Parker, Matthew

, the second protestant archbishop of Canterbury, a very learned prelate, and a great benefactor to the literature of his country, was born in the parish of St. Saviour’s, Norwich, Aug. 6, 1504. He was of ancient and reputable families both by the father’s and mother’s side. His father dying when he was only twelve years of age, the care of his education devolved on his mother, who appears to have spared no pains in procuring him the best tutors in such learning as might qualify him for the university, to which he was removed in September 1521.*


In this and a few following dates we have followed Mr. Masters, in his History of Corpus Christi college, who seems to correct —Strype’s dates on good authority.

He was entered of Corpus Christi or Bene’t college, Cambridge, and was at first maintained at his mother’s expense, but in six months after admittance that expense was in some measure relieved, by his being chosen, a scholar of the house, called a bible clerk. In 1524 he took his degree of bachelor of arts, and in 1526 was made subdeacon, under the titles of Barnwell, and the chapel in Norwich fields. While at college, he had for his contemporaries Bacon and Cecil, Bradford and Ridley, afterwards men of great eminence in state and church, and the two latter distinguished sufferers for the sake of religion.

In April 1527 he was ordained deacon, in June priest, and in September created master of arts, and chosen fellow of the college, having approved himself to the society by his regular and studious behaviour. He now studied the Scriptures, fathers, and ecclesiastical writers, with such diligence and attention, that in a few years he made great progress in every branch of knowledge necessary for a divine; and began to be so much noticed on that account, that when cardinal Wolsey was looking out for men of the greatest learning and character, to fill his new college at Oxford, Mr. Parker was one of those whom he selected for this mark of distinction; but, through the persuasion of his friends, he declined the cardinal’s offer, as did, at the same time, his celebrated predecessor Cranmer, then on the eve of being made archbishop of Canterbury.

In 1533, when Mr. Parker had reached his twenty-ninth year, Cranmer, who was now promoted to the archbishopric, granted him a licence to preach through his province, as the king did a patent for the same throughout the kingdom, good and solid preachers being at that time very | rare, The university, likewise, as he was much afflicted with a head-ache, readily passed a grace that he might preach covered, and showed him other marks of their regard. We have already noticed some of his celebrated contemporaries, and it may now be added, that he lived in great intimacy and friendship with Bilney, Stafford, Arthur, friar Barnes, Sowode, master of the college, Fowke, and many others, by whose means religion and learning were beginning to revive at Cambridge. For Bilney he had so great a veneration, that he went down to Norwich to attend his martyrdom, and afterwards defended him against the misrepresentations of sir Thomas More, who had asserted that he recanted at the stake. In the abovementioned year (1533) he was sent for to court, and made chaplain to queen Anne Boleyn, with whom he soon became a great favourite, she admiring his piety, learning, and prudence. A short time before her death, she gave him a particular charge to take care of her daughter Elizabeth, that she might not want his pious and wise counsel; and at the same time laid a strict charge upon the young princess, to make him a grateful return, if it should ever be in her power.

In July 1535 he proceeded B. D. and in the same year was preferred by the queen to the deanry of the college of Stoke-Clare in Suffolk, which was the more acceptable, as affording him an agreeable retirement for the pursuit of his studies. His friend Dr. Walter Haddon used to call it Parker’s Tusculanum. Meeting here with many superstitious practices and abuses that stood in need of correction, he immediately composed a new body of statutes, and erected a school for the instruction of youth in grammar and the study of humanity, which by his prudent care and management soon produced the happiest effects. These regulations were so generally approved, that when the duke of Norfolk was about to convert the monastery at Thetford, of his own foundation, into a college of secular priests, he requested a sight of them for his direction. Mr. Parker now continued to be an assiduous preacher, often preaching at Stoke, and at Cambridge, and places adjacent, and sometimes at London, at St. Paul’s-cross. At what time he imbibed the principles of the reformers we are not told, but it appears that in these sermons he attacked certain Romish superstitions with such boldness, that articles were exhibited against him by some zealous | papists, against whom he vindicated himself with great ability before the lord Chancellor Audley, who encouraged him to go on without fear. On the death of queen Anne in 1537, the king took him under his more immediate protection, appointed him one of his chaplains, and, upon new-modelling the church of Ely, nominated him to one of the prebends in the charter of erection.

