Parker, Matthew (DNB00)
PARKER, MATTHEW (1504–1575), archbishop of Canterbury, born at Norwich, in the parish of St. Saviour, on 6 Aug. 1504, was son of William Parker, a calenderer of stuffs, and Alice his wife, whose maiden name was Monins. From memoranda made by Parker himself late in life, we learn that he was taught grammar by William Neve, whom he characterises as 'an easy and kind schoolmaster.' When only twelve years of age he lost his father; his mother, who attained the age of eighty-two, married again, her second husband being John Baker, described as 'a gentleman,' who proved an excellent stepfather. Of the surviving children by the first marriage, Matthew was the eldest; the second, Botolph, of whom little is known, afterwards took orders; Thomas, the third, became mayor of Norwich, and maintained throughout life fraternal affection and admiration for his distinguished brother. Parker's relations with his half-brother, John Baker, were no less cordial, and the latter proved a generous benefactor to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
In September 1522 Matthew was sent to Cambridge, mainly, though not entirely, at his mother's expense, and was there educated, 'partly at St. Mary's Hostel, and partly at Corpus Christi College' (Correspondence, Append, p. 481). In March 1522-3 he was elected a bible-clerk, and in 1525 was admitted B.A. On 22 Dec. 1526 he became a sub-deacon; was ordained deacon on 20 April 1527, and priest on 15 June in the same year. In the following September he was elected a fellow of his college. In 1528 he commenced M.A. When Wolsey was founding Cardinal College (afterwards Christ Church) at Oxford, Parker was one of the promising young Cambridge scholars whom the cardinal, invited to become fellows of the society; but, at the advice of his friends, he declined the offer. It was about this time that he became associated with a group of students in the university who had a large share in bringing about the Reformation in England, and were widely known as the 'Cambridge Reformers.' Among their number were Thomas Bilney [q. v.], Stafford, and Hugh Latimer [q. v.], with all of whom Parker formed a permanent friendship. The majority of this little band was mainly inspired by Luther's writings, and espoused his doctrines. Parker, however, who, after attaining to his bachelor's degree, had devoted seven years to the study of the fathers, saw much in Luther's teaching which gave him pause, and maintained an independence of judgment which contrasts very favourably with the strong partisanship of the Lutheran party generally. To these patristic studies, indeed, we may fairly attribute that greater moderation of spirit which he exhibited in questions of doctrine in after life and his dislike of the intolerance which characterised the Marian exiles on their return to England.
To his acquirements as a theologian he united a popular style of pulpit oratory, which induced Cranmer, in 1533, to license him to preach throughout the southern province; he reluctantly consented to assume the office of chaplain to Anne Boleyn, to which he was appointed on 30 March 1535. With this appointment was associated the deanery of the college of St. John the Baptist at Stoke-by-Clare in Suffolk. The college had originally been a cell of the famous monastery at Bee, but was now a school for the education of the secular clergy. On 4 Nov. Parker was installed as dean. It was a pleasant retreat, the retirement and the duties of which were equally congenial to him; and here, accordingly—at his 'Tusculanum,' as his friend Walter Haddon was wont to style it—the next twelve years of his life were mainly spent, varied, however, by occasional visits to Cambridge and to court. In the college over which he presided he took the warmest interest, drawing up new statutes for its government, and founding a grammar school in connection with it for the better instruction of its future members in Latin. The statutes which he gave were considered so judicious that in 1540 the Duke of Norfolk, when designing a similar foundation at Thetford, took them for a model. A noteworthy provision was one whereby the lecturer was required to deliver his discourse not only in Latin, but also in English,' for the capacity of those that be not learned '(Strype, Life, ed. 1821, i. 17). Parker was at this time in but poor health, in consequence of which a grace was passed in 1536 by the Cambridge senate allowing him to preach with his head covered. In 1535 he proceeded B.D., and on 1 March 1537 was appointed chaplain to the king; in the following year he proceeded D.D. Although his name does not appear as one of the compilers of the 'Institution of a Christian Man' (1537), he took a deep interest in the work, and his devotion to theological studies continued unabated. He did not, however, escape the imputation of heresy; and in 1539 he was formally accused before Lord-chancellor Audley by one George Colt and other inhabitants of Clare, the allegations against him being the use of language that was either unauthorised or disloyal on such subjects as the Roman observance of Easter, the veneration of relics, and the purposes to which taxes were converted by the crown. Audley dismissed all the charges as frivolous, and exhorted Parker 'to go on and fear not' (manuscript note on letter from Parker to Dr. Stokes, in Corp. Coll. Library). That he lost nothing in favour with those in power may be inferred from his presentation in 1542 to the living of Ashdon in Essex, and to a prebendal stall at Ely. On 30 April 1544 he resigned the rectory of Ashdon, and on the following day was presented to that of Burlingham in Norfolk. On the 4th of the ensuing December he was elected, in obedience to a royal mandate, master of his college at Cambridge. In the letter recommending him to the fellows he is described as one, 'as well for his approved learning, wisdom, and honesty, as for his singular grace and industry in bringing up youth in virtue and learning, so apt for the exercise of the said roome, as it is thought very hard to find the like for all respects and purposes' (Strype, Life, i. 28).
In his new capacity Parker exhibited his habitual energy and conscientiousness. He caused inventories of the goods of the college to be made, and enacted a rule for an inspection of the same every three years. Finding the accounts in confusion, he reduced them to order, and directed that they should be annually written out on parchment. A careful inventory of the estates belonging to the society was prepared, with exact statements of their boundaries and rentals. He also, with the assistance of his friend, Dr. William May [q. v.], revised the statutes, and instructed his secretary, John Joscelyn or Josselin [q. v.], to compile the history of the college (Historiola, pp. 38-40).
