Jonathan Crowther (1759-1824)
Jonathan Crowther was born at Northowram near Halifax in Yorkshire. After hearing the preaching of the Anglican evangelical Brian Bury Collins in 1779, Crowther joined the Bradford Methodist Society and was converted under the influence of the Wesleyan minister Alexander Mather.
Crowther entered the itinerancy in 1786 and served circuits in Scotland and England. Adept at finding remedies to the financial problems which plagued the Connexion, he was also involved in the controversies of the 1790s between preachers and chapel trustees.
In 1810 he wrote The Methodist Manual, which went through several editions in Britain and the United States, and became a useful tool in in the fight against Lord Sidmouth's bill of 1811.His reputation was further enhanced by his biography of Thomas Coke, which appeared in 1815.
Crowther was elected President of Conference in 1819 and deputed to the same office in the Irish Conference a year later.
His death followed two years when he was afflicted with paralysis.
Two of Crowther's brothers also served as Wesleyan ministers, as did his son Jonathan junior.
Source: Minutes of Conference 1824 and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)