The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Parker, Matthew

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PARKER, Matthew, second Protestant archbishop of Canterbury: b. Norwich, 6 Aug. 1504; d. Canterbury, 17 May 1578. He entered Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1522, and was graduated in 1525. Two years afterward he was ordained priest, and elected Fellow of his college. His favorite studies were the Scriptures, the church fathers and other ecclesiastical writers. In 1535 he was made chaplain to Queen Anne Boleyn, who shortly before her death commended to his care her daughter Elizabeth. This appointment carried with it the deanery of the College of Saint John the Baptist at Stoke-by-Clare, in Suffolk. He early imbibed Reformation principles and, in 1537, after the death of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII made him one of his chaplains, and about five years afterward appointed him canon of Ely. In 1544 he was appointed to the mastership of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, for which he compiled a new body of statutes; and in the following year was elected vice-chancellor of the university, and presented with the rectory of Land Beach. In 1547 he married Margaret Harlstone, the daughter of a Norfolkshire gentleman. In 1552 he was elected prebendary and afterward dean of Lincoln; but on the accession of Mary to the throne was stripped of these as well as his other preferments. A portion of his time he now spent in translating the Psalms into English verse. He also wrote a treatise, ‘De Conjugio Sacerdotum,’ defending the marriage of priests. When Elizabeth succeeded to the throne he was raised to the archbishopric of Canterbury, his consecration taking place 17 Dec. 1599. During his 15 years' primacy he labored to make clear the belief and discipline of the Church, and published his “Advertisements” for the regulation of divine service. In 1568 was published under his direction and his expense the Bishops' Bible, which was a revision of the text founded on Cranmer's translation; he was likewise prominently associated with those who drew up the Book of Common Prayer. He edited the histories of Matthew of Westminster, Matthew Paris and others; and had a considerable share in the work ‘De Antiquitate Britannicæ Ecclesiæ.’ Archbishop Parker was the founder of the Society of Antiquaries. His valuable collection of manuscripts relating to the civil and ecclesiastical history of England he presented to his own college at Cambridge and founded a number of valuaible fellowships there. Consult ‘Life and Letters of Matthew Parker’ (Parker Society, 1853); Strype, ‘Life and Acts of Matthew Parker’ (1824); Hook, ‘Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury’ (1872).