Nicholas Crane was educated at Cambridge, a divine of great learning, and a zealous nonconformist. He was minister of Roehampton in Surrey, but falling under the displeasure of the prelates, he was more than once cast into prison, and at last he died in Newgate, for nonconformity. In the year 1569, Mr. Crane, and Mr. William Bon ham, were licensed to preach by Bishop Grindal. Their licenses are said to have been granted upon condition that they should avoid all conventicles, and all other things contrary to the ordej established in this kingdom.
Afterwards, the two divines were apprehended and cast into prison for nonconformity, where they remained more than twelve months, and were then released. But persisting in their nonconformity, and not keeping to the exact order established in the church of England, Mr. Crane was silenced from preaching within the diocese of London, and Mr. Bonham was again committed to prison ;* but it does not appear how long they continued under the ecclesiastical censure. +
Mr. Crane was a leading man among the nonconformists of his time, and, in the year 1572, united with his brethren in the erection of the presbyterian church at Wandsworth in Surrey.} His exceptions against subscription to the Book of Common Prayer, are still on record. They were delivered most probably upon his appearance before the ecclesiastical commissioners, and were chiefly the following :—" He excepted against reading the apocryphal books in public worship, to the exclusion of some parts of canonical scripture:—Against that part of the ordination service, receive Ike Holy Ghost, SfC.:—Against the interrogatories in baptism proposed to infants who cannot give any answer:— Against the cross in baptism, which has been often used to superstitious purposes:—Against private baptism, which the Book of Common Prayer allows to be administered by persons not ordained:—Against the gospel appointed to be read the sabbath after Easter, which is taken from the mass book, and is manifestly untrue when compared with scripture. He concludes by observing, that if these and some other things equally erroneous, were reformed, it would please Almighty God; the ministers of Christ would be more firmly united against their common enemy, the papists; many of God's ministers and people now weeping,
- * See Art. Bonham. t Strjpe's Grindal, p. 15S—155.—MS. Chronology, vol. ii. p. 405. (6.) } Fuller's Church Hist. b. iz. p. 103.
would rejoice; many able students would be encouraged to enter the ministry ; and the religion of Jesus Christ would more extensively prevail."*
In the year 1583, Mr. Crane, with nine other learned divines of Cambridge, wrote to Mr. Thomas Cartwright, warmly recommending him to publish an answer to the Rhemist Translation of the New Testament.t Afterwards, he was cast into prison for refusing conformity to the established church. He subscribed the petition presented to the lord treasurer, and signed by about sixty protestant nonconformists, then confinedin the various prisons in and about London.J Mr. Strype has placed this petition in the year 1592: but it should have been earlier. Mr. Crane died in Newgate, in the year 1588,^ where many of his suffering brethren shared the same fate.||