On 25 Jan. 1544-5 he was elected to the office of vice-chancellor of the university, and on the 25th of the following September was presented by the college to the living of Landbeach in the county of Cambridge. His tenure of office was not unaccompanied with anxiety. The performance at Christ's College of a scandalous play, entitled 'Pammachius,' designed to bring the Roman ceremonial and the papacy into contempt, led to a rigorous inquiry being instituted by Gardiner, then chancellor of the university; Parker unwisely sought to palliate the facts, and his conduct on this occasion lost him the good opinion of Gardiner for the rest of his career. The spoliation with which the colleges generally were threatened in the closing years of Henry's reign was manfully opposed by Parker, who also succeeded in averting for a time the suppression of his college at Stoke. On 16 Jan. 1545-6 he was appointed one of a commission of three to survey the property of all the colleges in the university; and the report which the commission presented to Henry at Hampton Court proved the means of saving the university from further losses for a time. On the sequestration of Stoke College in the following reign, he received a pension of 40l. per annum ; and shortly after (24 June 1547) he married Margaret, the daughter of Robert Harlestone, gentleman, of Mattishall, Norfolk, an ardent, supporter of the reformed doctrines. On 7 Feb. 1548-9 he was again elected vice-chancellor (Correspondence, p. 482).
On the outbreak of Ket's rebellion in 1549 he visited the camp near Norwich, and used his best endeavours to dissuade the rebels from further excesses, although at considerable personal risk. With Martin Bucer [q. v.], who was for a short time regius professor of divinity at Cambridge, Parker lived on terms of closest friendship; was appointed by him one of his executors; and on his friend's death (February 1551) preached his funeral sermon. Throughout the reign of Edward VI Parker continued to grow rapidly in favour with the reformers, and on 7 Oct. 1552 was installed in the rich deanery of Lincoln. On the accession of Mary he was led to espouse the cause of Lady Jane Grey, and was one of a small party who supped with Northumberland when the latter passed through Cambridge on his march for the north. He accordingly found himself completely obnoxious to the authorities in power; the fact of his marriage alone supplying sufficient ground for depriving him of all his preferments. Throughout the reign, although he did not quit the realm, he lived in complete obscurity, and in continual fear of his place of concealment being discovered. On one occasion, being compelled to flee by night from his pursuers, he sustained severe injury through a fall from his horse, which altogether disabled him for a time, and from the effects of which he never entirely recovered. Although under the necessity of frequently changing his abode, he nevertheless contrived to carry on his studies, and, long after, declared that he thus passed a time of far more solid enjoyment than when immersed in the varied duties and anxieties of the episcopal palace (ib. p. 483).
On the accession of Elizabeth he was one of the commissioners appointed (December 1558) to revise the prayer-book; but an ague detained him in the country, and in that important work he had consequently no share. It appears to have been his own wish to return to Cambridge, where he was anxious, above all things, to devote himself to the service of the university, the state of which he describes as 'miserable.' He soon, however, received a summons from Lordkeeper Bacon to repair to London 'for matter touching himself.' Surmising that he was marked out for high preferment, he plainly intimated his reluctance to leave Cambridge, declaring that he 'had rather have such a thing as Benet College ... a living of twenty nobles by the year at the most, than to dwell in the deanery of Lincoln, which is two hundred at the least' (ib. p. 51). A second summons (30 Dec), sent by Cecil in the name of the queen, made it clear that it was designed to appoint him to the vacant see of Canterbury. His 'nolo' was emphatic, and he urgently petitioned Elizabeth to be excused from the office, alleging, among other reasons, his infirmity resulting from his accident. But the pressure brought to bear upon him was more than he could resist, and he ultimately yielded. That his reluctance was genuine can hardly be questioned. He long afterwards, indeed, privately declared that 'if he had not been so much bound to the mother' (Anne Boleyn) 'he would not so soon have granted to serve the daughter' (Strype, ii. 121). Nor, when the difficulties which he foresaw are considered, can his conduct fairly be pronounced unreasonable, and not least among those difficulties was the aversion with which Elizabeth was known to look upon clerical marriages, and the fact that, in the new 'Injunctions' just issued, such marriages had been distinctly discouraged. But, his scruples once overcome, Parker showed himself as courageous and active as he had before been diffident, and even during the few months that preceded his consecration he ventured to confront the royal rapacity by successful opposition to a scheme whereby valuable lordships and manors were to be taken from certain bishoprics, and the loss imperfectly compensated by the bestowal of impropriations and tenths (Correspondence, pp. 97-101). With equal courage he advised Elizabeth to remove the crucifix and lighted candles in her private chapel. It was no slight addition to his anxieties that it devolved upon him to provide for the safe custody of the deprived recusant bishops Cuthbert Tunstal, Thirlby, and others. By general admission, his treatment of these ecclesiastics, at whose hands he had himself suffered much, was lenient and humane.
It was not until 18 July 1559, when the see of Canterbury had already been vacant for more than eight months, that the royal letters issued for Parker's election to the archbishopric. The election took place on 1 Aug., and on 9 Sept. the order for his consecration, as 'archbishop and pastor of the cathedral and metropolitan church of Christ at Canterbury,' was given under the great seal (State Papers, Dom. Eliz. vi. No.41). The ceremony acquired exceptional importance from the fact that the Roman ritual was not observed, a feature which led long after to the circulation of reports by unscrupulous members of the Roman catholic party of a kind calculated to bring the validity of the whole ceremony into question. As it was, it was not carried into effect without difficulty. The three bishops originally appointed to perform the act—Tunstal, Browne, and Poole—refused compliance; and on 6 Dec. a new commission was appointed, consisting of seven other bishops, who were empowered collectively to carry out the royal purpose. Of these seven, four—Barlow (formerly bishop of Bath and Wells), Scory (formerly bishop of Chichester), Coverdale (formerly bishop of Exeter), and Hodgkins (suffragan bishop of Bedford)—consented to perform the ceremony; and, the election having been confirmed on 9 Dec. at the church of St. Mary-le-Bow, the consecration took place on 17 Dec. in the chapel of Lambeth Palace.
