Parkhurst, John

, an eminent prelate of the sixteenth century, was born at Guild ford, in Surrey, in 1511, and was the son of Mr. George Parkhurst of that place. | He was educated there in the grammar school adjoining to Magdalen college gate, under Thomas Robertson, a very famous teacher. He was elected fellow of Merton college in 1529, and three years after, proceeding in arts, entered into holy orders. Anthony Wood says that he was at this time better esteemed for poetry and oratory than divinity. Yet we find him recorded in the life of Jewell, as the tutor of that excellent prelate, who entered of Merton college in 1535, and as “prudently instilling, together with his other learning, those excellent principles into this young gentleman, which afterwards made him the darling and wonder of his age.” Among other useful employments, we find him collating Coverdale and Tindal’s translations of the Bible along with his pupil, of whom he conceived a very high opinion, and on one occasion exclaimed “Surely Paul’s Cross will one day ring of this boy,” a prophecy which was remarkably fulfilled in Jewell’s celebrated sermon there in 1560. Parkhurst, it is true, was a poet and an orator, but he had very early examined the controversy that was about to end in the reformation, and imbibed the spirit of the latter. In 1548, according to a ms note of Baker, he was presented by Thomas lord Seymour to the rich benefice of Bishop’s Cleve in Gloucestershire, which he held three years in commendam, and where he did much good by his hospitality and charity; but the author of Jewell’s life says that he held this living in 1544, and when in that year Jewell commenced master of arts, he bore the charges of it. Nor, says Jewell’s biographer, “was this the only instance wherein he (Jewell) did partake of this good man’s bounty, for he was wont twice or thrice in a year to invite him to his house, and not dismiss him without presents, money, and other things that were necessary for the carrying on his studies. And one time above the rest, coming into his chamber in the morning, when he was to go back to the university, he seized upon his and his companions purses, saying, What mo’ney, I wonder, have these miserable, and beggardly Oxfordians? And finding them pityfully lean and empty, stuffed them with money, till they became both fat and weighty.

After the death of Edward VI. he joined the exiles abroad, and took up his residence at Zurich, where he remained till the death of queen Mary. Here he met with his pupil Jewell, and on the change of affairs in England they intended to have returned together, but | Parkhurst, thinking that Jewell had not chosen the safest route for his travels, left him and went by himself, the consequence of which was that Parkhurst was robbed of all he had on the road, and Jewell arrived safe in England, and had the satisfaction of relieving the wants of his former benefactor. Soon after Parkhurst arrived, he was elected to the see of Norwich April 13, 1560, and consecrated by archbishop Parker, &c. on Sept. 1. He held the living of Cleve for some time after this along with his bishopric. He now married Margaret, daughter of Thomas Garnish, of Kenton in Suffolk, esq. by Margaret his wife, daughter of sir Hugh Francis, of Giffard’s Hall in Suffolk, knight. In 1566, by virtue of a commission from the principal ministers of the university of Oxford, directed to Laurence Humphrey, the queen’s divinity professor, he and four other bishops were created doctors of divinity, Oct. 30, in the house of one Stephen Medcalf in London, in the presence of William Standish, public notary and registrar of the university, and others.

In the conduct of his diocese, it appears that he differed in many respects from his metropolitan archbishop Parker, and exerted his authority towards the puritans with such moderation, as was accounted “great remissness.” This produced frequent remonstrances on the part of the archbishop. To one of the last of these recorded by Strype, our prelate returned for answer, “What I am and what my doings are, cannot be hidden. And therefore do refer myself to the reports not of any one, but of all severally. This I find by good proof, that the rough and austere manner of ruling doth the least good. And on the other part, the contrary hath and doth daily reclaim and win divers. And therefore do I chuse rather to continue my accustomed and natural form and manner, which I know, how it hath and doth work, than with others by rigour and extremity to over-rule,” &c.

