Thomas Crosby (Baptist)

Thomas Crosby (1683–1751) was an English writer, author of History of the English Baptists.[1]


Crosby was born in London, and initially was a sailor. He attended the Royal Mathematical School.[2]

A Baptist convert, Crosby was a member of the Horselydown church in Southwark.[2] He kept a mathematical and commercial school there, from 1710 for 40 years.[1][3][4] With John Robinson as partner in the school, Crosby had a business selling instruments, globes and books.[5] He married a daughter of Benjamin Keach, as did Keach's successor as pastor, Benjamin Stinton (d. 1719).[6]

Crosby successfully advocated the divisive selection of John Gill as Stinton's successor, but then fell under a cloud with the church. Expelled, he joined the Unicorn Yard congregation (the secession of those dissatisfied with Gill),[7] but was again pushed out. In both cases his honesty was put into question.[2]


Crosby's History of the English Baptists, from the Reformation to the beginning of the reign of George I (1738–40, 4 vols.), has biographical notices of earlier Baptist ministers, but is not acute in distinguishing different divisions of the Baptists, although Crosby acknowledged the distinctions made by Stinton.[8] In fact, much of the materials used by Crosby were collected by Stinton. The work gave offence to Baptists when it appeared.[1] The next historian of the English Baptists, Adam Taylor the nephew of Dan Taylor, distinguished the Particular Baptists from the General Baptists, writing about the latter.[9]

Crosby also wrote A Brief Reply to Mr. John Lewis's History of the Rise and Progress of Anabaptism in England, 1738, against John Lewis. He supplied Daniel Neal with information on Baptists for his History of the Puritans.[1]

In 1719 Crosby published The London Practice, an instructional work for merchants. He wrote a Mariner's Guide (1751) or Complete Treatise on Navigation.[10][11] In 1749 his The Book-keeper's Guide was published.[1]


  1. Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1888). "Crosby, Thomas" . Dictionary of National Biography. 13. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  2. William H. Brackney (16 September 2009). The A to Z of the Baptists. Scarecrow Press. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-8108-7071-0.
  3. Thomas R. McKibbens (1986). The Forgotten Heritage: A Lineage of Great Baptist Preaching. Mercer University Press. p. 26. ISBN 978-0-86554-186-3.
  4. Four Hundred Years of English Education. CUP Archive. p. 30. GGKEY:E11PWTW43ZY.
  5. Godfrey Holden Pike (1870). The Metropolitan tabernacle; or, An historical account of the Society. Passmore & Alabaster. p. 77.
  6. John Gill; Michael A. G. Haykin (1997). The Life and Thought of John Gill (1697-1771): A Tercentennial Appreciation. BRILL. pp. 14–. ISBN 978-90-04-10744-1.
  7. Walter Wilson (1808). The History and Antiquities of Dissenting Churches. Printed for the author. p. 216.
  8. Bracy V. Hill II (Spring 2014). "Baptizing Wyclif: a medieval ancestor in the Baptist history of Thomas Crosby". Baptist History & Heritage. pp. 15–17. Also see, Bracy V. Hill II: Suffering for their Consciences: The Depiction of Anabaptists and Baptists in the Eighteenth-Century Histories of Daniel Neal. In: Welsh Journal of Religious History 5, 2010. S. 84-113. Reprint Online In "The Baptist History & Heritage" 9, no. 3 (Fall 2014): 39-67 : <>
  9. William H. Brackney (16 September 2009). The A to Z of the Baptists. Scarecrow Press. p. 558. ISBN 978-0-8108-7071-0.
  10. Nicholas A Hans (21 August 2013). New Trends Educ 18 Cent Ils 99. Routledge. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-136-24072-0.
  11. Margaret Cohen (2010). The Novel and the Sea. Princeton University Press. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-691-14065-0.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1888). "Crosby, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography. 13. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

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