Deeply conscious of the importance attaching to the ceremony as directly affecting the whole question of episcopal succession in the church of England, Parker caused an account of the order of the rites and ceremonies used on the occasion to be drawn up in Latin and deposited with other manuscripts, all of which he afterwards bequeathed to Corpus Christi College. Of the genuineness of this document there can be no question, and among the details which it establishes the following are especially noteworthy: (1) That the royal mandate for the consecration was produced at the consecration and read; (2) that Parker took the required oaths; (3) that the presiding bishop proceeded with the litany, and that the remaining service which he used was according to the form of the book prescribed by parliament (i.e. the second prayer-book of Edward VI); (4) that the archbishop received the imposition of the hands of all the four officiating bishops; (5) that, together with certain others, he afterwards received the holy sacrament; (6) that the ceremony was not privately performed, but that among the witnesses were Grindal, bishop-elect of London, and two other bishops, the archbishop's registrary, the registrary of the prerogative court of Canterbury, and two notaries public (see Goodwin, Account of the Mites and Ceremonies at the Consecration of Archbishop Parker, Cambr. 1841). This evidence alone suffices, consequently, to disprove the scandalous story, first circulated more than forty years later by unscrupulous Romanists, to the effect that Parker and others were admitted bishops by Scory in an inn in Cheapside called the Nag's Head, and that the method of their admission was irregular and the manner irreverent (Strype, ii. 117-8). These misrepresentations became, however, long and widely current, and, though completely exposed by Archbishop Bramhall [q. v.], were still so freely circulated that Thomas Morton [q. v.], the eminent bishop of Durham, deemed it desirable to append a declaration to his will (15 April 1658), denouncing them as an 'abominable fiction,' which he believed to have proceeded from 'the Father of Lyes' (Barwick, Life, pp. 48, 111, 113) [see Barlow, Thomas].
In the following February Parker made his declaration, acknowledging the royal supremacy, and taking the oaths of homage and allegiance (State Papers, Dom. Eliz. xi. No. 23), and in the course of the ensuing March he received from Nicholas Heath [q. v.], the deprived archbishop of York, and the other deprived bishops, a letter denouncing the theory of the new episcopate as subversive of the papal authority. The reply which he drew up (26 March 1560), and submitted to the approval of the queen and council, defines in the main the position of the great majority of the divines of the church of England since his time, as grounded on the Reformation of Edward VI, and definitively repudiating the jurisdiction and doctrinal decisions of the Roman pontiff (Corresp. pp. 109-13).
From this time Parker's personal history becomes to a great extent merged in the history of the church over which he presided, and he stands identified with the formation and direction of that great party afterwards known as the Anglican party, which sought to establish a media via between Romanism and puritanism. The difficulties attendant upon such a policy were, however, considerable. The Lutheran party would not accept the institution of bishops or the theory of episcopal succession. The reformers demurred at much that the prayer-book contained, as savouring of mediæval superstition. The Roman catholic party, after the refusal of Elizabeth to receive the papal nuncio and to send representatives to the council of Trent, felt that the breach with Rome hardly admitted of being repaired. Elizabeth herself openly supported Parker, and on 29 July 1560 dined with him at Lambeth; but a few weeks later he was under the necessity of remonstrating with her on the manner in which the appointments to the northern sees were delayed in order that their revenues might be appropriated by the crown; while the queen at one time threatened to carry into practical effect her dislike of clerical marriages. The temper and sound judgment with which, amid all these difficulties, Parker continued resolutely to pursue the policy which he had marked out, entitle him to high praise. That policy, as described in his own words, was one, not of innovation, but of restoration; it was his aim 'that that most holy and godly form of discipline which was commonly used in the primitive church might be called home again.' In pursuance of this aim, he revived the powers of convocation, and defined his own authority in relation to that body under the new conditions resulting from the repudiation of the authority of the Roman pontiff. With the assent of that body he revised the articles, which in 1562 were reduced from forty-two to thirty-nine, and substantially assumed the form finally agreed upon in 1571. He also instructed Walter Haddon [q. v.] to prepare a new edition of the Latin prayer-book for use in collegiate churches, and the extent to which the saints' days of the Roman calendar were retained in this compilation shows that he was desirous of conciliating, as far as possible, the considerable Roman catholic element which still existed at the two universities. His most distinguished service to the theological studies of his day was, however, the publication of the 'Bishops' Bible,' an undertaking by which, from 1563 to 1568, his time and energies were largely occupied, although the credit of originating the scheme would appear to be due to Richard Cox [q. v.], bishop of Ely (see Cooper, Athenæ Cantabr. i. 440). But Parker undoubtedly bore the chief burden in carrying it into accomplishment, devoting several years to the collection of materials and making choice of the most competent scholars, and personally undertaking the direction of the entire work. In assuming this function he required his coadjutors studiously to abstain from the insertion of notes and criticisms like those which had given such deep offence in Tyndal's version. His actual share in the work of translation cannot now be accurately ascertained; but, according to the original assignment of the different portions, as specified in a letter to Cecil (5 Oct. 1568), he was himself to undertake, in addition to the prefaces, &c, Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Mark, and the Pauline Epistles, excepting Romans and 1 Corinthians. The harmonious spirit in which he and his fellow-workers prosecuted and completed their labours is indicated by the fact that, in his will, he bequeathed legacies to six of their number. At the time of the completion he was too unwell to be able to present a copy to Elizabeth in person; but he addressed a letter to his sovereign, in which he pointed out the chief features of difference between this and the Genevan version, at the same time expressing his conviction that it would tend to the promotion of conformity if it were commanded that this version, and no other, should be read in churches (State Papers, Dom. Eliz. xlviii. No. 6).
In the midst of this congenial labour Parker found himself suddenly involved in an irritating controversy, brought about by the publication in 1565 of his celebrated 'Advertisements,' a series of enactments drawn up by him, in concert with other bishops, 'partly for due order in the public administration of common prayers and using the holy sacraments, and partly for the apparel of all persons ecclesiastical, by virtue of the queen's letters commanding the same.' The vestments therein prescribed—the cope, the surplice, and the square cap—probably represented the minimum with which Elizabeth could be content; but, with her habitual evasiveness, she withheld her open approval, and it is generally agreed that the 'Advertisements,' as a whole, never received her formal sanction (see Church Quarterly Review, xvii. 54-60). Parker had, accordingly, to bear the brunt of the disfavour with which they were received by the puritan party, and, to quote the language of Strype, 'all the remainder of his days were embittered by the labours and pains' in which he thus became involved. The surplice and the square cap were especially objectionable to the party which favoured the Genevan discipline, and Sampson, dean of Christ Church, altogether refused to wear the cap. He was consequently deprived of his office by the queen's orders, and placed in confinement. Parker was deeply pained at such a result, and did his best to mitigate the rigour of the sentence.
