PARKER, John II (1548-1617), of Willingdon, Suss. and Charing Cross, London.
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Family and Education
Gent. pens. by 1587-1603; constable, Leominster castle 1589; bailiff of Longney manor, Yorks. 1589; keeper of Falmouth castle 1603-d.; capt. of Pendennis castle 1603-d.2
Parker, who came from a Sussex gentry family, spent much of his life in Ireland. Although wounded when storming a castle in Clanricarde, he seems to have attracted little notice until the defeat at Armagh in 1598, when he and his company fought bravely with the rearguard. Some time after this he was transferred to the garrison at Berwick, but evidently finding the place irksome, he wrote to Cecil in 1601, asking to return to Ireland. It is not clear how he obtained his parliamentary seats. His cousin Lord Buckhurst may have promoted his return at Hastings, and Cecil his return for Truro, but Parker was related to, and was to succeed, the captain of Pendennis castle in Cornwall, Sir Nicholas Parker (not to be confused with Sir Nicholas Parker) who may have contrived his Cornish borough seats in 1593 and 1601.3
Parker’s years of service, in his own estimation, brought few rewards, though he obtained various small grants, and after the Essex uprising he was assigned a fine of £400 imposed on one of the persons implicated. One grant, however, might have brought in a reasonable income. This was the office to file bills and other pleadings in Chancery, granted to him on 9 Apr. 1594, one day before Egerton became master of the rolls, and during a vacancy in that office. The filing had previously been done by the six clerks, whose appointment lay with the master of the rolls, and no patent would have been granted if the office had not been vacant. Indeed, Parker’s letters patent stipulated that before he or his deputies commenced work, they were to take an oath before this dignitary. Naturally Egerton was opposed to the grant and frustrated it by the simple means of refusing to administer the oath. Parker’s supplications had no effect, despite support from Buckhurst, though Egerton allowed Parker’s office to be listed in the return made by the Chancery commissioners in 1598, and even approved the choice of a deputy. Furthermore the six clerks agreed to let Parker collect his fee of 12d., from some suitors, though they were careful not to allow him to do any filing. Most of the suitors resisted what appeared to them as extortion, and after the accession of James I Parker was able to collect nothing. It was later stated that he ‘had never the possession of any one pleading by virtue of his grant, nor could be, for he was not to execute his office before he was sworn’. As Bruce, master of the rolls in the new reign, continued Egerton’s policy, Parker submitted the matter to the consideration of three judges. They found against him, stating that the grant was void in law, and affirming that the custody of bills and pleadings belonged to the master of the rolls, under whom the six clerks were subordinate officers for that service. Parker informed Salisbury in June 1606 that he intended to petition the King, and failing satisfaction would retire to Cornwall, which he did. He died 15 Oct. 1617.4