In 1538 he made a visit to the university, where, after having performed his exercises with general applause, he commenced D. D. In 1542 he was presented by the chapter of Stoke to the rectory of Ashen in Essex, which he resigned in 1544, and was presented to the rectory of Birmingham All Saints, in the county of Norfolk; but his most important promotion that year, was to the mastership of Bene’t college, Cambridge, where he had been educated. On this occasion he was recommended to the society by the king, as the fittest person in every respect; and they knowing his character, did not hesitate to elect him, and he was admitted accordingly Dec. 4, 1544. He began his government of the college with making some useful orders concerning certain benefactions and foundations belonging to the college; and, to prevent the college goods from being embezzled, he caused exact inventories of them to be made, and deposited in the common chest, ordering at the same time that they should be triennially inspected and renewed by the master and fellows. Finding likewise their accounts in great confusion, occasioned principally by the neglect of registering them in books belonging to the society, he put them into such a method, that by comparing the rentals, receipts, expenses, &c. together, they might at any time appear as clear as possible, and these he caused to be annually engrossed on parchment for their better preservation. He also undertook the revisal of the statutes, and reduced them to nearly their present form, being assisted in this by his friend Dr. Mey, the civilian, and one of the visitors who confirmed them in the second year of Edward VI. All these regulations and transactions, with some other matters relating both to the college and university, he caused to be registered in a book, called the Black Book, which has ever since been in the custody of the master. The old statutes were indeed once more introduced in the time of queen Mary, but continued no longer in force than to the first year of Elizabeth’s reign, when the former were again revived, | and in 1568 finally reviewed, corrected, and approved by her visitors. In 1545 he was elected vice-chancellor, in which office he had an opportunity of exerting himself still farther for the welfare of his college and the university at large; and he gave such satisfaction, that within the space of three years he was elected to the same office. On his election, Dr. Haddon, the public orator, gave him this character to his friend Cheke, “cujus tu gravitatem, consilium, literas, nosti, nos experimur;” adding, “Catonem aut Quintum Fabium renatum putes.

In the same year, 1545, the society presented him to the rectory of Land-Beach; but to his great mortification, he was obliged to resign his beloved college of Stoke in 1547, although he laboured as much as possible to prevent its dissolution. To preserve, however, as far as he could, the memory of its founder Edmund Mortimer, earl of March, he brought away with him his arms painted on glass, and placed them in a window of the master’s lodge; and secured the books of history and antiquities, which made part of that invaluable collection with which he afterwards enriched his college. The same year, and in the forty-third of his age, he married Margaret the daughter of Robert Harlstone, gent. of Mattishall in Norfolk, and sister of Simon Harlstone, who had lived some time at Mendlesham in Suffolk, where he was distinguished for his piety and sufferings in the reign of queen Mary. Dr. Parker had been attached to this lady for about seven years, but they were prevented from marrying by the statute of Henry VIII. which made the marriage of the clergy felony. Mr. Masters conjectures that it was about this time he drew up, in his defence, a short treatise still preserved in the college library “De conjugio Sacerdotum,” and another against alienation of the revenues of the church, which Strype has printed in his Appendix, No. VII. It is also probable that, on the increase of his family, he added the long gallery to the master’s lodge. The lady he married proved a most affectionate wife, and had so much sweetness of temper and amiable disposition, that bishop Ridley is said to have asked, “If Mrs. Parker had a sister?” intimating that he would have been glad to have married one who came near her in excellence of character.

In 1549, when Kett’s rebellion broke out, Dr. Parker happened to be on a visit to his friends at Norwich, where he did great service by his exhortations and sermons; and | even ventured into the camp of the rebels, and, without regarding the imminent danger to which this exposed him, boldly inveighed against their rebellion and cruelty, exhorted them to temperance, sobriety, and submission, and placed in the strongest light every argument and warning that was likely to prevail. To give a faithful account of this affair, he afterwards employed Mr. Nevile (see Nevile, Alexander), who wrote it in elegant Latin, and received for his reward an hundred pounds. In 1550 he lost his most intimate friend Dr. Martin Bucer, who left him one of his executors; and to testify his great regard for that eminent reformer, he preached his funeral sermon. In this, with great modesty and diffidence, he has drawn a most excellent character of him, and indeed the whole is written in a style so plain and uniform, as to be much superior to the common rate of sermons in those days. It was printed by Jugge, under the title, “Howe we ought to take the death of the godly, a sermon made in Cambridge at the burial of the noble clerck, D. M. Bucer. By Matthew Parker, D. of Divinitie.