At Canterbury the archiepiscopal palace was a centre of sumptuous and even profuse hospitality; and in 1565, at Whitsuntide, on Trinity Sunday, and at the July assizes, the principal clergy and laity were entertained at a series of splendid banquets. After the last occasion, on Parker's return to Lambeth, he received the distinguished compliment of being appointed godfather, together with the Duke of Norfolk, to Elizabeth's godson, Edwardus Fortunatus, the nephew of the king of Sweden.
At Cambridge the zeal of the puritan party, then led by Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603) [q. v.], occasioned both Parker and Cecil, the chancellor of the university, no little trouble. In 1565 this feeling extended to painted windows and 'superstitious monuments' generally, and Parker deemed it necessary to make an example of one George Withers, a member of his own college, by suspending him from his fellowship. In St. John's and Trinity the dislike to the surplice was so strong that some of the seniors of the academic body, among whom was Whitgift, addressed a letter to Cecil, urging that the 'Advertisements ' should not be made compulsory. Cecil consulted Parker, whose advice was against concession, and further demonstrations followed; while, on the other hand, it was deemed necessary to take proceedings against Dr. John Caius [q. v.], master of Caius College, and other members of the university who were suspected of favouring Romanism.
It was in immediate connection with these events that, in 1570, a new code, compiled by Whitgift, but supervised by Parker in conjunction with Sandys and Grindal, was given to the university. By these statutes, afterwards known as the Elizabethan statutes, the entire constitution of the university was materially modified, and, while the utmost care was taken to guard against future innovation, the changes introduced amounted to a revolution in the history of the academic body. Of that revolution, Parker, in conjunction with the heads of houses, was the chief author, and incurred in consequence a corresponding amount of unpopularity among the younger masters of arts, who were mostly favourable to puritanism, and who now made their appeal to Cecil. A series of objections was forwarded for the chancellor's consideration. Cecil referred them to Parker, who, in giving his opinion, denounced them as 'mere quarrels of envie against their rulers' (State Papers, Dom. Eliz. lxxxviii. No. 1). The new statutes accordingly passed into law. The relations between Parker and the university, in his latter years, were thus far from being altogether cordial. His devotion to its interests underwent, however, no diminution, and found expression in connection with other colleges besides his own. At the time that the contest respecting the new statutes was at its height, we find him pleading with Cecil that the endowment of Manchester College (then marked out for dissolution) might be settled on St. John's College, 'where you were brought up for the first beginning of your study' (Corresp. p. 365). But in little more than three months later (17 Aug. 1570) he lost his 'most beloved and virtuous wife,' whose remains were interred in the Duke of Norfolk's chapel in Lambeth; and for a considerable time after he laboured under severe mental depression. He roused himself when the tidings of the massacre on St. Bartholomew's eve (August 1572) reached England; and regarding, in common with many others, the captive Mary Queen of Scots as the real cause of the tragedy, he openly counselled her execution.
At Cambridge a fresh cause of trouble presented itself in the following year, when Thomas Aldrich, who had been promoted to the mastership of Corpus Christi on Parker's recommendation, espoused the puritan doctrines, refused to proceed B.D., and, on being censured by Burghley, resigned office in order to anticipate deprivation (Masters, Hist. of College of Corpus Christi, ed. 1753, pp. 110-112). Of the now definitely organised puritan party Parker habitually spoke as 'irritable precisians,' while they in turn stigmatised him as 'the Pope of Lambeth.' His exercise of church patronage, which had hitherto been impartial and judicious, began to be directed almost solely with the view of checking the advance of the obnoxious doctrines; while, conscious of the strength of the opposing current, headed as it was by the all-powerful Leicester, and of the waning fidelity of not a few among his own order, he withdrew more and more from society, and went but seldom to court. In September 1573 he was, however, visited by the queen herself at Canterbury. His royal guest and her courtiers were splendidly entertained, and on their departure the archbishop presented Elizabeth with a massive gold salt-cellar, valued at over two hundred marks, while each of the courtiers received a copy of the volume 'De Visibili Monarchia,' designed as a reply to the malignant treatise of Nicholas Sanders [q. v.] Again, after the royal visit, his spirits sank. Writing to Burghley in the following November, he says: 'I have of late been shamefully deceived by some young men, and so I have been by some older men' (Corresp. p. 450). A year later he writes: 'I have little help, when I thought to have most. I toye out my tyme, partly with copieing of books, partly in devising ordinances for scholers to helpe the ministry, partly in genealogies and so forth' (Strype, Life, Append. No. 95). He roused himself, however, to exercise his authority in ordering the discontinuance of 'prophesyings' in the diocese of Norwich, where puritanism largely prevailed. The privy council, under the influence of Sandys and Leicester, endeavoured to set the prohibition aside; but Elizabeth supported the primate, and the prophesyings were discontinued (ib. bk. iv. c. 37). In December in the same year his second son, Matthew, was carried off, at the age of twenty-three. His own health now began rapidly to fail; and, although his memory and mental faculties continued unimpaired to the last, 'the rheumatic Tempsis,' as he terms it, proved an effectual barrier to his passage over from Lambeth to attend the meetings of the privy council. He suffered acutely from the stone, and in March 1575 more alarming symptoms of the malady began to appear, to which he ultimately succumbed on 17 May following.
