Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Parker, Henry (1476-1556)
PARKER, HENRY, eighth Baron Morley (1476–1556), courtier and author, was eldest son of Sir William Parker (d. 1510). The latter was privy councillor, standard-bearer to Richard III, and hereditary marshal of Ireland; he was knighted on 24 July 1482, when he was described as of London. His mother, Alice, was daughter of William Lovel, lord Morley (d. 1475), and sister and heiress of Henry Lovel, who was slain at Dixmude in 1489. She married, after Sir William Parker's death, Sir Edward Howard [q. v.], the admiral, and, dying in 1518, directed that she should be buried at Hingham, Norfolk. She brought to her first husband the manor of Hallingbury-Morley or Great Hallingbury, Essex, and other property in Norfolk, Buckinghamshire, and Herefordshire (Dugdale, i. 560). William Lovel, her father, was from 1469 to 1471 summoned to the House of Lords as Lord Morley in right of his wife Eleanora or Alienora, daughter and heiress of Robert Morley, sixth lord Morley (d. 1443) [cf. Morley, Robert de, Baron Morley]. The summons was not issued to Alice Lovel's brother or to either of her two husbands, although all were occasionally known by the courtesy title of Lord Morley.
Henry was, according to Wood, educated at Oxford, and acquired there a taste for literature. Through life his time was mainly occupied with translations and other literary work. After Henry VIII's accession he came to court, and he attracted the king's favourable attention by gifts of translations in his autograph. In 1516 he was a gentleman usher to the king, while his infant son Henry became a page of the royal chamber (Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, ii. pt. i. p. 893). He was summoned to the House of Lords as Lord Morley in the right of his maternal grandmother on 15 April 1523. Five months later he went on an embassy through the Low Countries and Germany to Archduke Ferdinand, and in letters to Wolsey and Henry VIII regretfully warned them of the progress that Lutheranism was making in Europe (ib. iii. pt. ii. pp. 1404, 1417). On 13 July 1530 he signed the letter from the peers to Clement VII praying for the pope's immediate assent to the king's divorce from Catherine of Arragon (ib. iv. pt. iii. p. 2929). He was on good terms with Anne Boleyn, whose brother George, lord Rochford, married his daughter Jane. To Anne, while Marchioness of Wiltshire, he presented a religious work in 1532. In 1534 he quarrelled with Lord Dacre of Gillingham on a point of precedence, and judgment was given by the council in his favour. Subsequently he sought the favour of Cromwell. In 1535 he sent the minister a greyhound (ib. viii. p. 375), and on 13 Feb. 1536–7 a copy of Machiavelli's ‘Florentine History’ and ‘Prince’—doubtless the edition of 1532. The book was accompanied by an interesting letter recommending Machiavelli's views to Cromwell's notice, and directing his attention to passages, which Morley had marked, dealing with the position of the papacy in Europe (Ellis, Orig. Letters, 3rd ser. iii. 63–8). In the same year (1537) Morley helped to carry Princess Elizabeth at the christening of Prince Edward, and in 1547 he attended the funeral of Henry VIII. In 1550 he took part, in the crown's behalf, in the prosecution of the Duke of Somerset. A staunch catholic, he maintained very friendly relations with Princess Mary, giving her each new year a book, which was often of his own composition. Among his gifts to her was a copy of Hampole's ‘Commentary upon Seven of the First Penitential Psalms’ [see Rolle, Richard], which, with his letter of presentation, is now in the British Museum (Royal MS. 18 B. xxi).
Morley died at his house at Great Hallingbury, Essex, on 25 Nov. 1556, and was buried in the church there on 3 Dec. (Machyn, Diary, pp. 120, 354; Miulman, Essex, iv. 137). An inscription on his monument describes him as ‘in cœtu nobilium gemma veluti preciosissima, bonarum literarum splendore omnique virtutum genere refulgens.’
Morley's career illustrates the favour extended to literary aspirations at the court of Henry VIII. His writings display both his robust faith as a catholic and his appreciation of classical and modern Italian literature. But his style is rugged: his verse shows no trace of an ear for metre, nor is accurate scholarship a conspicuous feature of his translations. As an author he appeals mainly to antiquaries and philologists.
