Today is the birthday, in 1504 of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury. Born in Norwich, he was the son of a weaver, and was ordained in 1527. He was one of the Cambridge scholars whom Cardinal Wolsey wished to transplant to his newly-founded 'Cardinal College' at Oxford. Parker, like his colleague Thomas Cranmer, declined Wolsey's invitation. He had come under the influence of the Cambridge reformers, and after Anne Boleyn's recognition as queen he was made her chaplain.
He was so close to Anne Boleyn, in fact, that after Anne began to suspect that she was being taken down, she asked him to look after Elizabeth for her, which he promised to do. He survived the reign of Mary I without leaving England, and after Elizabeth became Queen he was elected to be the Archbishop of Canterbury. Parker was one of the primary architects of the Thirty-nine Articles, the defining statements of Anglican doctrine. He was not an inspiring leader and no dogma or prayer-book is associated with his name. But, the English composer Thomas Tallis contributed Nine Tunes for Archbishop Parker's Psalter which bears his name - this was a way to share the psalter in English with the masses through Music.
That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com, where I have an article on the Parker Psalter and the music associated with it.
Matthew Parker - The Parker Psalter and Elizabethan PR gigs