Parker was buried in his private chapel at Lambeth, where he had already caused his tomb to be placed; and his funeral, of which Strype has printed the 'order,' was honoured by a large and august following. An inscription, in Latin elegiacs, composed by Walter Haddon, was carved on the stone. This monument was, however, entirely destroyed in 1648, by the order of Colonel Scot the regicide, when Parker's remains were also disinterred and buried under a dunghill. After the Restoration Archbishop Sancroft caused them to be restored to their original resting-place, and composed an inscription, which he placed in the antechapel, recording both the act of desecration and the restoration of the monument.
Parker died wealthy; but his wealth and the means by which it was acquired have been the subject of much misrepresentation. As an example of those means, Froude (Hist. of England, ed. 1870, x. 410) has selected the faculties granted for minors to succeed to benefices, a survival of abuses which had prevailed under the Roman church, and which Grindal, on his accession to the primacy, altogether abolished. In justice to Parker, it is to be noted that this practice appears to have gone on as a tradition which, as Strype says, he 'liked not of,' and he even offered in convocation to use his endeavours to have the court of faculties dissolved. This offer was not approved; but Parker, on becoming aware of certain irregularities which had sprung up in connection with the practice, issued 'Observations for Orders to be taken in the Court of Faculties,' whereby the conditions under which faculties were granted and the fees made payable were strictly determined (Strype, bk. iv. c. 2). In reality it was one of Parker's chief difficulties as primate that he found himself under the necessity of systematically opposing the rapacity of Elizabeth's courtiers, especially in connection with impropriations. Their plundering was, however, encouraged by Leicester; and Parker, when on his deathbed, addressed a letter to the queen (which appears never to have been sent) protesting against the spoliation of the revenues of the church, which was still going on, and censuring both Burghley and Lord-keeper Bacon for their complicity in these acts of malversation.
His private fortune had been considerably diminished by generous benefactions during his lifetime, and the remainder was bequeathed in a like spirit. 'He was never of that mind,' says Strype, 'to scrape together to leave great possessions to children.' Prior to his death a handsome new street in Cambridge, which he named University Street, leading from the schools to Great St. Mary's, had been constructed at his sole expense, and a legacy to the master and fellows of Corpus Christi College provided for its maintenance in good repair. To the university library he presented in 1574 twenty-five manuscripts and twenty-five volumes printed on parchment, all provided with chains, together with fifty volumes of commentators on the Old and New Testament; of these a complete list is printed at the end of the edition of his 'De Antiquitate Britannicæ Ecclesiæ' by Drake, published in 1729. To his own college, from the day when, a humble bible-clerk, he had plastered the ceiling of the room below the library, down to the bequest of his magnificent collection to the library itself, he was an untiring benefactor. Gifts of ground, more liberal commons, numerous repairs, valuable plate, a gallery adjoining the master's lodge, a fund for the maintenance of the hall fire, and, finally, the 'History' of the college, as compiled under his directions by his secretary, John Josselin, successively attested his munificence.
The manuscripts which he bequeathed to the library, styled by Fuller 'the sun of English antiquity,' must, however, in the estimation of posterity, outweigh all his other benefactions. The original list of the books, transcribed on vellum, is preserved in Corpus Christi College Library, with a note (6 Aug. 1593) by John Parker, that the missing volumes 'weare not found by me in my father's Librarie, but either lent or embezeled, whereby I could not deliver them to the colledge.' Of this collection some account is given by Strype (bk. iv. c. 2); and a catalogue was drawn up and printed by Thomas James (1573?-1629) [q. v.] in his 'Ecloga,' the numerous defects of which induced William Stanley, master of the college (1693-8), to publish in 1722 a fresh catalogue in folio. But this, again, although a great improvement on the former, was wanting in critical accuracy, and was superseded by the publication in 1777 of the catalogue by James Nasmith, a former fellow of the society. 'Parker's appreciation of what would be interesting to posterity,' says the Rev. S. S. Lewis (the late accomplished librarian of the college), 'is nowhere more clearly shown, than in the volume (No. 119) of autograph letters of his contemporaries; these include signed letters by King Edward VI, bv queen Anna de Bouillon [sic], by Colet, Luther, Calvin, and almost every notable character of the Reformation age.'
He also founded the grammar school at Rochdale in Lancashire, the deed of foundation of which is preserved in the college library; and rebuilt the great hall at Canterbury.
It is, indeed, greatly to Parker's honour that, amid the onerous duties and envenomed controversies which so largely absorbed his time and energies throughout his primacy, his love for learning and care for his college and his university remained unimpaired. His position gave him exceptional opportunities for securing and preserving literary treasures, and he turned them to the best account. Within a few months after his consecration we find him instructing John Bale [q. v.] to use his best endeavours to secure such manuscripts as were still to be rescued from the wreck of the monasteries, and Bales reply (July 1560) is one of the most interesting documents relating to the learning of the period (Cambr. Ant. Soc. Comm. iii. 167-73). In May 1501 Flacius Illyricus wrote to Parker from Jena, stating that he had recently seen Bale, who had informed him that he had already acquired a considerable collection; Flacius at the same time throws out the suggestion that the bringing together such treasures, especially those illustrating church history, and providing for their safe keeping, is distinctly one of the duties of the state. We may fairly conjecture that it was partly in consequence of this suggestion that Parker about this time obtained from the privy council an order authorising him to 'borrow,' either directly or through his agents, all the ancient records and monuments that were in the hands of private persons. After Bale's death Parker succeeded in discovering where he had deposited his collections in Ireland, which, on the accession of Mary, the former had deemed it necessary to conceal; and, writing to Cecil, he says: 'I have bespoken them, and am promised to have them for money, if I be not deceived' (Corresp. p. 198). On the continent his agents were equally active, and he thus succeeded also in arresting that extensive exportation of invaluable literary treasures from the country of which Bale and Strype speak alike with so much pathos (Strype, ii. 498-9). Another of his agents was Stephen Batman [q. v.], who asserts that in the space of four years he had secured no less than six thousand seven hundred volumes for his employer (see The Doome warning all Men to Judgement, p. 400). Among others from whom he received considerable assistance were John Stowe [q. v.] and William Lambarde [q. v.]; while, at Lambeth, he employed a complete staff of transcribers, and others competent to illuminate, bind, and engrave illustrations.
