PARKER, John I (1548-1619), of Lambeth, Surr., Bekesbourne, Kent and Cambridge.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 5 May 1548, 1st s. of Matthew Parker, abp. of Canterbury, by Margaret (d.1570), da. of Robert Harlestone. educ. Peterhouse, Camb. 1562. m. Joanna, da. of Richard Cox, bp. of Ely, 4 or 5s. 3da. suc. fa. 1575. Kntd. 1603.

Offices Held

Jt. keeper of PCC 1570-1; actuary of ct. of audience 1572-c.74; jt. registrar of PCC 1573, sole 1574; keeper of Archbishop’s palace at Canterbury 1573; j.p.q. Kent 1583-93; j.p. Surr. from c.1583; commr. for eccles. causes, Surr. c.1586; steward of Archbishop Whitgift’s household 1588; j.p. Isle of Ely 1591.


Until his marriage Parker lived mainly with his father at Canterbury or at Lambeth, where the archbishop bought Lambeth House, formerly the property of the Duke of Norfolk, for his wife Margaret. In 1570 it descended to her son Matthew, and on his death in 1574 to John’s son, also Matthew. Joanna Cox brought her husband lands in Leicestershire and Norfolk, and he also had an estate, probably in right of his wife, at Bassingbourn, Essex (now Cambridgeshire). In 1568 Bishop Cox made him joint master of the game at Somersham park, Huntingdonshire. Between 1572 and 1576 he paid nearly £2,000 to the Marquess of Winchester and his heir for the manor of Nunney Castle, Somerset, but there is no record of his having ever lived there. His favourite property was at Bekesbourne near Canterbury, leased to him about 1586 by Whitgift, who also confirmed him in his lease of the manor of Boughton, Kent. In May 1594 Parker sold Bekesbourne House for over £350, subsequently dividing his time between his chamber in Doctors’ Commons, his house at Lambeth, and property called St. Mary Ostle, Cambridge, left him by his father.

Strype quotes a contemporary estimate of Parker and his brother as ‘very hopeful young men, and adorned with all their father’s and mother’s manners’, their ‘carriage—so obliging, pleasant and humane, that they had the love and esteem of all’. Though he later gained the reputation of a shrewd not to say unscrupulous businessman, Parker was certainly generous to his close relatives. He went much further in providing for his brother’s widow than his position as executor for Matthew required, continuing to pay her a £44 annuity from lands in Bexley, Kent, even after they had been sold, buying her late husband’s jewels for her and giving her presents of money and plate—‘a large recompense’, according to his own notes, ‘for that my brother was advanced unto by her’. He was equally generous to his daughter Margaret on her marriage, and it may have been through kindness that he kept as his housekeeper at Cambridge the widow of one of his relatives there, having b