Crowther, Jonathan, sen.
1759-1824; e.m. 1784

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WM itinerant who wrote several books on Methodism, including The Methodist Manual (1810) and Portraiture of Methodism (1811); also a life of Thomas Coke (1815). His concern for Methodism's growing burden of debt, which he attributed to chapel building and the proliferation of Home Mission stations, was voiced in his Thoughts upon the Finances of the Methodist Connexion (1817). He was President of the Conference in 1819. After suffering for two years from paralysis, he died on 8 June 1824.

His son, the Rev. H. Martin Crowther,was headmaster of a Devonshire grammar school. Throughout his life he remained on friendly terms with the Wesleyans and for some years was Classical Examiner at their colleges.

His nephew, Jonathan Crowther, junr (1794-1856; e.m. 1823) was born at St. Austell, Cornwall on 31 July 1794, and was the son of another WM minister Timothy Crowther (1757-1829; e.m. 1784). He was educated at Kingswood School and became a good classical scholar. At the age of 19 he became Classics Master and briefly, from 1823 to 1826 as Headmaster, proved himself a stern disciplinarian, provoking the boys into open rebellion. In 1837 was sent out to superintend the missions in India. In 1849 he became Classics Tutor at Didsbury College, having published a Defence of the Theological Institution against Samuel Warren's criticisms in 1834. He died on 16 January 1856.


'I would observe that a considerable share of demands upon the Contingency Fund has arisen from those circuits, which were formerly considered as Home Missions. A few years ago, Dr.Coke boasted that by these Missions he had given us forty Circuits. But alas! In a temporal point of view, most of them have proved so many Mill stones hung about the neck of the Connexion, through which it has been sinking every year. And even in a spiritual sense, few of them have been very prosperous. But this was not owing to any want of integrity or zeal in the Doctor. In many instances, however, there has been a flagrant want of judgment, economy and prudence.'

Jonathan Crowther,Thoughts upon the Finances or Temporal Affairs of the Methodist Connexion (1817) p.16

  • 'Men of Renown', in Christian Miscellany, 1858 pp. 289-94
  • G.G. Findlay and W.W. Holdsworth, The History of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society (1921-1924), vol. 5 pp.193-97
  • Ian W. Mutton, 'Jonathan Crowther (1759-1824): herald of happy faith' in Transactions of the Halifax Antiquarian Society, new series, vol. 19 (2011) pp.140-48
  • Blackwell Dictionary of Evangelical Biography
  • Oxford DNB