Crowther, Samuel Adjai (Ajayi), first African Anglican bishop, born Osogun, Yorubaland (Western Nigeria) c.1807, died 1891.

Captured as a slave about 1820, and liberated by the British navy in Sierra Leone, he became a Christian, attended the CMS Fourah Bay Institution and assisted in the study of African languages. He joined the ill-fated Niger expedition of 1841 and went to England for study and ordination.

The CMS saw in Crowther the future embodiment of their ideals of a native pastorate and in 1857 he was sent up the Niger with an entirely African staff. In 1864 he was made bishop. Noted for sensitivity in his engagement with Islamic leaders, in the 1880s his authority was undermined by a brash new generation of English missionaries. His Yoruba Vocabulary was the first such work by an African native speaker. His other publications included Journal of an Expedition up the Niger (1841).

John Roxborogh