What is a Merchant Adventurer?

The Merchant Adventurers were members of a legal trading body who were permitted to trade goods in certain European ports. They invested their own wealth in trading ventures, and in Kingston Upon Hull, this gave the traders exclusive opportunities in foreign ports. George Crowle was involved in shipping goods to the low countries and possibly the Baltic ports and probably owned his own ships.

The Merchant Adventurers of Hull had their own meeting place called the Merchant Adventurers Hall. This is now the Hands on History Centre and sits on the south side of Hull Minster on Trinity Square. Inside the museum a huge portrait of the Crowle family can be found. George and Eleanor are flanked by their five daughters and one son, William.

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George's monument is situated in the south porch in a new location. It shows the heraldic shield of the family with an inscription around the edge.  This stone slab was always flat, never an upright gravestone, and was originally sited in the nave of the church. It is likely that the Crowles had a family vault under the nave floor, but this would have been removed when the crypt was constructed in the 1800s.

George Crowle was 'Mayor in 1661 and 1679, died 1682' at the time that Holy Trinity became a church in its own right. This was during the period known as the "restoration", when King Charles II came back from exile in France to become king.  George gave a paten (dish for communion bread) to Holy Trinity in 1656 when he was churchwarden. 

George's wife, Eleanor, gave a large sum of money to Holy Trinity to set up a library of religious texts. These are now housed at the Brynmor Jones Library, University of Hull. She also gave a large silver alms dish (for collecting donations) to the church in 1664. The diameter of the dish is 47cm. The Crowles founded a "hospital"  or alms house in Sewer Lane, where the elderly and the poor were given accommodation and care.

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