MATTHEW PARKER was the eldest son of William Parker, a citizen of Norwich, and was born in St Saviour’s parish, Norwich on 6th August 1504. Having studied at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, he was ordained as a priest in June 1527 and then elected fellow of Corpus. After Anne Boleyn’s recognition as Queen he was made her chaplain.
In 1544 on Henry VIII’s recommendation he was elected master of Corpus Christi College, and in 1545 Vice-Chancellor of the university. Parker was ordained Archbishop of Canterbury under Elizabeth I in 1559. Known for his non-confrontational manner, he was chosen by Elizabeth to oversee the Elizabethan Settlement that she had introduced as a compromise after the turbulent years of Queen Mary’s reign.
The theory that he was the original ‘Nosey Parker’ is unlikely. This term only seems to date back to Victorian times when nosey park-keepers (parkers) were accused of spying on amorous couples in London’s Hyde Park.
His great gift to Norwich School was a closed scholarship at Corpus Christi College Cambridge. Up until the mid-1980s Norwich School had the right to send two pupils to Corpus Christi College each year.
Andy Fisher, Housemaster