Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Parkes, Richard

PARKES, RICHARD (fl. 1604), divine, was a native of Lancashire, and was born in 1558. He was elected king's scholar of Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1574, and matriculated there on 20 Dec. 1577. He graduated B.A. in 1578–9, and M.A. in 1585. He took holy orders when B.A., and, according to Wood, ‘became a goodly divine’ and a noted preacher.

In 1604 he wrote against Dr. Andrew Willet [q. v.] His purpose was to support the Augustinian view of the article respecting Christ's descent into hell against the Calvinistic view of the puritans, who observed with apprehension the growing popularity of Arminius [see Bilson, Jacob; Hill, Adam; and Parker, Robert, (1564?–1614)]. At the suggestion of his friends, Parkes wrote anonymously his ‘Brief Answer to certain Objections against Christ's Descension into Hell, sent in writing by a Minister unto a Gentleman in the Country.’ This was answered by Willet in his ‘Limbomastix,’ also published anonymously, wherein his unknown opponent is styled a ‘Limbist,’ and is accused of sympathy with Bellarmine.

In 1607 Parkes published under his own name ‘An Apology of three Testimonies of Holy Scripture concerning the Article of our Creed, He descended into Hell.’ This tedious but learned work consists of two books, of which the first is the ‘Brief Answer’ revised and enlarged, while the second is ‘A Rejoinder to a Reply made against the former book, lately published in a printed pamphlet, entitled Limbo-mastix.’ In the same year Willet produced his ‘Loidoromastix,’ in which Parkes is very roughly handled.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 27, but the account of the controversy is confused; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714, and the works above mentioned.]

E. C. M.