Parris, George van (DNB00)

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PARRIS or PARIS, GEORGE van (d. 1551), heretic, was said to have been born in Flanders, but is described by Wallace as of Mentz in the Grand Duchy of Hesse. He was a surgeon, and no doubt settled in London because the law of 1531 enabled foreign surgeons to enjoy a larger liberty of opinion than native surgeons enjoyed. He became naturalised 29 Oct. 1550, and was a member for a time of the Dutch church in Austin Friars. After the death of Joan Bocher, who had denied the humanity of Christ, considerable fear seems to have been felt lest unitarian opinions should spread. A commission was issued on 18 Jan. 1550–1, and Van Parris, having been arrested, was formally examined on 6 April. The Dutch church excommunicated him, and on 7 April he was condemned. His judges included Cranmer, Ridley, and Coverdale, and his offence was the denial of the divinity of Christ. Edward VI, in his ‘Journal,’ mentions the disputation (Lit. Remains of Edward VI, Roxb. Club, ii. 312); doubtless the proceedings were prolonged, owing to the fact that Van Parris knew little or no English, and it is stated that Coverdale acted as his interpreter. He appears to have been a man of upright life, and some efforts were made to secure a pardon for him. He was, however, burnt, on 25 April 1551, in Smithfield.

[Wallace's Antitrinitarian Biogr. ii. 124; Strype's Cranmer, p. 258, Memorials, II. i. 482; Publ. of the Huguenot Soc. viii. 243.]

W. A. J. A.