John Crook (1742-1805)
John Crook was born at Leigh in Lancashire, the son of an impoverished physician. After an unhappy childhood, Crook ran away from an apprenticeship and enlisted in the army. He was converted in 1770 while stationed at Limerick in Ireland. After a wealthy uncle bought him out of military service, Crook settled in Liverpool where he became a class leader and local preacher.
Crook visited the Isle of Man in 1775 in response to a plea from a Manx convert. He commenced preaching in Castletown and Douglas with considerable success. Among his early audiences was a local clergyman and the Lieutenant Governor. After a second visit to the island, Crook joined the full itinerancy.
After two years travelling in northern circuits, Crook returned to the Isle of Man which was given circuit status under his charge. The value of Crook's work among the Manx people, caused John Wesley to allow him to remain on the island for three years rather than the usual two and he returned for a further two years in 1786. Crook's remarkable success on the Isle of Man is shown by the fact that by 1791, it had the largest membership of any circuit outside London
Crook also did very valuable work in Ireland where he presided over the Conference in 1791 and acted as conference secretary
on a total of five occasions.
Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974) and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995)