He only published two volumes in his lifetime. The earlier—a pious lucubration in prose—printed by Thomas Berthelet in 1539, is entitled ‘The Exposition and Declaration of the Psalme Deus ultionum dominus made by Syr Henry Parker, knight, Lord Morley; dedicated to the Kynges Highness, 1534’ (Brit. Mus.) The second volume is a very long-winded and not very faithful translation in irregular and uncouth verse of Petrarch's ‘Trionfi;’ it is entitled ‘Tryumphes of Fraunces Petrarcke [of Loue, Chastite, Death, Fame, Tyme, Divinity], translated out of Italian into English by Henrye Parker, knyght, Lorde Morley.’ It is without date, but being printed by John Cawood, ‘prynter to the Quenes Hyghnes’ [i.e. Queen Mary], cannot have been issued before 1553. At the close is an original poem, ‘Vyrgyll in his Epigrames of Cupide and Dronkennesse.’ Four copies of the work are known—two in the British Museum, one in the Bodleian Library, and one at Britwell. A reprint was partly edited by the Earl of Iddesleigh for the Roxburghe Club in 1887.
After Morley's death there were printed his verse epitaphs ‘on Sir Thomas West, baron of Grisley, Lord La Warr, K.G.,’ who died on 9 Oct. 1554, in Legh's ‘Accidence of Armorie,’ 1568, fol. 51 b (cf. Walpole, Royal and Noble Authors, ed. Park, i. 321); two short reflective poems from Ashmole MS. 48—one addressed ‘to his posterytie … wrytten over a chamber dore where he was wont to ly at Hollenbyrry [i.e. Great Hallingbury]’—in Park's ‘British Bibliographer,’ vol. iv., and in ‘Songs and Ballads, chiefly of the reign of Philip and Mary’ (Roxburghe Club, Nos. vi. and vii.); extracts from his prose translations of Boccaccio's ‘De Præclaris Mulieribus, that is to say in Englishe of the ryght renoumyde ladyes,’ in F. G. Waldron's ‘Literary Museum,’ 1792, from a manuscript on vellum belonging to Bindley (cf. Thorpe, Cat. of MSS., 1836).
The greater part of Morley's literary work remains in manuscript; it chiefly consists of translations. From Plutarch he rendered, through Latin versions, ‘The Story of Paulus Emylyus,’ dedicated to Henry VIII (Bodl. Laud. MS. H. 17, on vellum); ‘Life of Agesilaus,’ dedicated to Cromwell, and including a parallel between Agesilaus and Henry VIII (Phillipps MS. i. 313); ‘Life of Theseus,’ from the Latin of Lapo di Castiglionchio, dedicated to Henry VIII (Brit. Mus. Royal MS. 17, D ii.); ‘Scipio and Hannibal,’ from the Latin of Donato Acciavioli (ib. 17, D xi.). Others of his translations are ‘Seneca's 92nd and 18th Epistles’ (ib. 17, A. xxx.); ‘St. Athanasius his Prologue to the Psalter,’ from the Latin of Angelo Poliziano (ib. 17, C. 12); ‘the Pistellis and Gospells for the 52 Sondayes in the yeare,’ for Anne Boleyn, marchioness of Wiltshire (Harl. MS. 6561); John de Turre Cremata's exposition of the 36th Psalm, with sonnets from the Italian of Maffeo Vegio, dedicated to the Princess Mary (Royal MS. 18, A. xv.); Cicero's ‘Dream of Scipio,’ from the ‘De Republica,’ dedicated to Princess Mary (ib. 18, A. lx.); Erasmus's ‘Praise to the Virgin Mary,’ dedicated to the Princess Mary (ib. 17, A. xlvi.); commentary on Ecclesiastes, dedicated to the Duke of Somerset (ib. 17, D. xiii.); Masuccio's ‘Novelle’ (ib. 18, A. lxii.), a story of Frederic Barbarossa, dedicated to Henry VIII and Queen Catherine [Parr]; St. Anselm's ‘Life of Mary and Our Saviour,’ and Thomas Aquinas's ‘Angelical Salutation’ (ib. 17, C. xvi. 1, 2); Paolo Giovio's ‘Commentaries of the Turks,’ dedicated to Henry VIII (Arundel MS. 8).
