PARKER, Henry (1638-1713), of Honington, Warws.
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Family and Education
b. 25 July 1638, 1st s. of Henry Parker, Painter-Stainer, of Fleet Street, London and Little Grove, East Barnet, Herts. by Margaret, da. of John White of London. educ. Merchant Taylors 1650; I. Temple 1658, called 1666. m. 29 Mar. 1665 (with £1,500), Mary (d. 1729), da. of Alexander Hyde, bp. of Salisbury 1665–7, sis. of Robert Hyde*, 5s. (3 d.v.p.) 5da. (3 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1670, uncle Sir Hugh Parker as 2nd Bt. Mar. 1697.1
Clerk of assize, Oxford circuit Nov. 1660–74; recorder, Evesham 1672–Feb. 1688, Oct. 1688–d.; commr. recusants, Worcs. 1675.2
Parker was a talented lawyer. His successful practice enabled him to purchase property at Talton in Worcestershire as early as 1663 and also an estate at Honington where he rebuilt the seat. After serving for Evesham in the first two Exclusion Parliaments, James II’s Parliament and the Convention of 1689, he was unable to secure re-election in 1690, reportedly desisting a few days before the poll. Little is known of his activities during his absence from Parliament, but he continued to serve as a justice in both Worcestershire and Warwickshire, and as a deputy-lieutenant. In April 1691 he was allowed access to Clarendon (his wife’s third cousin), who was imprisoned as a suspected Jacobite. He acted as temporary steward for the Earl of Northampton during 1693 and may have maintained a legal practice during this period.3
One of Parker’s rivals for a seat at Evesham, Sir James Rushout, 1st Bt.*, described Parker’s position as ‘very strong’ in the preparations for the 1695 election. This proved an accurate assessment as many of his leading supporters were prepared to poll singly for him and thereby ensure his victory over Rushout’s nephew, Sir Rushout Cullen, 3rd Bt.* His early activities in the Commons cannot be distinguished from those of his namesake, George, but he was probably an inactive Member. He was forecast in January 1696 as a likely opponent of the Court on the proposed council of trade, refused to sign the Association in February, and in March voted against fixing the price of guineas at 22s. In the following session, on 25 Nov. 1696, he voted against the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†, before receiving leave on 17 Dec. to go into the country following the death of his daughter, Lady Pakington. In March 1697 he succeeded to his uncle’s baronetcy and, according to Sir John Pakington, 4th Bt.*, to the ‘great part’ of his estate. In the next session, on 18 Jan. 1698, he was first-named to a committee ordered to consider a petition from Worcestershire glass manufacturers. On 14 Apr. he was given leave to go into the country on ‘extraordinary occasions’, and in May was reported to be taking up the grievance of the inhabitants of Broadway hundred concerning the land tax which the local commissioners had failed to rectify. Such services did no harm to his chances of re-election and he was returned again for Evesham in 1698.4
On a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments compiled in around September 1698, Parker was classed as a Country supporter. This view of him was corroborated by a list forecasting his likely opposition on the standing army question. In the 1699–1700 session, he helped to manage through the House a private bill enabling Sir Thomas Robinson to charge his estate with £7,000. On 27 Feb. Parker reported to the House that one of his tenants had been arrested, and the case was referred to the committee of privileges, although no report was made to the House.
At the first general election of 1701, Parker appears to have desisted in his attempts to be returned. However, he remained active in local affairs as testified by his appointment as a deputy-lieutenant for Warwickshire in both 1701 and 1703. His name appears erroneously (as he was not a Member) on a list of those voting against agreeing with the Lords’ amendments to the abjuration bill on 13 Feb. 1703. Having transferred his interest at Evesham to his son, Hugh*, he was dependent upon the influence of others for any return to the Commons. An opportunity arose on the death of James Herbert, Member for Aylesbury. Parker’s former son-in-law Pakington chose him to defend his interest there, and he was returned for the borough on 24 Nov. 1704, in time to vote on the major issue of the session, the Tack of the occasional conformity bill. His name was added to the forecast of the Tack, originally compiled on 30 Oct., as a probable supporter of the measure and he duly voted for it on 28 Nov.5
Parker did not contest the general election in 1705. However, he clearly had a continuing role to play in Worcestershire politics. In 1705 he was one of the Tory supporters of Pakington who offered to cast their second votes for William Bromley I* in return for a reciprocal gesture. He supported the election of his son-in-law Sir Thomas Cookes Winford, 2nd Bt.*, in the county by-election of December 1707, William Walsh* estimating that Parker could command between 60 and 80 votes. Furthermore, because of his close relationship with Pakington he was able to concert matters for a meeting of the gentry which preceded the 1708 election. In later years he consolidated his estates, in particular adding the manor of Tredington in Warwickshire, which had been the subject of a long suit with Bishop Stillingfleet and his son, but he may have spent some of his retirement in London for he was residing in Devonshire Street in 1709. He died on 25 Oct. 1713 and was buried in Honington church. He left a house in Holborn for the use of his wife for as long as she remained a widow. Honington was left to his grandson, Henry John Parker (who became 3rd baronet) his eldest son, Hugh, having predeceased him by a few months.