Strype, on the authority of his contemporary Becan, who knew him well, gives him this character: “He was naturally somewhat hasty; but soon appeased again. He would speak his mind freely, and fear none in a good cause. A true friend, and easily reconciled to any against whom he had taken a displeasure. He appointed in his diocese (that was large) for the better oversight thereof, ten commissaries, to whom he, as occasion served, sent instructions for the regulation and order of his see. | He could have been willing to allow a liberty of officiating in the church, to such as could not conform to some of the ceremonies of it, looking upon them as indifferent matters; but upon command from above, he readily obeyed his prince’s and metropolitan’s authority. He was a friend to prophesies; that is, to the meetings of the ministers in several appointed parish churches in his diocese, as in St. Edmund’s Bury, &c. to confer together about the interpretation and sense of the scriptures. But the queen forbidding it, upon some abuses thereof, the archbishop signified to him her will, and he in obedience sent to his archdeacons and commissaries, to have them forborn for the future.” “As for his life and conversation, it was such as might be counted a mirror of virtue; wherein appeared nothing but what was good and godly; an example to the flock in righteousness, in faith, in love, in peace, in word, in purity. He preached diligently, and exhorted the people that came to him. He was a learned man, as well in respect of human learning, as divine, well seen iti the sacred Scriptures; an earnest protestant, and lover of sincere religion; an excellent bishop, a faithful pastor, and a worthy example to -all spiritual ministers in his diocese, both for doctrine, life, and hospitality.” This character is confirmed by Bale, in the dedication to Parkhurst, of his “Reliques of Rome,” printed in 1563.

Dr. Parkhurst died Feb. 2, 1574, and was buried in the nave of the cathedral of Norwich, on the south side between the eighth and ninth pillars. Against the west part of the latter was a monument, now much mutilated; his figure in a gown and square cap, and the inscription, being taken away during the rebellion, with the epitaph, which is still on record in Blomefield’s History of Norwich.

His works have not much connexion with his profession, all, except his letters, being Latin poetry on sundry occasions. He was indeed one of the translators of the Bishops’ Bible, of which his share was the Apocrypha from the book of Wisdom to the end; but he is best known to the curious by his “Ludicra, sive Epigrammata juvenilia.” In T572 he sent a copy of these to his old and dear friend Dr. Wilson, master of St. Catherine’s, as a new-year’s gift, and styled them his “good, godly, and pleasant epigrams;” and they were in the following year printed by Day, in a small 4to volume. Why Anthony Wood should give the report that these epigrams were as indecent as Martial’s, | when he adds at the same time that “he cannot perceive it,” seems unaccountable; but even Blomefield has adopted this false accusation. Many of them appear to have been first printed at Zurich in 1558, where they were written, and republished now. Among the commendatory verses is a copy by dean Nowell, to whom two of the epigrams are addressed, and who was not likely to have commended indecencies, if we could suppose our pious prelate capable of publishing such. “His epigrams,” says archdeacon Churton, “affording notices of persons and things not elsewhere easily found, are on the Grecian rather than the Roman model, not sparkling with wit, but grave and didactic.” The other works attributed to bishop Parkhurst are, 1. “Epigrammata in mortem duorum fratrum Suffolciensium, Caroli et Henrici Brandon,” Lond. 1552, 4to. These were the sons of Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk, and died of the sweating-sickness. 2. “Epigrammata seria,” ibid. 1560, which seem to be a part of his larger collection; and some of them had been long before published at Strasburgh, along with Shepreve’s “Summa et synopsis Nov. Test, distichis ducentis sexaginta comprehensa.” 3. “Vita Christi, carm. Lat. in lib. precum privat.” ibid. 1578. He also addressed Henry VIII. and queen Catherine in some complimentary verses, when they were about to visit Oxford in 1543; and there is an epitaph of his on queen Catherine in the chapel of Sudley-castle. Several of his letters have been published by Strype, and more in ms. are in the British Museum. 1

1 Ath. Ox. vol. I. new *di>. Tanner and Bale. —Strype’s Annal?. —Strype‘ Pnrk-r, p. 67. 10*, 107. 19’2. <209. ‘246 8. 310. 335. 348. 368. 450. 452. 455. 4nO. 4hO. Life of Jewell. Bloint-a^ld’s Norwich. Neal’s Puritan* ArchaeuT,. IX. _ Churtnu’s l’f 'f Nowell. Beloe’s Anecdotes,ol. II.