Brass Crosby

Born: Brass Crosby was born on 8th May 1725 in Stockton-on-Tees. His parents were Hercules Crosby of Stockton and Mary Brass of Hesleden. He was one of five children.

Educated: Brass Crosby served an apprenticeship with a solicitor in Sunderland.

Married: In 1748 Brass Crosby married Sarah Walraven. After her death he married a Mrs. Cook and then in 1772 he married Mary Tattershall, nee Maud. All of his wives were wealthy widows.

Family:  Brass Crosby and Sarah Walraven had one daughter.

Home: His London home was in Chatham Place.

Known for: Brass Crosby was sheriff of London in 1764-5 and became an alderman of London in 1765. He became M.P. for Honiton in 1768 and Lord Mayor of London in 1770. As an M.P. he sided with the radical M.P. for Middlesex, John Wilkes. This made Crosby unpopular with the government. In 1771 the House of Commons was concerned about printers circulating reports of parliamentary debates but Lord Mayor Crosby supported those printers. As the city’s chief magistrate he discharged a printer who had been brought before him for printing parliamentary debates and accused the messenger sent to serve a warrant on the printer of assault. For this defiance of the House of Commons, Crosby was committed to the Tower of London. The government soon relented and after a few weeks he returned to the Mansion House in a triumphal procession. He was regarded as a hero in many towns across the country. It is thought that the phrase “as bold as brass” originally referred to Brass Crosby.

Died: Brass Crosby died on 14th February 1793 at his house in Chatham Place, Blackfriars Bridge.

Further Information:  “The Annals of Stockton-on-Teeswith Biographical Notices” Henry Heavisides (1865)

“The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1754-1790 ed. L.Namier, J.Brooke (1964)