In 1552 the king presented him to the canonry and prebend of Covingham, in the church of Lincoln, where he was soon after elected dean, upon Dr. Taylor’s promotion to that see. He had before been nominated to the mastership of Trinity-college, probably on the death of Dr. Redman in 1551, but this did not take effect. It is also said that he declined a bishopric in this reign. On the accession of queen Mary, however, the scene was changed, and he, with all the married clergy who would not part with their wives, and conform to those superstitious rites and ceremonies they had so lately rejected, were stript of their preferments. He bore this reverse of fortune with pious resignation. “After my deprivation” (he says, in his private journal) “I lived so joyful before God in my conscience, and so neither ashamed nor dejected, that the most sweet leisure for study, to which the good providence of God has now recalled me, gave me much greater and more solid pleasures, than that former busy and dangerous kind of life ever afforded me. What will hereafter befall me, I know not; but to God, who takes care of all, and who will one day reveal the hidden things of men’s hearts, I commend myself wholly, and my pious and most chaste wife, with my two most dear little sons.” It appears also by a ms. in the college, quoted by Strype, that Dr. Parker | “lurked secretly in those years (the reign of queen Mary) within the house of one of his friends, leading a poor life, without any men’s aid or succour; and yet so well contented with his lot, that in that pleasant rest, and leisure for his studies, he would never, in respect of himself, have desired any other kind of life, the extreme fear of danger only excepted. And therein he lived as all other good men then did. His wife he would not be divorced from, or put her away all this evil time (as he might, if he would, in those days, which so rigorously required it), being a woman very chaste, and of a very virtuous behaviour, and behaving herself with all due reverence toward her husband.”

It may seem extraordinary that one who had so early imbibed the sentiments of the reformers, and had adhered to them so constantly, should have escaped the vigilance of the persecutors; and it is certain that strict search was sometimes made for him, and that on one occasion, when obliged to make his escape on a sudden, he got a fall from his horse, by which he was so much hurt, that he never recovered it. Yet either from the remissness of his enemies, or the kindness of his friends, he was enabled to secrete himself, and notwithstanding the danger he was in, he employed his time in study. Among other things, it was during this alarming interval, that he wrote or rather enlarged a treatise, supposed to be drawn up by bishop Ponet, in defence of priests’ marriages, against a book of Dr. Martin’s, which he caused to be printed, but without his name, in 1562. The title was “A Defence of Priests’ Marriages, established by the Imperial laws of the realm of England; against a civilian, naming himself Thomas Martin, doctor of the civil laws,” &c. This work is noticed in our account of Dr. Martin, and a full account of it is given by Strype, p. 504. Dr. Parker also employed some part of his time in translating the book of Psalms into various and elegant English metre, which was likewise afterwards printed, but in what year is uncertain, unless in 1567, as minuted with a pen in the copy which is in the college library. This book, which Strype says he never could get a sight of, is divided into three quinquagenes with the argument of each psalm in metre placed before it, and a suitable collect full of devotion and piety at the end. Some copies of verses, and transcripts from the fathers and others on the use of the psalms are prefixed to it, with a table dividing them into Prophetici, Eruditorii, Consolatorii, | &c. and at the end are added the eight several tunes, with alphabetical tables to the whole.

On the accession of queen Elizabeth, he left his retreat in Norfolk, and being on a visit to his friends at Cambridge, was sent for up to town by his old acquaintance and contemporaries at the university, sir Nicholas Bacon, now lord-keeper of the great seal, and sir William Cecil, secretary of state, who well knew his worth. But he was now become enamoured of retirement, and suspecting they designed him for some high dignity in the church, of which however no intimation had yet been given, he wrote them many letters,*


These letters are printed in Burnet’s History of the Reformation, but the originals are in the archbishop’s copy of his “Antiquitates” in the Lambeth library, with many other curious ms documents respecting him.

