Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Parr, Richard (1617-1691)

PARR, RICHARD, D.D. (1617–1691), divine, was born in 1617 at Fermoy, co. Cork, of which parish his father, Richard Parr, was perpetual curate. At his birth his mother was fifty-five years of age. Having learned Latin at a priest's school, he entered Exeter College, Oxford, as a servitor in 1635. He commenced B.A. on 13 June 1639, and, being a good preacher, was chosen chaplain-fellow (1641), at the instance of John Prideaux [q. v.], then rector. He proceeded M.A. on 23 April 1642. In 1643 Archbishop Ussher found a refuge in Exeter College; he made Parr his chaplain, and took him to Cardiff, Glamorganshire, at the beginning of the following year. In 1646 he obtained the vicarage of Reigate, Surrey; it is not certain whether he took the ‘league and covenant.’ He resigned his fellowship in 1649. He retained his connection with Ussher, who died (1656) in the Countess of Peterborough's house at Reigate. In 1653 he obtained the vicarage of Camberwell, Surrey. At the Restoration he was created D.D. (30 Oct. 1660). He declined the deanery of Armagh and an Irish bishopric, but accepted a canonry at Armagh. He appears to have held with Camberwell the rectory of Bermondsey, Surrey, from about 1676 to 1682. At Camberwell he was very popular; he ‘broke two conventicles’ by ‘outvying the presbyterians and independents in his extemporarian preaching.’ He was ‘a lover of peace and hospitality.’ He died at Camberwell on 2 Nov. 1691, and was buried in his churchyard, where a monument was erected to his memory. He married a rich widow, sister of Roger James, the patron of Reigate; she died before him.

He published, besides three single sermons (1658–72), including a funeral sermon (1672) for Robert Bretton, D.D.: 1. ‘Christian Reformation,’ &c., 1660, 8vo (addressed to his ‘dear kindred and countrymen of the county of Cork,’ and the parishioners of Reigate and Camberwell). 2. ‘The Life of … James Usher … with a Collection of … Letters,’ &c., 1686, fol. (Thomas Marshall, D.D. [q. v.], had a considerable hand in this life, but died before its publication. Evelyn says the impression was seized on account of a letter of Bramhall's reflecting on ‘popish practices.’)

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iv. 172, 341 (the account is by Tanner), and Fasti (Bliss), i. 507, ii. 8, 242; Ware's Works (Harris), 1764, ii. 206 seq.; Memoirs of Evelyn, 1818, i. 423, 503, 587, ii. 131; Chalmers's Biogr. Dict. 1815, xxiv. 142 seq.]

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