Dictionary of Welsh Biography



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CRADOC , WALTER ( 1610? - 1659 ), Puritan theologian ; b. 1610? ( 1606? in D.N.B. ) in Trefela , Llangwm, Mon. , of good family. He inherited an estate worth £601 a year and is believed to have been educated at Oxford . He was appointed curate at Peterston, Glam. , and later curate to William Erbery (q.v.) at S. Mary's , Cardiff . There he fell under the displeasure of the authorities on account of his Puritanical tendencies and in 1634 his licence was revoked. He now moved to Wrexham , where he created such an impression that the North Wales Puritans became known as the ‘ Cradockians .’ The next five years found him working hard in the Marches . In 1635-6 he spent some time with Richard Symonds (q.v.) and Richard Baxter at Shrewsbury . On 8 May 1638 he was arrested while attending divine service at the house of Mrs. De Lamars Veasy in London and, with three others, was summoned to appear before the Court of High Commission . He may have escaped from London to the Marches for, from Feb. to Nov. 1639 , he was a member of the Puritan congregation which was formed in Llanfair Waterdine under the patronage of Sir Robert Harley . There is no record of his being tried by the High Commission . Between 5 Nov. and 6 Dec. 1639 he was in Llanfaches helping to start the cause in that place, and he is mentioned as being in effect minister of the church. On the outbreak of the Civil War the Llanfaches congregation fled to Bristol ( 1642 ), and, when that city fell, to London ( July 1643 ), where, along with Cradoc , it joined the church of All Hallows the Great in Thames Street . On 26 June 1641 he supported a petition to Parliament praying for more preachers for Wales , and in the following five years brought considerable pressure to bear on Westminster to provide a more effective ministry for the Principality . On 19 Oct. 1646 Cradoc was licensed to preach in Wales — four months after he had delivered before the House of Commons his sermon ‘ The saints fulnesse of joy ’ ( 21 July ).

He was one of the principal originators of the ‘ Act for the Better Propagation of the Gospel in Wales ’ ( 1650 ), under which he became one of the twenty-five examiners appointed to inquire into the suitability of preachers who sought to minister in Wales . From this time until his death Monmouthshire was the scene of his primary labours, and we find him distributing alms to ‘divers religious people’ in that county in accordance with the law. On 25 March 1652-3 Cradoc established himself at Usk , thus displaying moderation in his views upon tithe. His moderation was equally in evidence when Vavasor Powell (q.v.) was impelled by the failure of the ‘ Parliament of Saints ’ to publish the petition A Word for God and so to manifest his opposition to Cromwell . Cradoc came into the open as the principal supporter of Cromwell in Wales , and a loyal petition, The Humble Representation and Address , was prepared, which was signed by 700 people, mostly from South Wales . This was presented by Cradoc to Cromwell on 4 Feb. 1655-6 and caused Vavasor Powell and some of the members of the congregation at Wrexham to send him a courteous but strongly-worded letter accusing him of betraying the truth. Cradoc took no further part in the controversy and in May 1655 was appointed vicar of Llangwm, Mon. He d. 24 Dec. 1659 and was buried in the chancel of Llangwm church . His will was dated 9 Dec. 1659 and was proved 28 Nov. 1661 by Richard Creed . His wife was Catherine Langford , daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Langford of Trefalun , Wrexham (see the article on that family), and he had two daughters, Eunice and Lois — the latter the wife of Richard Creed .

Cradoc was best known as a preacher , and the greater part of his published work consists of sermons. His publications were: (i) The Saints fulnesse of joy in their Fellowship with God ( London , 1646 ); (ii) Gospel-Libertie in the Extensions Limitations of it … Whereunto is added good Newes from Heaven ( London , 1648 ); (iii) Mount Sion or the Privilege and Practice of the Saints ( London , 1649 ); (iv) Divine Drops Distilled from the Fountain of Holy Scriptures , 1650 ; (v) Gospel-Holinesse or The Saving Sight of God ( London , 1651 ).

Bibliography:

  • Thomas Charles and P. Oliver , The Works of the late Rev. Walter Cradock; with a short account of his life, included in a recommendatory preface , Chester, 1800 , 1800 ;
  • The Journals of the House of Commons ;
  • Lambeth MS. 972;
  • Walker MS. c, 13.

Author:

Rev. Principal Robert Tudur Jones, D.Phil., (1921-98), Bangor