Parsell, Thomas (DNB00)


PARSELL, THOMAS (1674–1720), head-master of Merchant Taylors' School, son of Thomas Parsell, was born on 23 Aug. 1674. He was admitted into Merchant Taylors' School on 11 Sept. 1684. In June 1693 he was elected to a scholarship at St. John's College, Oxford, whence he graduated B.A. 1697, M.A. 1701, B.D. and D.D. 1706. In 1701 he was appointed first under-master of his old school, and in 1707 head-master, being then described as ‘an eminent grammarian.’ He died in July 1720, and was buried at St. Mary Abchurch in the city of London.

Parsell's chief literary work was a translation of the Book of Common Prayer into Latin. The first edition, in 1706, 12mo, bears the title of ‘Litvrgia, seu Liber Precum Communium in Ecclesia Anglicana receptus.’ The Psalms, Epistles, and Gospels are described as being taken from Castellio's version, the rendering of the rest being Parsell's own. The work is dedicated to John [Williams], bishop of Chester, and the author is described in it as fellow of St. John's College, Oxford. A second edition appeared in 1713, a third in 1720, and by 1759 it had reached its seventh edition.

Parsell also edited, for school use, the ‘Panegyricus’ of the younger Pliny, 1716, 8vo, chiefly from the Delphin edition; and, according to Greenwood (English Grammar, 1722, p. 228), he wrote ‘An Explanation of the Syntax in our Common Grammar,’ printed for Bonwick in St. Paul's Churchyard, which is possibly identical with the anonymous ‘Enchiridion Syntaxis Lilianæ constrictius,’ London, 1705, 12mo.

[Wilson's History of the Merchant Taylors' School; Robinson's Registers of Merchant Taylors' School, i. 313; Marshall's Latin Prayer-Book of Charles II, p. 37; Notes and Queries, 5th ser. viii. 148.]

J. H. L.