John Henry PARKER, C.B. (1806–1884)
His wife Mrs Frances Mary PARKER, née Hoskyns (1805–1854)
St Michael section: Row 4, Grave C47

John Henry Parker

Joseph Parker's grave in 1992

[Above: Text running along the side
facing the camera]

JOHN HENRY PARKER … …

Left: Photograph taken by Oxford City Conservation Officer John Ashdown of the above grave on 5 April 1992, showing how it was originally a table tomb, with the top ledger stone supported on columns

See also the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry for
John Henry Parker, writer on architecture and publisher

For more information about Mrs Parker, see Tim Bridges and Maureen Mellor, “An archive of Paving-tiles in the Parker-Hore Collection, Worcester, and in the Ashmolean Museum. Oxford”, Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 2000 (online here)

Parker's in 1874

John Henry Parker was born in London on 18 March 1806 and baptised at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church on 23 May. His parents were John Parker and Caroline Elizabeth Ryder, who were married at that church on 24 July 1802. His family has been traced back to Samuel Parker, Bishop of Oxford and President of Magdalen College, who died in 1687/8.

In 1821 when he was 18, John Henry was apprenticed to his uncle, Joseph Parker, who had been matriculated at the University of Oxford as a “bibliopola” on 27 January 1798 after going into partnership with the Turl Street bookseller James Fletcher. (Joseph Parker had two sons of his own, but they became a vicar and a surgeon.)

The Parker bookshop (right, prior to the 1889 rebuild) was the former Fletcher’s bookshop at the north-east end of Turl Street, and the premises around the corner at 27 Broad Street, both in the parish of St Michael-at-the-Northgate. In 1832 John Henry Parker was matriculated as a “bibliopola privilegiatus” and took over the shop on the retirement of his uncle, who moved to Black Hall in St Giles’s Street.

John Henry Parker also moved into his uncle’s house over the shop, facing on to Turl Street).

Frances Mary Hoskyns was born in Mayfair on 29 September 1804 and baptised at Appleton, Berkshire on 28 November. She was the daughter of James Williams Hoskyns and his wife Frances Jane Taylor, who were married at St George's Church, Hanover Square on 28 May 1803. Her rather was a Fellow of Magdalen College, and also Rector of Appleton, Berkshire from 1802 to 1844. Her mother died in 1812 when Fan (as she was known) was aged eight, and she was sent away to school at Richmond, Surrey. .

On 7 February 1832 at Appleton Church, John Henry Parker (26) married Frances Mary Hoskyns (28), despite the fact that her father strongly opposed the marriage (his letter to John's uncle Charles Parker is reproduced in full here). They had just one child:

  • James Parker (born in Oxford on 5 May 1833 and baptised at St Michael’s Church on 10 July).

At his son’s baptism, John Henry Parker was described as a bookseller of Turl Street; but he was also a publisher and a keen archaeologist.

In 1836 Mrs Frances Parker began her national corpus of watercolour paintings of medieval decorated paving tiles, and by 1840 she had published her first paintings from Helpstone in Northamptonshire (plates 206 (No.6) and 209 in the fifth edition of her husband's Glossary of Terms in Gothic Architecture.

The 1841 census shows John Henry Parker described as a bookseller and living on the corner of Broad and Turl Street with his wife Frances, their eight-year-old son James, and their servants.

Young James was educated at Rose Hill in Oxford and then at Winchester College.

In 1851 Parker (45) was described as employing twelve persons, and was at home over his shop with his wife and son.

His wife died three years later in 1854:

† Mrs Frances Mary Parker née Hoskyns died at the age of 50 and was buried in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 20 December 1854 (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

Their only son was married in 1859:

  • On 10 August 1859 in the Sherborne district of Dorset, James Parker married Sarah Caroline Bergman.

John Henry Parker made his son James a partner in his business the following year. He was probably abroad at the time of the 1861 census, and his son James (27), described as a bookseller and publisher, was on his own at 2 Turl Street, looked after by a cook, housemaid, and house-boy while his wife paid a visit to her parents in Sherborne.

In 1862 John Henry Parker retired and went to Rome for his health, and his son James took over the business. His father appears to have been abroad again at the time of the 1871 census.

At the time of the 1881 census John Henry Parker (75) was back in Oxford, at 21 Turl Street, and his married son James was staying with him, along with his grandson James Henry Parker, who at 18 was learning the business by working as as a publisher’s clerk. Their publisher’s warehouseman also lived with them, plus three other boarders and their cook.

