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 • St Martin of Tours Churchyard
 • Chelsfield
 • London Borough of Bromley
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Brass Crosby
Birth: May 8, 1725
Death: 1793

Social Reformer, the phrase "Bold as Brass" was created due to his actions. Brass Crosby was born in Stockton-on-Tees to Hercules, a respectable Burgess of the Borough, and Mary. After a good education locally he went to Sunderland to work for a solicitor there, and then went to London. He served several years as an attorney and, in rapid succession, became a member of the Common Council for Tower Ward, the City Remembrancer, Sheriff of the City of London, Alderman of Bread Street Ward, MP for Honiton in Devon, and ,in 1770, Lord Mayor of London. When sworn in as Lord Mayor he assured his fellow citizens that "at the risk of his life he would protect them in their just rights and privileges." His new role also made him the City's Chief Magistrate. He had already made his name by standing up to the naval 'press gangs' by refusing to back their warrants and urging the use of the City Bounty instead. In this way the Navy recruited the men that really wanted to serve, and they were paid properly for doing so. In 1771 a newspaper printer called Miller was in trouble with Parliament for daring to publish the proceedings of the House of Commons. Previously debates had been published under false titles such as "debates of Lilliput" and fictitious names were given to the MPs who spoke. This time the MPs had been named and they were furious. As part of a long legal wrangle a messenger was dispatched with a warrant to arrest the printer, and he was brought before Brass Crosby for sentencing. Crosby refused to cooperate, saying that the citizens of our Country had the right to know what those who represented them and made their laws were saying and doing. Not only did Crosby refuse to punish the printer, but he charged the messenger with assault and wrongful arrest as the "general" warrant did not properly describe its power, whom it was for, or what the offence was. A furious Parliament brought Crosby before it. He argued that London Charters granted him the role of protecting the rights of the people, and that it was his duty to uphold these rights, and it was his first duty. He was sentenced to imprisonment in the Tower of London. King George III ordered that he be taken there by boat to avoid him being rescued on the way. Whilst he was in the Tower there were rallies in support of Crosby and his actions, not only throughout London, but around the whole Country. Effigies of leading members of parliament were burned on Tower Hill and cups and other crockery were inscribed with slogans demanding his release. Messages of support came from many towns and cities around Great Britain. When he was released 6 weeks later there was jubilation - bonfires were lit, there was a 21-gun salute and his carriage was escorted by 53 others. Towards the end of its journey people replaced the horses pulling it. From that day on, verbatim reports of the House of Commons have been published, and never since has Parliament tried to stifle the freedom of the press in reporting its proceedings. Interestingly, neither have any 'general warrants' since been issued. It is where the saying "Bold as Brass" originates - because Brass Crosby had the courage to stand up to the parliament of the day. When he retired as Lord Mayor he was presented with a large cup, illustrated with scenes from his life, to commemorate his work. An obelisk was constructed in his honour in St George's Circus in Blackfriars Road He died in 1793 in Chelsfield, in Kent, and there is a memorial in the Church there to his memory; a blue plaque has been erected on the house where he lived. (bio by: David Pope) 
St Martin of Tours Churchyard
London Borough of Bromley
Greater London, England
Plot: Plaque on the North Wall of the Aisle
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: David Pope
Record added: Jun 06, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 19748260
Brass Crosby
Added by: Kit Read
Brass Crosby
Added by: David Pope
Brass Crosby
Added by: David Pope
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My 6 th time Great Grand Uncle very proud of what you achieved in promoting parliamentary standards and accountability to the people rest in peace uncle
- Kit Read
 Added: May. 31, 2015

- LawBaby
 Added: May. 8, 2015

- mj
 Added: May. 8, 2015
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