Crosfield was born in Kendal, Westmorland (now Cumbria) in 1602, the son of a scrivener who later became mayor of Kendal. He was educated locally, and then at Queen’s College, Oxford, which made him a fellow in 1627. By then, he had already begun to preach in nearby parishes. In 1638, he became vicar of the Queen’s College living at Godshill, Isle of Wight, but this was sequestered by parliament in 1644. He may, according to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (log-in required), have been vicar of Windermere, Westmorland, for a few months in 1644-1645.
Crosfield married Helen Wyvill in 1645, and the couple had two sons and three daughters. In 1648, Crosfield obtained the rectory of Chale, Isle of Wight, and in 1649 became rector of Spennithorne (50 miles east of Kendal on the other side of the Pennines) in the Wyvills’ gift, after his father-in-law’s death. He died in early 1663, and was buried at Spennithorne church on 15 February.
The most accessible online information about the diary comes from the ONDB: ‘The main run of Crosfield’s manuscript diary, Queen’s College MS 390, stretches, with gaps, from January 1626 to January 1640. There are also accounts of conversations between provost and fellows, or among the fellows, from 1632 to 1638, and analyses of books. Much of the diary proper and some other portions, but by no means all that is of significance, was edited in 1935 by F. S. Boas. The text, in English and Latin, with some passages in idiosyncratic French, throws light on collegiate and university life in a period which included William Laud’s chancellorship. [Laud, also a diarist, went on to become Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633 to 1645]. Christopher Potter, provost from 1626 to 1646, who favoured the diarist, comes to life in table-talk, theological views, disciplinary measures, careful husbanding of resources, and efforts to beautify the chapel. [. . .]