It is to these enlightened efforts that we are indebted for the earliest editions of Gildas, Asser, Ælfric, the Flores Historiarum, Matthew Paris, and others of our most important early chroniclers. Of these some account is given by Strype (bk. iv. c. 2), but a more critical estimate of the value of each edition is to be found in the prefaces to the recent editions in the Rolls Series by the respective editors. The extent to which Parker is to be held deserving of censure for the liberties taken with the texts of these authors, especially Asser and Matthew Paris, for which he certainly made himself responsible, is a somewhat difficult question. In the preface to Asser (fol. v.) he expressly declares that he has scrupulously abstained from tampering with the text, but this assertion is altogether incompatible with the internal evidence. Sir F. Madden was of opinion (Pref. to Matthew Paris, p. lxix) that he was deceived by the scholars whom he employed, and that the alterations were made without his knowledge. If such were the case, he paid the penalty of taking to himself credit for a larger amount of editorial labour than he was able personally to perform. The generally uncritical character of the scholarship of that age should, however, be taken into account, and we may regard it as certain that Parker would never have stooped to actual suppressio veri like that practised by his contemporary, John Foxe, in his 'Martyrology' (see Strype, ii. 503).
One of Parker's great objects was to revive and stimulate the study of the Saxon language; and it was with this view that he printed the Latin text of Asser in Saxon characters (Pref. fol. iiii, v). He also employed John Day [q. v.], the printer, in 1566 to cut the first Saxon type in brass, and even projected the compilation of a Saxon lexicon (Strype, ii. 514).
In the selection of his chaplains Parker was singularly happy, as is shown by the fact that no less than six of their number were afterwards deemed worthy of being raised to the episcopal bench. These were: Nicholas Robinson [q. v.], bishop of Bangor; Richard Curteys [q. v.], bishop of Chichester; Edmund Scambler [q. v.], bishop of Peterborough; Thomas Bickley fq. v.], bishop of Chichester in 1585; John Still [q. v.], master of St. John's and Trinity at Cambridge, and bishop of Bath and Wells; Edmund Guest [q. v.], bishop of Salisbury.
Though highly esteemed by Elizabeth, he was but an indifferent courtier. He shunned all occasions of pomp and parade, his natural bashfulness having been increased, according to his own statement (Corresp. p. 199), 'with passing those hard years of Mary's reign in obscurity.' He avoided the society of the great, and especially that of foreigners; and at the council-board he sat diffident and mostly silent. His modesty, however, conciliated those who disapproved his policy, and by the great majority of his contemporaries to whom the fame and prosperity of England were dear he was honoured and esteemed.
In the exercise of hospitality he was materially aided by his wife, whose tact and genial disposition signally fitted her for such duties; and Elizabeth herself, touched by the grace and courtesy of her reception when on a visit to Lambeth Palace, but unable altogether to suppress her dislike of clerical matrimony, took leave of her hostess with the oft-quoted words: 'Madam I may not call you; mistress I am ashamed to call you; Parker but yet I thank you' (Nugæ Antiguæ, ii 46).
Parker had four sons, of whom two, Matthew and Joseph, the second and fourth sons, died in infancy; the eldest, named John, was born at Cambridge on 5 May 1548, and married Joanna, daughter of Cox, bishop of Ely; he was knighted in 1603, and died in 1618. The third son, whose name was also Matthew, was born on 1 Sept. 1551, and married Frances, daughter of William Barlow [q. v.], bishop of Chichester. Of the latter two, Strype says that they were 'very hopeful young men, and adorned with all their father's and mother's manners.' Parker had also a daughter named Martha, who was baptised at St. Benet's, Cambridge, on 29 Aug. 1550.
There is an oil portrait of Parker in the hall of Corpus Christi College, and another, in water-colours, in the manuscript copy of the college statutes in the college library, the latter taken when he was in his seventieth year; there are also portraits in the university library, at Trinity College, at Lambeth Palace, and in the guildhall at Norwich. Of these there are numerous engravings by Hogenberg, P. a Gunst, Vertue, Michael Tyson, Picart, and in Holland's' Herωologia;' the best is that by Vertue, prefixed to the edition of the 'De Antiquitate' by Drake, where he is represented in a sitting posture.
There is a bibliography of his writings and his editions of authors in Cooper's ' Athenæ Cantabrigienses' (i. 332-6); this has been reprinted, although very inaccurately and with numerous omissions, in the 'Life' by Hook.
In 1572 the 'De Antiquitate Ecclesiæ et Privilegiis Ecclesiæ Cantuariensis cum Archiepiscopis ejusdem 70' was printed by John Day at Lambeth—a folio volume, and said to be the first privately printed book in England. On 9 May in the following year Parker sent a copy to Burghley, and in his letter describes his object in the compilation of the volume to be 'to note at what time Augustine, my first predecessor, came into this land, what religion he brought in with him, and how it was continued, fortified, and increased' (Corresp. p. 425). The contents of the book in its complete form include six distinct treatises: 1.' De Vetustate Britannicæ Ecclesiæ Testimonia' (45 pp.) 2. 'De Archiepiscopis Ecclesiæ Cantuariensis septuaginta' (424 pp.), a series of lives of the archbishops, from Augustine to Cardinal Pole, the life of 'Matthæus' (i.e. Parker, the seventieth archbishop), being temporarily kept back; this was, however, compiled by Josselin, and, as is shown by the language employed (see p. 23), was written during Parker's lifetime. Strype, indeed, is of opinion that the manuscript was 'corrected, augmented, and perfected' by the archbishop himself, although, it may fairly be supposed that Josselin alone was responsible for the eulogy. 3. 'Catalogus Cancellariorum, Procancelliorum, Procuratorum, ac eorum qui in Achademia Cantabrigiensi ad gradum Doctoratus aspirauerunt. Et numerus omnium Graduatorum, etc., ab An. Dom. 1500, & an. Hen. VII 15, usque ad annum 1571.' 4. 'Indulta Regum,' or royal charters and privileges bestowed on the universitv from Henry III to Elizabeth, &c. 5. Catalogue of the books presented by the archbishop to the university library in 1574. 6. 'De Scholarum Collegiorumque in Academia Cantabrigiensi Patronis atque Fundatoribus.'
