Ward's Book of Days.

Pages of interesting anniversaries.

What happened on this day in history.


On this day in history in 1504, was born Matthew Parker. 

Parker was Archbishop of Canterbury during the reign of Elizabeth I and presided over the transition of the Anglican Church from Catholicism to Protestantism.

Parker attended Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and was ordained a priest in 1527. He obtained favour with Henry VIII, becoming chaplain to Anne Boleyn, and the Master of his College. When Parliament allowed the king to dissolve the monasteries, Parker petitioned Henry VIII to save the Cambridge colleges and they were allowed to continue. Parker had Lutheran sympathies and, during the reign of the Catholic Mary I, was obliged to retire in obscurity.

When Elizabeth I came to the throne, Parker’s stalwart Protestantism was rewarded. He was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury and was charged with ensuring that there was no backsliding into Catholicism. Parker organised the translation of the bible into English, The Bishops’ Bible. Parker personally translated, Genesis, Matthew and some epistles.

But Parker’s main task was to supervise the clergy. He enquired into every aspect of clerical affairs and interfered with the administration of the diocese with detailed notes giving instructions on how church affairs were to be conducted. He became so tiresome to the clergy that he earned the nickname ‘Nosy Parker’, a term which has gone down in history as a term for a busybody.

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