PARKER, Sir Robert, 1st Bt. (c.1655-91), of Ratton, Willingdon, Suss.
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Family and Education
b. c.1655, 1st surv. s. of George Parker. m. 5 Feb. 1674, aged 19, Sarah (d.1708), da. of George Chute of Brixton Causeway, Lambeth, Surr., 5s. 2da. suc. fa. 1673; cr. Bt. 22 May 1674.
J.p. Suss. 1676-?89, commr. for assessment 1677-80, dep. lt. May 1688-?9.
Parker was returned for Hastings to the three Exclusion Parliaments, doubtless as a country candidate. But he cut no figure in the House; the only time his name appears in the Journal is when, on 6 May 1679, he was given leave to go into the country for a week. Shaftesbury listed him as ‘honest’ but he was absent from the division on the first exclusion bill. About 1683 his financial difficulties obliged him to leave the country, and he was noted as absent in May 1688 from the lord lieutenant’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws. He was nevertheless appointed to the lieutenancy.
On 10 Feb. 1690 Parker was outlawed ‘for levying war against the King and Queen’; no details of his alleged treason have been discovered. In January 1691 he was arrested on returning from France and it was rumoured that he carried letters (presumably seditious) with him. On 13 June he petitioned, claiming that
he has been in custody ever since Christmas last, and that he came from beyond the seas where he had been this seven or eight years, being under necessity to make over his estate to pay his creditors. Coming into France from his travelling and finding there no return made to him, as formerly, he came over to England for his subsistence and surrendered himself to [Sir William Thomas], deputy lieutenant of Sussex, who brought him to London where he was committed to a messenger and removed afterwards to the King’s Bench, where now he remains. Being informed that he stands outlawed for high treason, though he returned six weeks or thereabouts within the year, and was incapable of surrendering himself to the lord chief justice, having been continually in prison since his arrival, he prays that the attorney general may make his fiat to the clerk of the Crown, to allow him to bring a writ of error for the reversing that outlawry.
On 23 July a warrant was issued for a pardon.
Parker died on 30 Nov. 1691, and was buried at Willingdon. The family soon recovered from its economic and political setback, for his son was twice elected knight of the shire as a Tory under Queen Anne
R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 3, p. 229; CSP Dom.1690-1, pp. 268, 411, 427, 458.