Although, in the letter above quoted, Parker tells Burghley that he has not presented the volume 'to four men in the whole realm,' adding that 'peradventure it shall never come to sight abroad,' it is certain that the whole work, including the 'Matthæus,' soon became known to the puritan party, whose susceptibilities were roused by the manner in which it traced back the traditions of the English church of Elizabeth to Augustine, as well as by the ornate character of the volume generally, and the insertion of the episcopal arms of the different sees on some of the pages, a feature for which Parker himself half apologises to Burghley (Corresp. p. 425). In 1574 the puritan feeling led to the appearance of a duodecimo volume entitled 'The Life of the 70' [i.e. seventieth] 'Archbishopp off Canterbury presently sittinge Englished, and to be added to the 69, lately sett forth in Latin.' Then follows a loose and imperfect translation of the' Matthæus,' the production, Strype conjectures, of the notorious John Stubbs [q. v.], with marginal notes, which are with perfect justice characterised by the same authority as 'foolish, scurrilous, and malicious,' Parker himself being taxed with the authorship of the Latin original. To the 'Life' is appended a still more scurrilous tractate entitled 'To the Xtian reader, peace in Christe and warre with Antechriste,' and devoted to acrimonious criticism of the 'De Antiquitate' generally.
It is certain that the copies of the 'De Antiquitate' which got 'abroad' differed materially. The title of the translation of the 'Matthæus' above quoted, for example, shows that the copy of the former, with which the translator was acquainted, did not contain the 'Matthæus' and T. Baker, in a manuscript note on p. 487 of his copy of the 'Life' by Strype, gives it as his opinion that the translation was made from the manuscript copy lodged by Parker 'inter archiva' (i.e. the registry) of the university (see Catalogue of MSS. in the Library of the University of Cambridge, v. 344). This serves to explain the fact that when, in 1605, a new edition of the' De Antiquitate' was printed at Hanover, it did not contain the 'Matthæus.' This edition is, however, defective and faulty in many respects. A third, and greatly improved, edition was printed in London by W. Bowyer in 1729, and edited by Samuel Drake, D.D. (1686?-1753) [q. v.]; this, in addition to the contents of the first edition, contains 'Fusior Augustini Historia: Opus rarum ac, nisi quatuor in exemplaribus, frustra quærendum.'
Of Parker's other compositions, the following are in manuscript in the library of Corpus Christi College: 'Statuta Collegii de Stoke juxta Clare,' MS. cviii. pp. 155-71; 'Orationes habitæ coram senatu Cantab.,' cvi. pp. 417*, 419*, 423*, 428*; black-paper book of the University MS. cvi. p. 45; black-paper book of the proctor's accounts, cvi. p. 48; 'The Entry of the most sacred Majestie Imperiall, done in the city of Ausboura [Augsburg] the xv daie of June,' 1530, cxi. p. 359; 'Injunctiones datæ in Visitatione,' 1570, cxx. art. 9; 'Breves Notæ de Regulis Eccl. Gall. et Belg. præscribendis,' civ. p. 239. The following are in the Lansdowne collection: 'A Note of the Differences between King Edward the Sixth's Common Prayer and that of her Majesty,' cxx. art. 4; 'A collection of titles or instances in and for which Faculties may have been granted,' cix. art. 24.
During his residence at Lincoln Parker made extensive collections relating to the property of the chapter and the deanery, and the 'Novum Registrum' of 1440 belonging to that foundation was bequeathed by him, along with other documents which he had transcribed, to the library of his college at Cambridge (see Statutes of Lincoln Cathedral, ed. Bradshaw and Wordsworth, pt. i. pp. 182-4).
The appendix to the 'Life' by Strype contains one hundred and six original documents and letters, among which the following were either drawn up by Parker himself or under his direction: (vii) Against alienation of the revenues of the church; (viii) Rules for the order and government of the ministers of the foreigners' churches planted in England; (ix) Journal of memorable things happening to him from the year of his birth to the year wherein he was made archbishop; (xi) Articles for the dioceses, to be inquired of in the archbishop's metropolitical visitation; (xii) Statutes for the government and settlement of the hospitals of St. John the Baptist, in Canterbury and St. Nicholas in Harboldown; (xiv) The archbishop's secret letter to the queen, persuading her to marry; (xxviii) Ordinances accorded by the archbishop of Canterbury ... in his province; (xxxii) The manner how the church of England is administered and governed; (xxxiii) A dietary, being ordinances for the prices of victuals and diet of the clergy, for the preventing of dearths; (xl) For orders in apparel and other things at Oxford; (liii) Articles to be inquired of, etc. ... in all and singular cathedral and collegiate churches within his province of Canterbury; (lviii) Statues for the hospital of Eastbridge in Canterbury; (lxxxi)' Oratio coram Synodo, 9 Maii 1572;' (lxxxiii) Preface before a new translation of the Old Testament, set forth by him; (lxxxiv) Preface before the New Testament; (xcii) 'Tenor Injunctionum . . . in metropolitana et ordinaria visitatione cathedralis ecclesiæ Christi Cant.,' 7 Oct. 1573.