Morley married Alice, daughter of Sir John St. John of Bletsoe, Bedfordshire. She was related to the royal family through her grandmother Margaret Beauchamp, who by a second marriage was grandmother of Henry VII. Lady Morley died in December 1552, aged 66, and was buried in Great Hallingbury church, where her tomb is inscribed ‘regio sanguine prognata.’ By her Morley had two daughters, one (Jane) wife of George Boleyn, lord Rochford, son of Thomas Boleyn, earl of Wiltshire; and the other the wife of Sir John Shelton. His only son Henry, made a knight of the Bath at the coronation of Anne Boleyn in 1533, was groom of the privy chamber in attendance on Anne of Cleves at Calais in 1539 (Chronicle of Calais, p. 176). He died in December 1553, in his father's lifetime (Machyn, Diary, pp. 53, 337), after having been twice married. His first wife was Grace, daughter of John Newport of Brent-Pelham, Hertfordshire; his second wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Philip Calthorpe of Erwarton, Suffolk, by Amata, Anne Boleyn's aunt; a drawing of this Lady Parker, by Holbein, is reproduced in Chamberlane's ‘Heads’ (No. xl.) By each wife he left children. Charles, a younger son of the first marriage, born 28 Jan. 1537, entered the catholic church, retired to Pavia after Elizabeth's accession, became titular bishop of Man, and erected monuments in the cloister of Pavia church to Francis, duke of Lorraine, and Richard de la Pole, duke of Suffolk, who had been slain at the battle of Pavia in 1525 (Gough, Sepulchral Monuments; Dodd, Church History).
Henry Parker, ninth Baron Morley (d. 1577), eldest son of the first marriage of Sir Henry Parker, and grandson of the courtier and author, was educated at Gonville Hall, Cambridge, was made a knight of the Bath at Queen Mary's coronation on 6 Oct. 1553 (Machyn, p. 334), and on 25 Nov. 1556, on the death of his aged grandfather, succeeded to the barony of Morley. He served as the queen's lieutenant for Hertfordshire, where his mother's property was situated, but soon made himself conspicuous as a recusant. At the close of 1569 he, on the ground of his privilege as a peer, declined to subscribe a declaration in accordance with the Act of Uniformity of Common Prayer (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–80, p. 356). Soon afterwards he left England clandestinely, owing to his attachment to the Roman catholic religion. He never returned. At first he went to Brussels, and introduced himself to the Duke of Alva, but he lived chiefly at Bruges. He made many vain appeals to the queen, to Burghley, and to Leicester for permission to come home, or, as an alternative, for permission to have his wife and children with him abroad. He was regarded as a dangerous traitor by the English government, and his mysterious relations with Spain lent colour to the suspicions. In March 1574 he was at Madrid with his brother Edmund; both were received by Philip II, and accepted a gift of six hundred ducats. At the end of the same year Morley was in Lisbon. On 21 Jan. 1574–5, while at Paris, he asserted in a note to Burghley that his only fault was his leaving England without permission. In 1575 he was again in Spain, and early in 1576 was with his wife at Maestricht. He died on 22 Oct. 1577. By his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Stanley, earl of Derby, he had a son Edward, who succeeded him in the barony of Morley [see under Parker, William, Lord Monteagle and Morley], and two daughters—Alice, wife of Sir Thomas Barrington; and Mary, wife of Sir Edward Leventhorpe (Cooper, Athenæ Cantabr. i. 378, 566).
Sir Philip Parker (fl. 1580), Sir Henry Parker's son by his second wife, and a younger grandson of the courtier and author, inherited from his mother the manor of Erwarton, Suffolk, was sheriff of Suffolk in 1578, was knighted in 1580 (Nichols, Progresses, ii. 224), and played a large part in the local affairs of the eastern counties (cf. Cal. State Papers, 1547–80, pp. 601, 604, 617, 699). A portrait, engraved by Faber, is in Anderson's ‘House of Yvery’ (1742). He married Catherine, daughter of Sir John Goodwin of Winchendon, Buckinghamshire. His son Sir Calthorpe was father of Sir Philip, M.P. for Suffolk in the Short parliament, whose son Philip was created a baronet on 10 July 1661. With the death of the first baronet's grandson, Sir Philip Parker-a-Morley-Long, on 20 June 1740–1, the male heirs of the Lords Morley of the Parker family became extinct.[Davy's Suffolk Collections in Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 19144; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 560, ii. 307; Brydges's Peerage, ed. Collins, vii. 345 seq.; James Anderson's House of Yvery, 1742; Muilman's Essex, iv. 137; Wood's Athenæ, ed. Bliss, i. 114; Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors, ed. Park; Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 20768 (a list of Morley's works prepared by John Holmes); Morley's Tryumphs of Petrarcke (Roxburghe Club, 1887), preface by Lord Iddesleigh and J. E. T. Loveday; Letters and Papers of Henry VIII; Nichols's Lit. Remains of Edward VI (Roxburghe Club), pp. ccxl, cclviii; Warton's History of English Poetry; Privy Purse Expenses of Princess Mary, ed. Nicolas.]