setting forth his own inabilities and infirmities, and telling the lord-keeper in confidence, “he would much rather end his days upon some such small preferment as the mastership of his college, a living of twenty nobles per ann. at most, than to dwell in the deanry of Lincoln, which is 200 at the least.” These statesmen, however, still considered him as in every respect the best fitted for the archbishopric of Canterbury; and the reluctance he showed to accept it, and the letters he wrote both to them and the queen, only served to convince all parties that they had made a proper choice. He was accordingly consecrated on Dec. 17, 1559, in Lambeth chapel, by William Barlow, late bishop of Bath and Wells, and then elect of Chichester; John Story, late bishop of Chichester, and then elect of Hereford; Miles Coverdale, bishop of Exeter, and John Hodgkin, suffragan bishop of Bedford. An original instrument of the rites and ceremonies used on this occcasion, corresponding exactly with the archbishop’s register, is still carefully preserved in Bene’t college library, and proved of great service, when the papists, some years after, invented a story that Parker was consecrated at the Nag’s head inn, or tavern, in Cheapside. That this was a mere fable has been sufficiently shown by many authors, and is acknowledged even by catholic writers. Being thus constituted primate and metropolitan, Dr. Parker endeavoured to fill the vacant sees with men of learning and piety, who were well affected to the reformation; and soon after his own consecration, he consecrated in his chapel at Lambeth, Grindal, bishop of London; Cox, bishop of Ely; Sandys, bishop of Worcester; Jewell, bishop of Salisbury; and several others. | The subsequent history of archbishop Parker is that of the church of England. He had assisted at her foundation, and for the remainder of his life had a principal hand in the superstructure. Referring, however, to ecclesiastic history, and particularly to Strype’s invaluable volume, for the full details of the archbishop’s conduct, we shall confine ourselves to a few of the most prominent of those measures in which he was personally concerned. Soon after his consecration he received a letter from the celebrated Calvin, in which that reformer said that “he rejoiced in the happiness of England, and that God had raised up so gracious a queen, to be instrumental in propagating the true faith of Jesus Christ, by restoring the gospel, and expelling idolatry, together with the bishop of Rome’s usurped power.” And then in order to unite protestants together, as he had attempted before in king Edward’s reign, he intreated the archbishop to prevail with her majesty, to summon a general assembly of all the protestant clergy, wheresoever dispersed; and that a set form and method (namely of public service, and government of the church) might be established ,* not only within her dominions, but also among all the reformed and evangelical churches abroad. Parker communicated this letter to the queen’s council, and they took it into consideration, and desired the archbishop to return thanks to Calvin; and to signify that they thought his proposals very fair and desireable, but as to church-government, to inform him, that the church of England would adhere to the episcopal form. The death of Calvin prevented any farther intercourse on this subject, but Strype has brought sufficient evidence that Calvin was not absolutely averse to episcopacy, and that he was as zealous for uniformity* as our archbishop, who has been so much reproached for his endeavours to promote it.

In 1560, Parker wrote a letter to the queen, with the concurrence of the bishops of London and Ely, exhorting her majesty to marry, which it is well known she declined. He also visited several dioceses, in some of which he | found the churches miserably supplied with preachers. The bishop of Ely certified, that of 152 livings in his diocese, fifty-two only were duly served; and that there were thirty-four benefices vacant, thirteen that had neither rectors nor vicars, and fifty-seven that were enjoyed by non-­residents. This was not owing to the popish clergy being deprived of their benefices, for the number so deprived did not exceed two hundred in the whole kingdom; but the truth was, that at the conclusion of Mary’s reign the great bulk of the clergy were grossly ignorant, and it was long before the universities were encouraged to furnish a series of learned divines.

