Parker, Robert (fl.1718) (DNB00)


PARKER, ROBERT (fl. 1718), soldier, born near Kilkenny between 1665 and 1668, was son of a farmer, and was educated at Kilkenny. He joined a company of the protestant schoolboys formed by James Butler (1665–1745) [q. v.], afterwards second Duke of Ormonde, and with them learned military exercises. In October 1683 he enlisted in Captain Frederick Hamilton's independent company, which was afterwards drafted into Lord Mountjoy's regiment and ordered to Charlemont in North Ireland in April 1684. He was disbanded by Tyrconnel on account of his religion in 1687, and returned home. In April 1689 he again enlisted under Hamilton, who was major of the Earl of Meath's regiment of foot, and went through the campaign in Ireland. In 1694 he was serving in Flanders. At the action on 20 Aug. 1695, at the breach of the Terra Nova, near Salsine Abbey, he was badly wounded and invalided for thirty weeks. For his gallantry on this occasion he was given a commission, being placed over seven ensigns at once. His regiment was now styled the ‘royal regiment of foot of Ireland.’ He next served under the Earl of Athlone, and then under Marlborough (1702). At the storming of Menin in 1706, being then captain-lieutenant and adjutant, he was wounded in the head. He was now made captain of grenadiers. Upon his colonel, Lieutenant-general Ingoldsby, being appointed commander-in-chief in Ireland in 1707, he asked Marlborough to send Parker to him, in order to introduce among the raw Irish recruits the discipline enforced in Flanders. Accordingly, Parker left the army at Helchin and proceeded to Dublin, where he remained for two years. On the termination of his engagement the government presented him with a gratuity of 200l., and he returned to Flanders.

At the close of the war Parker was chosen by his brother officers to go over to London to lay the claims of their regiment before the board of general officers. He found it impossible to gain justice, despite the friendly assurances of the Duke of Ormonde, who remembered him, but for whose conduct as a soldier Parker had a great contempt. He rejoined his regiment, which was ordered to keep possession of the castle of Ghent until the question of frontier had been settled between the emperor and the States-General. In April 1716 his regiment was quartered at Oxford. The frequent conflicts between the Jacobite students and the soldiers are amusingly described by Parker in his ‘Memoirs.’ In April 1718 he resigned his commission to a nephew of his steady benefactor, now Lieutenant-general Frederick Hamilton, and settled near Cork. He was married, and had children.

Parker kept a journal, which was published by his son the year after the Duke of Ormonde's death, and was largely subscribed for. It is entitled ‘Memoirs of the most remarkable Military Transactions from … 1683 to 1718 … in Ireland and Flanders,’ &c., 8vo, Dublin, 1746; another edit., London, 1747. Marlborough is the hero of the book, while Ormonde is vigorously denounced.

[Parker's Memoirs.]

G. G.