Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Parry, Henry
PARRY, HENRY (1561–1616), bishop of Worcester, born ‘about 20 Dec. 1561 in Wiltshire,’ probably at Salisbury, was son of Henry Parry, chancellor of Salisbury Cathedral, the son of William Parry of Wormbridge in Herefordshire (Wood, Athenæ, ii. 191). He was elected scholar of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, on 13 Nov. 1576, graduated B.A. on 25 Oct. 1581, M.A. 3 April 1585, and became fellow in 1586. He graduated B.D. on 6 April 1592, and D.D. on 14 Feb. 1595–6. He filled the office of Greek reader at his college. On Archbishop Whitgift's presentation he held the benefices of Monkton in 1591–4, Great Mongeham in 1594–6, and Chevering and Sundridge (all in Kent) in 1596–1610. He became chaplain to Queen Elizabeth, and in that capacity was in attendance at Richmond during her last sickness, and was present at her death on 24 March 1602–3. The day before he had preached before the court a ‘very learned, eloquent, and moving sermon,’ prefacing and concluding it with a prayer ‘for her majesty’ ‘soe fervent and effectuall, that he left few eyes drye’ (Manningham, Diary, Camd. Soc., p. 145). Service over, Manningham dined with Parry and a select clerical company in the privy chamber, and learnt from them the particulars of the queen's last days. At Parry's entreaty, when speechless, she signified by signs her adhesion to the protestant faith ‘she had caused to be professed.’ He remained with her to the last, and ‘sent his prayers before her soul,’ which departed about three A.M., ‘mildly like a lamb, easily like a ripe apple from the tree,’ ‘cum levi quadam febre, absque gemitu’ (ib. p. 146). Parry succeeded to royal favour under James I, by whom he was appointed to the deanery of Chester in 1605, whence he was removed to the bishopric of Gloucester in 1607, and to that of Worcester in 1610, ‘to the great grief’ of his former diocese, in which, especially in the cathedral city, he had ‘bestowed much on the poor’ (Browne Willis, ii. 723). He erected a pulpit in the nave of his cathedral. He died at Worcester of paralysis on 12 Dec. 1616, and was buried in his cathedral. He was never married. He had the reputation of being a learned divine, endowed, according to his epitaph, ‘multiplici eruditione, trium linguarum cognitione,’ and a preacher of unusual excellence, considered by James I, who was no mean judge, one of the best he ever heard. The king of Denmark, after hearing him preach at Rochester in 1606, presented him with a valuable ring in appreciation of his sermon. After the establishment of the colony of Virginia, he appears in the third charter granted by James I on 12 March 1612 as one of the subscribers to the undertaking to the amount of 13l. 6s. 8d. (Brown, Genesis of the United States, pp. 543, 961). When bishop of Worcester he contributed 40l. towards the erection of the arts schools at Oxford (Lansd. MS. 983, f. 275 verso).
Parry published: 1. ‘Translation of the Catechism of Zach. Ursinus,’ Oxford, 1591, 8vo. 2. ‘Concio de Victoria Christiana,’ Oxford, 1593–4. 3. ‘Concio de Regno Dei,’ London, 1606, 4to. 4. ‘The Conference between Joh. Rainolds and Joh. Hart, touching the Head and Faith of the Church,’ a Latin translation, Oxford, 1619, fol.[Wood's Athenæ ii. 191, 858; Godwin, De Præsul. ii. 52; Foster's Alumni Oxon. early ser. iii. 1120; Browne Willis's Cathedrals, ii. 723; Manningham's Diary, xii. 2, 19, 46, 51, 52, 145, 146, 149, 159, 169, 171.]