In 1561, archbishop Parker and some of the other prelates made an application to the queen against the use of images, to which her majesty still discovered a very great inclination, and it may be inferred that they induced her to change her opinion on this matter, from the anecdote given in our account of dean Nowell, who incurred her displeasure by only presenting her with a prayer-book, illustrated with engravings. In other respects she adhered to many of her father’s notions, and when about this time she took a journey into Essex and Suffolk, she expressed great displeasure at finding so many of the clergy married, and at observing so many women and children in cathedrals and colleges. She had, indeed, so strong an aversion to matrimony in the clergy, that it was owing to Cecil’s courage and dexterity, as appears by a letter of his to Parker, that she did not absolutely prohibit the marriage of all ecclesiastics. He was, however, obliged to consent to an injunction, “that no head or member of any college or cathedral, should bring a wife, or any other woman, into the precincts of it, to abide in the same, on pain of forfeiture of all ecclesiastical promotions.” Archbishop Parker took the liberty to remonstrate with the queen against this order, and on this interview she treated the institution of matrimony with contempt, declared to him that she repented her making any of them bishops, and wished it had been otherwise; nay, threatened him with injunctions of another nature, which his grace understood to be in favour of the old religion. In his letter to Cecil on this occasion, he assures him that the bishops have all of them great reason to be dissatisfied with the queen; that he repents his having engaged in the station in which he was; and that the reception which he had from her majesty the day | before, had quite indisposed him for all other business, and he could only mourn to God in the bitterness of his soul; but if she went on to force the clergy to any compliance, they must obey God rather than men, and that many of them had conscience and courage enough to sacrifice their lives in defence of their religion.

But, whatever our archbishop might suffer from the despotic caprices of the queen, he had yet more trouble with the dissentions which appeared in the church itself, and never ceased to prevail, in a greater or less degree, until the whole fabric was overturned in the reign of Charles I. These first appeared in the opposition given to the ecclesiastic habits by a considerable number of divines, and those men of worth and piety, who seemed to be of opinion that popery might consist in dress as well as doctrine. By virtue of the clause in the act of uniformity, which gave the queen a power of adding any other rites and ceremonies she pleased, she set forth injunctions ordering that the clergy should wear seemly garments, square caps, and copes, which had been laid aside in the reign of king Edward. Many conformed to these in every circumstance, but others refused the cap and surplice, considering them as relics of popery, and therefore both superstitious and sinful. The queen, enraged at this opposition, which was favoured even by some of her courtiers, wrote a letter to the two archbishops, reflecting with some acrimony on it, as the effect of remissness in the bishops; and requiring them to confer with her ecclesiastical commissioners, that an exact order and uniformity might be maintained in all external rites and ceremonies; and that none hereafter should be admitted to any ecclesiastical preferment, but those who were disposed to obedience in this respect. Archbishop Parker, accordingly, with the assistance of several of his brethren, drew up ordinances for the due order in preaching and administering the sacraments, and for the apparel of persons ecclesiastical. According to these, the preachers were directed to study edification, and to manage controversy with sobriety; exhorting the people to frequent the communion, and to obey the laws, and the queen’s injunctions. All the licences for preaching were declared void and of no effect, but were to be renewed to such as their bishops thought worthy of the office; and such as preached unsound doctrine were to be denounced to the bishop, and not contradicted in the church. These | who had licences were to preach once in three months; and those who were unlicensed, were to read homilies. In administering the sacrament, the principal minister was to wear a cope, but at all other prayers only the surplice; in cathedrals they were to wear hoods, and preach in them; the sacrament was to be received by every body kneeling; every minister saying the public prayers, or administering the sacraments, was to wear a surplice with sleeves; and every parish was to provide a communion-table, and to have the ten commandments set on the east wall above it. The bishops were to give notice when any persons were to be ordained, and none were to be ordained without degrees. Then followed some rules about wearing apparel, caps, and gowns; to all which was added, a form of subscription to be required of all who were admitted to any office in the church; that they would not preach without licence, that they would read the Scriptures intelligibly, that they would keep a register-book, that they would use such apparel in service-time especially as was appointed, that they would keep peace and quiet in their parishes, that they would read some of the Bible daily, and in conclusion, that they would observe uniformity, and conform to all the laws and orders already established for that purpose; and to use no sort of trade, if their living amounted to twenty nobles.

