9* S. XL FEB. 14, 1903.] NOTES AND QUERIES.
question whether Sir Christopher Parkins held the rectory of Easton when he was only a lad about sixteen or seventeen years old. There does not seem to have been any statute in force in 1559, like that which was passed in 1571 (13 Eliz., c. 12), providing that no person should be admitted to a benefice with cure before he had reached the age of twenty-three years, and that any ad- mission or dispensation to the contrary should be void.
There is an interesting point in connexion with Parkins's appointment to the deanery of Carlisle, which was made in 1596, and not in 1595, as stated in the 'D.N.B.' The letters patent under which he became dean are dated 14 August, 1596 (Rot. Pat, 38 Eliz., pt xiii.), and they contain the following dispensation :
"Ac etiam de uberiore gratia nostra, quia supra - dictura Christoferum Perkyns in familicium nostrum admissimus et ejus opera et industria in gravioribus et secretioribus nostris negotiis uti consueviraus, cum eodem Christofero Perkins ex certa scientia et mero motu nostris et ex plenitudine potestatis nostrse dispensamus ut, quamvis ipse in nullis sacris aut aliis ordinibus sit constitutes etuxorem duxerit adhuc superstitem et ab dicto decanatu et Ecclesia Cathedrali absens esse contigerit, ad residentiam tamen personalem in eodem decanato faciendam minime teneatur, et fructus quoscumque ac divi- denda, cpmniunias, distributions quotidianas, ac omnia alia quecumque commoda ad dictum decana- tum spectantia, plene et integre percipere possit et valeat in tarn amplis modo et forma ac si ipse in eadem ecclesia et decanatu continuatn faceret resi- dentiam, dictis defectibus ordinum et conjugii et dicta absentia sua in aliquo non obstantibus, aliquo statuto," &c.
Parkins showed his appreciation of this clause by enjoying the emoluments of his ecclesiastical office and neglecting its duties. While not engaged in diplomacy he was a lawyer, of Gray's Inn and Doctors' Commons, and he ultimately obtained the long-coveted post of a master of requests. But it must not be supposed that the above clause was specially framed to meet the peculiar circum- stances of Parkins's life. It was copied verbatim from the letters patent, dated 11 October, 1577 (Rot. Pat., 19 Eliz., pt. xii ), under which the deanery had been held by his predecessor, Sir John Wolley, the queen's Latin secretary. Wolley, when he was made dean, was both a layman and a married man (' D.N.B.,' Ixii. 316). Notwithstanding a sug- gestion to the contrary in the ' D.N.B.' (xlv. 4), it is unlikely that Parkins had any wife before 1617, when he married the widow of James Brett, of Hoby, Leicestershire. In the licence for that marriage he is described as a bachelor (Chester's 'London Marriage
Licences,' ii. 55, Harl. Soc.), and that descrip tion is presumably accurate.
Whatever ecclesiastical orders were con- ferred upon Parkins, or confirmed to him, while he was member of the Society of Jesus, he appears to have kept them dis- creetly in tne background after his return to England. Indeed, during the later years of his life he seems to have passed for a layman. James I. knighted him in 1603, and, like his predecessors in the deanery, Sir Thomas Smith ('D.N.B.,' liii. 124) and Sir John Wolley, he was allowed to sit in the House of Commons. He certainly represented Ripon in 1597 and 1601 (' Return of Members,' pt. i. pp. 436, 441). According to Hutchinson's 'Northumberland, 1 ii. 293, he sat for Morpeth in 1603 and again in 1614 ; but his name is not in a list of members for 1614 printed, from " the Duke of Manchester's papers," in an appendix to the ' Return,' p. xxxvii. It is worth noticing that in 1620 the men of Mor peth, possibly emboldened by the fact that they had lately been allowed to return a dean, elected their own rector, John Robson ; but the House refused to let him sit, on the ground of his being a clergyman (' Journals,' i. 513).
Some details concerning Parkins's will, proved 2 September, 1622 (P.C.C. 84 Savile), are given in Chester's ' Westminster Abbey Registers' (Harl. Soc.), p. 119. It may be added that he recorded with a small legacy the fact that he was a member of the Cloth- workers' Company, and left to the University of Oxford, wherein he " was sometime bred," a perpetual annuity of 25. to increase the stipend for the divinity lecture, charging it upon his house in Cannon Row, Westminster. He mentions his " sister's children," but not by name, and Col. Chester failed to ascertain his parentage. Possibly my suggestion that in 1555 he was "of Reading" may lead to further light being thrown upon that point
" MR. W. H." I was talking recently to a friend (not specially interested in the subject) regarding Shakspere's Sonnets, and in show- ing him the dedication, I remarked that Mr. Sidney Lee had identified "Mr. W. H." as William Hall. My friend at once remarked, " Why, you have his name there already : ' To the onlie begetter of these insuing sonnets Mr. W. Hall happinesse and that eternitie,' " &c. A point like this would probably appeal more to Baconians than to those of the opposite camp, but thinking there might be something in it, I wrote to Mr. Sidney Lee, suggesting, not that the dedication contained