Parsons, Philip

, an English divine, and miscellaneous writer, was born at Dedham, in Essex, in 1729. His family was ancient, and settled at Hadleigh, in Suffolk, as early as the reign of HenryV1I. where some of their descendants still reside. He lost his father when veryyoung, and owed the care of his education to his maternal uncle, the rev. Thomas Smythies, master of the grammar school at Lavenham, in Suffolk, with whom he continued till he went to Cambridge, where he was entered of Sidney Sussex college, and took his degrees there of B. A. in 1752, and M. A. in 1776. After he had taken orders he was appointed to the free school of Oakham in Rutlandshire, and remained there till 1761, when he was presented to the school and curacy of Wye by Daniel earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham. In the sedulous discharge of the twofold duties of this preferment he was engaged upwards of half a century, and was distinguished by his urbanity, diligence, and classical talents, nor was he less esteemed in his clerical character. He was also presented to the rectory of Eastwell, in 1767, by the same patron, and to the small rectory of Snave in 1776, by archbishop Cornwallis, who enhanced the value of this preferment by a very kind letter, in which his grace testified his high respect for the character and talents of the new incumbent. | Mr. Parsons was the author of several publications, among which were, The nine first papers in the second volume of the “Student,” published in 1750;*


This is not accurate. He may have been a contributor to the “Student,” but could not have written either the nine first, or the last nine papers of the second volume.

On advertising for Curates;” a paper in The World; “The inefficacy of Satire, a poem,” 176G, 4to; “Newmarket, or an Essay on the Turf,1774, 2 vols.; “Astronomic Doubts, a pamphlet,1774; “A volume of Essays,1775; “Dialogues of the Dead with the Living,1782; “Simplicity,” a poem, 1784; and “Monuments and Painted Glass in upwards of 100 churches, chiefly in the eastern part of Kent,1794, 4to. This work, which is interspersed with judicious remarks and interesting anecdotes by the compiler, is become scarce, owing to the fire in Mr. Nichols’s premises, but is highly valuable to the antiquary and lover of such researches. Mr. Parsons also established a Sunday school at Wye; and recommended and contributed much to their establishment in the county of Kent by a sermon and some letters which he published on this occasion. The last years of his life were passed in great retirement; alternately engaged in the discharge of his ministerial functions, and in literary pursuits and correspondence, which, however, were interrupted by the loss of his sight about a year before his death, and at the same time by a very painful disorder. He bore these trials with exemplary patience and resignation. It was his frequent practice, when on his bed, and free from the more excruciating pains of his disorder, to compose moral, lively, and religious pieces, which he afterwards dictated to a faithful amanuensis, who wrote them down. He died at Wye, June 12, 1812, in the eighty-third year of his age. 1

Gent, Mag. vol. LXXXII.