It might have been expected that these ordinances would have pleased the queen, as being in conformity with her wishes, and, in fact, in answer to her orders; but the opponents of the habits, who began to be called Puritans, applied to their friends at court, and especially to her great favourite Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, who prevailed so far with her majesty, that all her former resolution disappeared, and she refused to sanction the ordinances with her authority, telling the archbishop, that the oath of canonical obedience was sufficient to bind the inferior clergy to their duty, without the interposition of the crown. The archbishop, hurt at such capricious conduct, and at being placed in such a situation between the court and the church, told Cecil, that if the ministry persisted in their indifference, he would “no more strive against the stream, fume or chide who would;” and it is most probable his remonstrances prevailed, for the above ordinances were a few days after published, under the name of Advertisements; and he then proceeded upon them with | that zeal which procured him from one party the reproach of being a persecutor, and from the other the honour of being a firm friend and supporter of the church-establishment. The particular steps he took, the trials he instituted, and the punishments he inflicted, are detailed at length by Strype and other church-historians; but on the merit of his conduct there is great diversity of opinion. It has been said, both in excuse and in reproach of his measures, that he was too subservient to the queen. To us it appears, that he took as much liberty in advising the queen, and in contending with her humours, as any prelate or statesman of her reign, and that what he did to promote uniformity in the church arose from a sincere, however mistaken opinion, that uniformity was necessary to the advancement of the reformation, and in itself practicable. All that is wrong in this opinion must be referred to the times in which he lived, when no man conceived that an established church could flourish if surrounded by sectaries, and when toleration was not at all understood in its present sense.

He continued to struggle with the difficulties attending his office and measures, until his seventy-first year, when, finding himself in a declining condition, he signed his will April 5, 1575, and died on May 17 following. He was buried in his own chapel at Lamleth, with a Latin inscription by his friend Dr. Walter Haddon: but this was demolished, and his bones taken up and scattered, during the usurpation; nor was it known what became of them till they were discovered by Dugdale, in archbishop Sancroft’s time, who again replaced them in the midst of the area of the chapel, as a small marble stone facing the altar, with this inscription upon it, now denotes, "

<latin>Corpus Matthæi archiepiscopi tandem hie quiescit</latin>
:" the monument itself, with an epitaph upon it of his own drawing up, being since removed into the anti-chapel.

Concerning his learning and zeal for the promotion of learning, there is no difference of opinion. His skill in ancient liturgies was such, that he was one of the first selected to draw up the Book of Common Prayer; and when he came to be placed at the head of the church, he laboured much to engage the bishops, and other learned men, in the revisal and correction of the former translations of the Bible. This was at length undertaken and carried on under his direction and inspection, who assigned | particular portions to each of his assistants, which he afterwards perused and corrected, and spared no pains in getting it completed. It was first published in 1568, and has usually been called the “Bishop’s Bible,” and ran its course with the Geneva translation, until the present version was executed, in the reign of king James. He also published a "

<w>Saxon homily on the Sacrament</w>
,“translated out of Latin into that language, by Ælfric a learned abbot of St. Alban’s, about 900 years before; with two epistles of the same, in which is not the least mention of the doctrine of transubstantiation. He was the editor also of editions of the histories of Matthew of Westminster and Matthew of Paris, and of various other works, enumerated by Tanner; some of which were either composed by him, or printed at his expence. The work on which he is thought to have spent most time was that
<w>De Antiquitate Britanniæ Ecclesiæ</w>
;“but his share in this is a disputed point among antiquaries. In his letter to the lord treasurer, to whom he presented a copy, he speaks of it as his own collection, which had been the employment of his leisure hours. Dr. Drake likewise, in the preface to his edition of it, quotes a letter of the archbishop’s in the college-library, in which he expressly styles it,” My book of Canterbury Predecessors;“and archbishop Bramhall was of opinion, that the conclusion of the preface proved Parker himself to have been the author. But notwithstanding these testimonies, the matter is doubtful. Selden was the first who called it in question, although without giving his reasons; and sir Henry Spelman considered Dr. Ackworth to have been either the author or collector of the work. Archbishop Usher thinks that Ackworth wrote only the first part, concerning the British antiquities; and he, Selden, and Wharton, ascribe the lives of the archbishops to Josselyn, and make Parker little more than the director or encourager of the whole. And this certainly seems to be confirmed by the copy now in the Lambethlibrary. This copy, which originally belonged to that library, but was missing from the year 1720, was replaced in 1757 by Dr. Trevor, bishop of Durham, who found it in the Sunderland-library. This, which Dr. Ducarel thought the only perfect one existing, contains many manuscript papers, letters, and notes, respecting archbishop Parker and the see of Canterbury; and, among these, some proofs that Ackworth and Josselyn had a | considerable share in the composition of the work. At the beginning of St. Augustine’s life we find this note:” These 24 pages of St. Augustine’s life were thus begun by George Acworth Dr. of laws, at the appointment of Matthew Parker Abp.of Cant, and the lives of all the archbishops should have in this course been perfected—(some words not intelligible)—but deth prevented it.“This Dr. Ackworth, as we have mentioned in our account of him (vol. I.) was alive in 1576, but how long after is not known, but as this is a year after our prelate’s death, there seems some difficulty in understanding the latter part of this note, without adopting archbishop Usher’s opinion above mentioned. We also find in the Lambeth copy, on the title-page of the history, the following note:” This Historie was collected and penned by John Josselyn, one of the sons of sir Thomas Josselyn, knight, by the appointment and oversight of Matthew Parker archbishop of Cant. the said John being entertained in the said archb. house, as one of his antiquaries, to whom, besides the allowance afforded to him in his howse, he gave to hym the parsonage of Hollinborn in Kent," &c.

