Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Parry, John (d.1677)

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PARRY, JOHN (d. 1677), bishop of Ossory, the eldest son of Edward Parry [q. v.], bishop of Killaloe, and elder brother of Benjamin Parry [q. v.], bishop of Ossory, was born in Dublin, and educated at Trinity College there. He was one of those who listened to Archbishop Bulkeley's farewell sermon in St. Patrick's Cathedral in November 1649. He migrated to Oxford with the degree of B.A., was incorporated there 18 March 1650–1 in the same degree, and became a fellow of Jesus; he proceeded M.A. 10 June 1653. During the protectorate he seems to have lived chiefly at Oxford. He was chaplain to Ormonde at the Restoration or soon after, and to him, as the patron of two generations, he dedicated his father's work, ‘David Restored,’ &c. Parry was appointed treasurer of Christ Church, Dublin, in February 1660–1, but resigned in the following year (Cotton). He was incorporated B.D. at Oxford 25 June 1661 as fellow of Jesus, ‘having performed all his exercise as Bachelor of divinity in Trinity College Chapel, near Dublin, on 26 Jan. 1660–1, and the same day declared Bachelor of divinity there’ (Wood, Fasti, pt. ii.) Ormonde went to Ireland in July 1662, but it is doubtful whether Parry accompanied him, for on 19 Feb. 1662–3 he was installed prebendary of Bugthorpe in York Cathedral, being then described as S. T. P. In July 1664 he was presented by the crown to the rectory of St. John of Jerusalem in the diocese of Cork. In 1665 Ware published his work on the Irish bishops, and Parry's ‘Epistola ad Jacobum Waræum,’ afterwards englished by Harris, did duty for a preface. In 1666 his book called ‘Tears well directed, or pious Reflections on our Saviour's Sufferings,’ &c., was published in London. On 5 April in the same year Parry was installed dean of Christ Church, Dublin, and precentor of St. Patrick's, and he held these preferments during the rest of his life, which seems to have been altogether passed in Ireland. In August 1669 he preached at Christ Church before the Earl of Ossory, then acting as deputy to his father, on Nehemiah xiii. 14; and this sermon was published at Oxford in the following year as ‘Nehemiah, or the Excellent Governor.’ The Jewish worthy is compared to Ormonde. ‘When we in this kingdom [Ireland] were at a low ebb, surrounded with storms and unexpected tempests; when enemies pressed us without, and calamities and distress disheartened us within, then were we not happy in a gracious King, who, pitying our sad estate, did give commission to a real Nehemiah, whose wisdom and vigilance, whose courage and conduct, preserved a very small handful from violence and ruin, when our pilot generously engaged in our storms to keep us safe, neglecting his private ease for the public good, and charitably relieving the naked and poor, when he had but little left to maintain himself.’

Parry was consecrated bishop of Ossory in April 1672, and he was soon busy about the repairs of Kilkenny Cathedral (Hist. of St. Canice, p. 46). He was a learned man; but a book of pious meditations and prayers published in London in 1673 seems to have been his last literary effort. As a practical benefactor to his see Parry is well remembered. Bells were hung, chiefly at his expense, in the cathedral of St. Canice at Kilkenny, and in three parish churches. Ormonde, as appears from a letter of Parry's (ib. p. 48), interested himself about the Kilkenny bells, and contributed to the work. Parry was a careful steward of the property belonging to his see and of its rights and privileges, and, with Ormonde's help, he managed to recover a good deal of land for the church. Many details are given by Harris. He is said to have partly effaced an inscription on the tomb of his famous predecessor, David Roth [q. v.], which declared that he had cleansed St. Canice's Cathedral from heresy (ib. p. 293). Parry died in Dublin 21 Dec. 1677, leaving particular directions that he should be buried by his father's side in the church of St. Audoen's there, and that his body should not be afterwards moved. By his will of 19 Oct. in the same year he made many charitable bequests, and especially one ‘to buy plate for the cathedral of Kilkenny, as like as possible to the plate of Christ Church, Dublin.’ His brother Benjamin succeeded him as bishop of Ossory. Wood says he died rector of Llaniestyn in the diocese of Bangor, and that his brother followed him there also.

[Ware's Bishops and Writers of Ireland, ed. Harris; Wood's Athenæ and Fasti Oxonienses, ed. Bliss; Cotton's Fasti Ecclesiæ Hibernicæ; Graves and Prim's History of St. Canice's Cathedral.]

R. B-l.