Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Parker, William (1714-1802)

PARKER, WILLIAM, D.D. (1714–1802), divine, son of Moses Parker, plebeius, of St. Michael's, Coventry, was born in that city in 1714, and was matriculated on 6 July 1731 from Balliol College, Oxford, whence he graduated B.A. in 1735, M.A. in 1738, B.D. in 1751, and D.D. in 1754 (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886, iii. 1069). On 19 Feb. 1746 he was admitted a fellow of the Royal Society (Thomson, Hist. of the Royal Society, App. p. xliv). On 14 March 1757 he was collated to the prebend of Pratum Minus in the church of Hereford; he obtained the rectory of Bockleton in that diocese; on 23 April 1760 he was appointed treasurer of Hereford Cathedral; on 28 Sept. 1776 he was installed prebendary of North Kelsey in the church of Lincoln (Le Neve, Fasti, i. 491, 526, ii. 199), and on 18 Nov. 1763 he was presented to the rich rectory of St. James, Westminster, in succession to Dr. Samuel Nicolls (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. vi. 365). He was also one of the chaplains in ordinary to George II and George III, and chaplain to Dr. Richard Osbaldeston [q. v.], bishop of London. He married Mary Griffen, who on the death of her brother, Lord Howard of Walden, in 1797, succeeded to a large fortune, and who died at Bath on 18 Nov. 1799, aged 70 (Gent. Mag. 1799, pt. ii. p. 1005). He survived her three years, dying at his house in Piccadilly on 22 July 1802 (ib. 1802, pt. ii. p. 694). He was buried in a vault under St. James's Chapel, Hampstead Road (ib. 1842, pt. ii. p. 488). As he and his wife were entitled to the family estates for their joint lives, it was not until his death in 1802 that Richard Aldworth Griffin Neville, second baron Braybrooke [q. v.], became actually possessed of Audley End, Essex, although he had resided there from 1797, under an arrangement suggested by Lord Howard of Walden, whom he succeeded at the end of that year as lord lieutenant of Essex. A portrait of Parker is preserved at Audley End (Braybrooke, Hist. of Audley End, pp. 53, 129).

Parker was eminent as a pulpit orator, and his works consist, for the most part, of single sermons, in which he defends revealed religion and the Mosaic history against the attacks of Bolingbroke, Morgan, and Conyers Middleton. Among his publications are: 1. ‘Two Discourses [on 2 Cor. xi. 3] on the Mosaick History of the Fall,’ preached in his Majesty's Chapel, Whitehall, Oxford, 1750, 8vo. 2. ‘A Letter to a Person of Scrupulous Conscience about the Time of keeping Christmas, according to the New-Stile. To which is added, A Dialogue between a Clergyman and his Parishioner, familiarly explaining the Reason and Expediency of the New-Stile,’ London, 1753, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1756. 3. ‘Two Discourses [on John xviii. 38] before the University of Oxford: in which are contained Remarks on some Passages in the Writings of the late Lord Viscount Bolingbroke,’ Oxford, 1754, 8vo. 4. ‘The Scripture Doctrine of Predestination stated and explained. In two Discourses preached before the University of Oxford,’ Oxford, 1759, 8vo. 5. ‘Several Discourses on Special Subjects, preached before the University of Oxford, and upon other Occasions,’ 2 vols. Oxford, 1790, 8vo.

[Bodleian Cat. ii. 27–8, iv. 704; Gent. Mag. 1793 pt. ii. p. 639, 1794 pt. ii. p. 452, 1799 pt. ii. p. 1005, 1802 pt. ii. p. 694, 1814 pt. i. p. 247; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), p. 1778; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. viii. 239, 244, ix. 658, 659, 690; Sharpe's Peerage, 1833, sig. 3 R 4; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

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