety’. There is no evidence that he conformed, and on Christmas Eve 1662 he lamented the fate of ‘the poor ministers who are put out, to whom, he says, the King is beholden for his coming in, and that if any such thing had been foreseen, he had never come in’. He was reckoned an opposition peer from 1675 till his death. He died on 12 Dec. 1679 and was buried at Steane.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: M. W. Helms / John. P. Ferris
- 1. Secluded at Pride’s Purge, 6 Dec. 1648, and readmitted 21 Feb. 1660.
- 2. Baker, Northants. i. 685.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1655-6, pp. 1, 100, 218.
- 4. Ormerod, Cheshire, iv. 310; Keeler, Long Parl. 147.
- 5. Pepys Diary, 29 May 1660.
- 6. Add. 34222, f. 38v; Pepys Diary, 24 Dec. 1662, 5 Nov. 1666; Survey of London, iii. 75.