Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Parker, Richard (1572-1629)

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PARKER, RICHARD (1572–1629), historian of the university of Cambridge, born at Ely in 1572, was the son of John Parker (1534–1592) [q. v.], archdeacon of Ely, and, after studying for four years in the free school there, he was, on 9 March 1589–90, admitted a pensioner of Caius College, Cambridge (Venn, Admissions to Gonville and Caius Coll. p. 70). He graduated B.A. in 1593–4, was elected a fellow of his college, commenced M.A. in 1597, and proceeded to the degree of B.D. in 1610. He became eminent as an antiquary, herald, and genealogist, and enjoyed the friendship of Camden and other learned men. On 25 Aug. 1610 he obtained the rectory of Little Wenden, Essex, and on 1 May 1615 the vicarage of Littlebury, in the same county (Newcourt, Repertorium, ii. 394, 651). He held both these preferments until his death, which took place before the last day of February 1628–9.

His principal work is ‘Σκελετὸς Cantabrigiensis, sive Collegiorum Umbratilis Delineatio, cum suis fundatoribus et benefactoribus plurimis. In qua etiam habes à fronte Hospitia Academiæ antiqua; à tergo vero Episcopos, qui ex hac Academia prodierunt supra annum abhinc centenarium,’ 1622. This work remained in manuscript till 1715, when it was printed by Hearne in his additions to vol. v. of Leland's ‘Collectanea.’ A translation into English, very indifferently executed, subsequently appeared under the title of ‘The History and Antiquities of the University of Cambridge,’ 2 parts. This translation is found with two title-pages, the first without date, ‘London: Printed for T. Warner at the Black Boy, in Pater-Noster Row;’ the second, ‘London: Printed for J. Bateman,’ &c., 1721, 8vo. It contains, in addition to Parker's history, a translation of the fabulous history of Nicholas Cantelupe, charters to King's and Trinity Colleges, the statutes of King's Hall, a catalogue of the chancellors, and a summary of the privileges of the university. The original manuscripts of the Latin work are preserved in the library of Caius College (Nos. 173 and 592).

He was also the author of: 2. ‘Censura Parvo-burgensis [i.e. Littlebury] in Catalogum Millesii Nobilitatis Anglo-Britannicæ,’ and ‘Appendix Parvo-burgensis cum supplemento,’ manuscripts in Caius College Library, No. 569. They correct numerous errors in the ‘Catalogue of Honour’ commenced by Robert Glover and published by Thomas Milles in 1610. 3. ‘A List of Arms and Names,’ in Caius College MSS. No. 561. 4. Verses (a) in the Cambridge University collection on the accession of James I, 1603; (b) in the university collection on the death of Henry, prince of Wales, 1612; (c) prefixed to Camden's ‘Britannia.’

[Addit. MS. 5878 f. 51; Camden's Britannia (Gough), I. p. xvii; G. Camdeni Epistolæ, 1691, pp. 110, 136; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, iii. 165; Fuller's Worthies; Gough's Anecd. of British Topography, pp. 103, 104; Lelandi Collectanea, 1770, pref. pp. xxix, xxx, and vol v. p. 185; Smith's Cambridge Portfolio, pp. 163, 211; Smith's Cat. of MSS. in Gonville and Caius Coll. pp. 85, 262, 263, 270; Wood's Fasti Oxon. (Bliss), i. 294.]

T. C.