It seems probable therefore that Parker planned this work, and supplied his assistants with materials from his own collections respecting ecclesiastical antiquities. It was printed probably at Lambeth, where the archbishop had an establishment of printers, engravers, and illuminators, in a folio volume, in 1572. The number of copies printed appears to have been very small, some think not more than four or five, for private distribution; but this must be a mistake; for Dr. Drake mentions his having consulted twenty-one copies, most of which, he adds, were imperfect. The copies extant, however, in a perfect state, are very few: Strype mentions only five, and one of these, which he calls the choicest of all, belonged to archbishop Sancroft, came afterwards into the hands of Mr. Wharton, and appears to be the one now at Lambeth. There is a very fine copy in the British Museum, bound in green velvet embroidered, which appears to have been the presentation-copy to queen Elizabeth. A bad edition of the work was published at Hanover in 1605; and a very elegant one by Dr. Drake in 1729, folio. In 1574, a short life of archbishop Parker was published abroad, most probably by one of his enemies among the puritans, under the title “The Life of the 70 | Archbishopp of Canterbury, presently settinge. Englished, and to be added to the 69 lately sett forth in Latin. This number of seventy is so complete a number as it is great pitie ther should be one more: but that as Augustin was the first, so Matthew might be the last.” Of this scurrilous publication an account may be seen in the “Restituta,” vol. I.

To the university of Cambridge, and particularly to his own college, he was a most munificent benefactor, founding, at his own expence, many fellowships and scholarships. He was also the founder of the first Society of Antiquaries, over which he presided during his life, and in this office was succeeded by archbishop Whitgift. He had the taste and spirit of an antiquary from his earliest years, and employed his interest, when he rose in the world, as well as his fortune, in accumulating collections, or transcripts of manuscripts, from the dissolved monasteries. In his library is a letter from the privy-council, dated July 1568, signifying the queen’s pleasure, that the archbishop, or his deputies, should be permitted to peruse all the records of the suppressed houses. The greatest favour, therefore, which he conferred on literature, was the invaluable collection of Mss. and printed books which he gave to his college, and which is there still preserved. Fuller styled this collection “the Sun of English Antiquity, before it was eclipsed by that of sir Robert Cotton,” and justly, as it contained more materials, relating to the civil and ecclesiastical history of this kingdom, than had ever been collected. The manuscripts are of the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries. Some are as old as the tenth, ninth, and eighth. They relate to the writings of the fathers and school-divinity, to civil and ecclesiastical matters, to the concerns of various religious houses, of the university, &c. Many of them are in the old Saxon character, and they are all well described in Nasmith’s Catalogue. A copy of his will is preserved in the College-library, as are two pictures of him in oil, with a beautiful one in water-colours, taken in the seventieth year of his age, at the end of the college-statutes. His only surviving son, John, was knighted in 1603, and died in 1618, but there is nothing remarkable in his history; and the family is now thought to be extinct. 1


Strype’s Life. Masters’s Hist, of C. C. C. C. Biog. Brit, a very super-


ficial article. Le Neve’s Protestant Bishops. Burnet’s Hist, of the Reformation. ms Letter of Dr. Ducarel’s, &c. &c. See also various curious particulars in Lysous’s Environs, the History of Lambeth, &c.