Birth of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury

Aug6,2015 #Matthew Parker

Matthew ParkerOn this day in history, 6th August 1504, Matthew Parker, chaplain to Anne Boleyn and Archbishop of Canterbury to Elizabeth I, was born in the parish of St Saviour, Norwich. Parker was the son of worsted weaver William Parker and his wife Alice Monings [Monins] from Kent.

I have a real soft spot for Parker. He didn’t want to be Elizabeth I’s Archbishop of Canterbury at all, but he took the position because of a promise he’d made to Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, just days before her execution in 1536.

You can read all about this and about Parker himself in my article from 2014 – click here.

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7 thoughts on “Birth of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury”
  1. Archbishop Parker was an extremely important fellow – being one of the primary architects of reformed Anglican identity. He played a major role in the 39 Articles which still is the foundation of our faith. Those Victorians interested in countering the Oxford Movement even chose to organize their efforts under the banner of the Parker Society.

  2. Hi Dr. John,

    Seems to me that Archbishop Parker was important and perceptive, especially about “mutinous individualism incompatible with a catholic spirit.” My father was a Brethren Elder, who followed George Muller rather than John Nelson Darby, and stayed with the Open rather than Exclusive sect; people who wanted to do away with any kind of ‘priesthood or clergy’. That meant that any man, definitely not a woman, could stand up and give forth and oh how tedious were the many, many long meetings I attended as a child. I see Atheism as a natural evolution from the Reformation, do you? Especially the establishment of Science as the ‘new source of Authority’, displacing the Bible, and the Church.

    1. I do agree with you that the Reformation was another facet of Europe’s forward march out of the Middle Ages. Certainly, the Reformation reflected intellectual evolution in that it sought to get beyond the superstition and psychological and societal imprisonment that was the Roman Catholic Church, and the reformers were pretty deep-thinking guys. I don’t see as direct and tangible connection between the Reformation and today’s secularism like the one between the Humanism and evolving empiricism that was also occurring at this time. I don’t think the reformers doubted the existence of God. They were driven towards a return to what they saw as a solely biblically-based and truer Christianity. Protestantism is a direct outcome of the Reformation and America is one of the most Protestant nations on earth, by percentage and certainly by mere numbers. America is also one of the most religious.

      I see today’s growing doubt in God, especially in Europe as being more of a direct product of the Enlightenment than the Reformation – which occurred a wee bit later. One can certainly posit that growing atheism is the product of the scientific revolution – in general. There are nonetheless, many brilliant people who are theists. But most scientists at least doubt the existence of God.

  3. Hi Dr John,

    That’s interesting. A lot to digest here. Thanks for that. I have a flashback image of my Elder Father (shooting out the bottom lip) crying, “Cranmer! Cranmer! He let the Devil back in with his High Days and Holy Days!” The footprint of these brilliant men, Archbishops Parker and Cranmer, still echo down the centuries today; still relevant. Thanks also to Claire for this posting, though I guess the truer subject is the loyalty that Queen Anne invoked in Parker.

  4. I have recently discovered that Matthew Parker is my 14th great grandfather. I am very interested in anything that you could post on him. I would especially like to know if he counseled Henry VIII not to execute Anne Boleyn and if he was present at the execution. Also, is there any documentation of how he died? Thank you in advance for any information you might have on him!

  5. I am doing the geneology of the parker family and have got to John Parker born 1785 and died 1844. I am trying to find the link from John Parker son of Archbishop Matthew Parker to the John Parker of 1875. Most of this branch were born in Norwich. The coincidence is so strong.

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