Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Parke, Robert (1600-1668)

PARKE, ROBERT (1600–1668), vicar and lecturer in Bolton, Lancashire, was born in 1600 in Bolton and educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He was appointed vicar of Bolton on 16 Dec. 1625. Owing to the troubles of the period he resigned the vicarage and fled in 1630 to Holland, where he acted as assistant to Mr. Symmonds in the English congregation at Rotterdam. In 1644, on the death of William Gregg, who had become vicar of Bolton on Parke's resignation, Richard Heywood of Little Lever, father of the two eminent nonconformist divines, Oliver and Nathaniel Heywood [q. v.], was sent to Holland to solicit Parke's return. He complied, but found on his arrival in Bolton that Richard Goodwin had been appointed vicar. Parke, however, became lecturer, and continued in this position till 1662, when he was ejected for his refusal to conform. He and Goodwin, the vicar, who also was ejected, held meetings in Bolton until 1665, when the passing of the Five Mile Act necessitated their removal. Parke retired to Broughton, but on the declaration of indulgence he returned to Bolton, where he conducted religious services till his death. He was buried inside the parish church at Bolton on 25 Dec. 1668. Oliver Heywood preached his funeral sermon at Bradshaw. He was a man of piety and learning and of considerable humour, and was greatly beloved by his people. He had a large library, which at his death was sold for the support of his wife and children.

[Palmer's Nonconformist's Memorial, ii. 355; Bolton Historical Gleanings, 1883; Heywood's Diary; Scholes's History of Bolton.]

T. B. J.