The following are printed in other collections: 'An Admonition for the necessity of the present time ... to all such as shall intend hereafter to enter the state of Matrimony godly and agreeable to law,' London, 1560, 1563(in Wilkins's 'Concilia,' iv. 244); 'A Defence of Priests' Marriages . . . against a civilian naming himself Thomas Martin,' &c, London, 4to, n.d.; 'A godly and necessary Admonition of the Decrees and Canons of the Counsel of Trent,' &c, 'lately translated out of Latin,' London, 4to, 1564; 'A Brief and Lamentable Consideration of the Apparel now used by the Clergy of England,' London, 1565 (in Strype's 'Annals,' i. 492); 'An Examination ... of a certain Declaration lately put in print in the name and defence of certain Ministers of London refusing to wear the Apparel prescribed by the Laws,' &c, London, 4to, 1566; preface to a sermon by Abbat Ælfric, 'Of the Paschal Lamb,' published under the title of 'A Testimonie of Antiquitie shewing the Auncient Fayth in the Church of England touching the Sacrament of the Body and Bloude of the Lord . . . above (600 years ago,' London , Oxford, 1675; 'Articles to be enquired of within the Diocese of Canterbury . . . in the yeare of our Lorde God mdlix' (in Wilkins's 'Concilia,' iv. 257); 'Liber quorundam canonum disciplinæ ecclesiæ Anglicanæ anno mdlxxi,' London, n.d. (in same); 'Articles of Enquiry within the Diocess of Winchester in his Metropolitical Visitation,' London, n.d.; 'Progress of Queen Elizabeth through the County of Kent in the year 1573' (in a few copies of the 'De Antiquitate,' and in Nichols s 'Progress of Elizabeth,' ed. 1823, i. 347); 'Statuta quædam edita 6 Maii mdlxxiii, et auctoritate sua in curia de arcubus publicata' (in Wilkins's 'Concilia,' iv. 273).
The following, in 'A List of Occasional Forms of Prayer and Services used during the Reign of Queen Elizabeth' (printed in the 'Liturgical Services,' edited by the Rev. W. K. Clay for the Parker Society, Cambridge, 1847), are attributed to Parker, and possess considerable interest from their association with important contemporary events: 'A Form of Prayer commanded to be used for Her Majestys Safety,' &c. [1559-60], p. 458; 'A Shorte Fourme and Order to be used in Common Prayer Thrise a Weke for Sesonable Wether,'pp. 458,475; 'A Prayer to be used for the Present Estate in Churches,' &c, p. 476; 'A Fourme to be used in Common Prayer Twyse a Weke . . . duryng this tyme of Mortalitie,' &c, 30 Julii, 1563, p. 478; 'A Fourme, etc. ... to Excite and Stirre Up all Godly People to Pray unto God for the Preservation of those Christians that are now Invaded by the Turke in Hungry' , p. 537; 'A Prayer,' p. 538; 'A Thankes Geving for the suppression of the late Rebellion' [1569-70], p. 538; 'A Fourme of Common Prayer to be used, and so commanded by aucthoritie of the Queenes Majestie, and necessarie for the present tyme and state,' 1572 (occasioned by the massacre of St. Bartholomew), p. 540.
Parker also published 'The whole Psalter translated into English Metre, which contayneth an hundred and fifty Psalmes. Imprinted at London by John Daye. Cum gratia et privilegio Regiæ Maiestatis per Decennium,' n.d. (with translation into English metre of the 'Veni Creator' and music for same. C. C. Coll. Libr.)
The texts of the chroniclers which he edited are: 'Flores Historiarum per Matthæum Westmonasteriensem collecti, præcipuè de rebus Britannicis ab exordio mundi usque ad A.D. 1307,' London, fol., 1567-70, with a preface of considerable length; 'Alfredi Regis res gestæ ab Asserio Shirbirniensi Episcopo conscriptæ,' London, fol., 1570; 'Matthæi Paris. Monachi Albanensis, Angli, Historia major, a Guilielmo Conquæstore ad ultimum annum Henrici tertii,' London, fol. 1571; 'The Gospels of the Fower Evangelists translated in the olde Saxons tyme out of Latin into the vulgar tongue of the Saxons,' &c, London, 4to, 1571; 'Historia brevis Thomæ Walsingham ab Edwardo primo ad Henricum quintum et Ypodigma Neustriæ vel Normanniæ,' London, fol., 1574.
[The Life and Acts of Matthew Parker, the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the Reign of Elizabeth, under whose Primacy and Influence the Reformation of Religion was happily effected and the church of England restored and established upon the Principles whereon it stands to this Day, by John Strype, fol., London. 1711; 'of this edition there is a copy in St. John's College Library, Cambridge, with numerous manuscript notes by Thomas Baker (1656-1740) [q. v.] Strype's personal friend, and also by Richardson, editor of Godwin's 'De Præsulibus;' on the flyleaf Baker has transcribed from a letter from the author (11 Feb. 1695) some lines in which he expresses himself apprehensive that his work will not be favourably received by the episcopal bench, 'tho' all I have writ is but matter of fact and history;' published also, in 3 vols. 8vo, by the Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1821; Historiola Collegii Corporis Christi, by John Josselin, edited for Cambridge Ant. Soc. by John Willis Clark, M.A. (the notes by the editor are especially valuable); Concio ad Clerum, a T. Browne, Cantabrigiæ, 1688, annexum est Instrumentum Consecrationis Matth. Parker, &c; Nasmith's Catalogus Librorum MSS. quos Collegio Corporis , Christi et B. Mariæ Virginis legavit M. Parker, Cambridge, 1777; Catalogue of MSS. in the University Library of Cambridge, iii. 145-159; Carlisle's Endowed Grammar Schools of England and Wales, ii. 718-19; Masters's History of the College of Corpus Christi (1753), pp. 75-101; Correspondence (letters by and to Parker, A.D. 1535-75), ed. for Parker Society by John Bruce, esq., and Rev. T. T. Perowne, Cambridge, 1853; Lemon's Calendar of State Papers, 1547-1580; Eadie's English Bible, c. 39; Willis and Clark's Architectural History of the Universify and Colleges of Cambridge, vols. i. and ii.; Hook's Lives of Archbishops of Canterbury, new ser., vol. iv. (a vigorous sketch, supplying a large amount of information, but deficient in accuracy); Wordsworth's Letter on the Succession of Bishops in the English Church, 1892; Mullinger's Hist. of the University of Cambridge, vol. ii.; Denny and Lacey, De hierarchia Anglicana (1895).]
The manuscript No. 400 in C. C. College Library of the 'Descriptio Kambriæ' of Giraldus Cambrensis is probably the work of one of Parker's transcribers, and is pronounced by Mr. Dimock (Giraldi Opera, v. pref.) worthless as a text.