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Matthew Parker

Parker, Matthew, 1504–75, English prelate, archbishop of Canterbury. At Cambridge he was influenced by the writings of Martin Luther and other reformers. In 1535 he was appointed chaplain to Anne Boleyn and in 1537 to Henry VIII. In 1544, Parker became master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, to which he later left his fine collection of ancient manuscripts, and in 1545 he was made vice chancellor of Cambridge. Under Edward VI he was presented with the deanery of Lincoln, but after the accession of Mary I, who deprived him of his preferments, he lived in obscurity until he was called (1559) by Elizabeth I to the see of Canterbury. He courageously undertook the primate's responsibilities in a time of change and peculiar difficulty, sustaining a distinctly Anglican position between extreme Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. In 1562 he revised the Thirty-nine Articles. He supervised (1563–68) the preparation of the Bishops' Bible, published anonymously De antiquitate Britannicae ecclesiae (1572), and is also noted for his editions of the works of Matthew of Paris and other chroniclers.

See biographies by J. Strype (new ed., 3 vol., 1821, repr. 1973), E. C. Pearce (1925), E. W. Perry (1940), and V. J. K. Brook (1962).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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