Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Parkhurst, John (1564-1639)

PARKHURST, JOHN (1564–1639), master of Balliol College, Oxford, born in 1564, was second son of Henry Parkhurst of Guildford, Surrey, by Alice, daughter of James Hills, and belonged to the same family as John Parkhurst [q. v.], bishop of Norwich. A younger brother, Sir Robert, cloth worker, was lord mayor in 1634-5, and, dying in 1636, was buried at Guildford. His installation poem, 'The Triumph of Fame and Honour,' was written by John Taylor, the water poet. To him also John Sictor, Bohemus, dedicated his 'Lachrymae Reipublicse Londiniensis ' (1635). From the lord mayor's son, Sir Robert (matriculated at Balliol in 1619), M.P. for Guildford 1625-48, descend the Parkhursts of Pirford, Surrey, and of Catesby, Northamptonshire.

John Parkhurst matriculated as a commoner of Magdalen Hall, Oxford, on 25 Feb. 1580-1, was elected demy of Magdalen College in 1583, and subsequently fellow in 1588. He graduated B.A. in 1584, M. A. 1590, B.D. 1600, and D.D. 1610. At Magdalen he was engaged as reader in natural philosophy (1591-2) and in moral philosophy (1593 and 1596-7), and acted as bursar in 1602, having been proctor in the university in 1597-8.

Meanwhile he had been chaplain to Sir Henry Neville [q. v.] when ambassador at Paris, and being by him presented to the rectory of Shellingford, Berkshire, in 1602, vacated his fellowship in the following year. With this living he held the rectories of Newington, Oxfordshire (on the presentation of Archbishop Abbot, to whom he was chaplain), from 1619, and Little Wakering, Essex, from 1629. At Shellingford he rebuilt the church, incorporating in it three Norman windows and chancel arch belonging to the older building (letter from Rev. A. Herbert).

He retained his connection with Neville, and had a belle eschaffe from matrimony with a gentlewoman who lived between Billingbere and Shellingford (Kirkwood, Memorials, ii. 56). He may be identified with the ' Mr. Parkhurst ' who, being secretary to Sir Henry Wotton [q. v.] at Turin in June 1613, was sent by Charles Emanuel, duke of Savoy, to negotiate with the Swiss protestants at Geneva. His mission produced some 'alarm' as to the policy of James I, and Sir Dudley Carleton, at Venice, thought well to ascribe Parkhurst's presence in Geneva to his private affairs, but added that 'he went clothed by the Duke of Savoy with many magnificall titles, and hath the honour to be up to the ears in our gazetts' (op. cit. iii. 464, 469).

On 6 Feb. 1616-17 he was elected in the place of Robert Abbot, bishop of Salisbury (also a native of Guildford), to the mastership of Balliol College, and was granted leave to reside or not at pleasure. It is not improbable that his election was part of the attempt made by the Abbots to secure for Balliol the endowment left in 1610 by Thomas Tisdall (or Teesdale) of Glympton–a relative of Parkhurst's wife–for thirteen Abingdon fellowships and scholarships. Six scholars were actually settled in 'Caesar's lodgings,' which were built for them during Parkhurst's mastership; but in 1624 the endowment was used for the conversion of Broadgates Hall into Pembroke College. The Periam foundation at Balliol also belonged to his time (1620). Balliol was then one of the smallest colleges (Clark, Colleges of Oxford, p. 46), and though Savage (Balliofergus, p. 126) describes Parkhurst as 'a man of singular Learning, Gravity, and Piety, frequent in Preaching, and vigilant in the Government of the Colledge,' John Evelyn, who matriculated at Balliol in 1637, considers him responsible for the 'extraordinary remissness of discipline' then prevailing (Memoirs, i. 7).

Parkhurst resigned the mastership in 1637, and was buried at Shellingford on 29 Jan. 1638-9. He had married Sarah, daughter of Anthony Tisdall of Abingdon (she died in 1661), and had by her, besides Thomas (1614-1639), Dorothy (1615-1634), and Mary (d. 1627), a son Henry (b. 1612), who was fellow of Magdalen College 1631-48, and canon of Southwell from 1662 till his death in 1669. Savage (l.c.) says that a picture of John Parkhurst 'sitting at divine service or theological disputations' was drawn by Thomas Hickes of Balliol; but this is not in the possession of the college.

A contemporary Ferdinando Parkhurst (fl. 1660), who was probably related to the master of Balliol, was the author of a translation of Ruggles's 'Ignoramus,' which was performed before the king and queen at Whitehall on 1 Nov. 1662. This translation, which is distinct from that of R[obert] C[odrington], and does not appear to have been noticed, is preserved among the Marquis of Westminster's MSS. at Eaton Hall (Hist. MSS. Comm. 3rd Rep. App. p. 215). Ferdinando also translated from the Latin of Andreas Teutzel 'Medicina Diastatica, or Sympatheticall Mumie' (1653), 12mo, to which was prefixed a prose address to the translator by William Lilly [q. v.]; and he compiled 'Masorah, seu Critica Divina, or a Synoptical Directorie on the Sacred Scriptures' (London, 1660, 8vo).

[Savage's Balliofergus; Bloxam's Magdalen Register, iv.223, v. 115; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Manning and Bray's Surrey, i. 157; Baker's Northamptonshire, i. 288 (good pedigree); information from Shellingford registers, kindly communicated by the Rev. A. Herbert, rector; register of Balliol College, noted by Mr. G. W. Wheeler.]

H. E. D. B.