Parker died in 1884:

† John Henry Parker died at 21 Turl Street on 31 January 1884 at the age of 77 and he was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on Monday 5 February 1884 (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

His funeral is described as follows in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 9 February 1884:

FUNERAL OF MR. JOHN H. PARKER, C.B.
The funeral of this gentleman, whose decease on the 31st ult., at his residence, Turl-street, we recorded last week, took place on Monday last, at St. Sepulchre’s Cemetery, in Walton-street, in the presence of a large number of private and collegiate friends of the deceased. The procession left the house shortly after two o’clock, preceded by two University Marshals, one of who tolled a handbell, and the employées at the Crown Yard Printing Works, and the coffin was borne in the open funeral car belonging to Mr Stroud. The mourners, &c. were in three broughams, and the cortège proceeded to the cemetery via St. Giles’s, Observatory-street, and Walton-street. The procession was met at the gates by the Rev. W. J. Wyon, and part of the choir of the Church of Cowley St. John, and in the chapel, after the Lesson, Hymn 221 (Ancient and Modern), “Let saints on earth in concert sing,” was sung. At the conclusion of the first part of the service, and while going to the vault (in which Mr. Parker’s wife was interred in 1854), Hymn 225 (Ancient and Modern), “Brief life is here our portion,” was sung, and at the close of the ceremony Hymn 140 (Ancient and Modern), “Jesus lives! no longer now,” was sung. Several beautiful wreaths were placed on the coffin previous to its being lowered into the grave. The mourners were Mr. James Parker (son of the deceased) and Mrs. Parker, and their four sons and two daughters; Mr. E. Parker, M.A. (cousin of the deceased); Dr. Acland, and Mr. E. L. Hussey. Among those present at the funeral were the venerable Rector of Exeter College, Archdeacon Palmer, Professor Westwood, the Public Orator (Rev. W. W. Merry), the Censor of Unattached Students (Rev. W. W. Jackson), the Revs. H. F. Tozer, W. B. Duggan, J. Dodd, F. Wigram, F. J. Brown, R. G. Livingstone, R. St. John Tyrwhitt, and J. Wordsworth; Mr. I. Bywater, Mr. E. Pickard Hall, &c. The coffin, which was of polished oak, with plain brass furniture, bore the following inscription:—

JOHN HENRY PARKER, C.B.
Born, / 18th March, 1806;
Deceased, / 31st January 1884; / Aged 77

The bells of several Parish Churches and of Exeter Chapel tolled half-minute time from about 1.45 to 2.15. The whole of the funeral arrangements were satisfactorily carried out by Mr. Webber Patterson, Broad-street.

His obituary in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 2 February 1884 reads:

DEATH OF MR. JOHN HENRY PARKER.— Mr. John H. Parker, C.B., F.S.A., and Hon. M.A. Exeter College, the archaeologist, died on Thursday at his residence, Turl-street, Oxford. The son of the late Mr. John Parker, a merchant of London, he was born in 1806, and was educated at the Manor House School, Chiswick. In 1821 he entered business as a bookseller, and about ten years later he succeeded his uncle, Mr. Joseph Parker, at Oxford. In 1836 Mr. Parker published his “Glossary of Architecture,” and in 1849 he issued his “Introduction to the Study of Gothic Architecture,” originally a series of elementary lectures delivered to the junior members of the Oxford Architectural Society. This was followed, after a short interval, by “Domestic Architecture of the Middle Ages.” He also edited the fifth edition of Rickman’s “Gothic Architecture,” and he was the author of “The Archaeology of Rome,” and of several papers on mediaeval architecture in the Archaeologia, Archaeological Journal, Gentleman’s Magazine, &c. In 1869 a Convocation of the University of Oxford granted a sum of 200l. to assist Mr. Parker in the excavations which have been made at Rome under his direction, and a statue was promulgated accepting a proposal for endowing the Keepership of the Ashmolean Museum, at Oxford, with the annual sum of 250l., in addition to the actual stipend, Mr. Parker himself being appointed the first Keeper under the new arrangement in 1870. He was nominated a Companion of the Order of the Bath (Civil Division) in 1871, on account of his services at Windsor and at Rome. The work he did at Windsor was to write the history of the fabric of the Castle, and it was whilst doing this that he was attacked with rheumatic fever. He was made an Officer of the Order of SS. Maurizio e Lazaro, by King Humbert, “having conferred a permanent benefit on Rome by demonstrating the truth of the early history, preserved in the family traditions, which have been considered as fabulous for the last half-century.” Pope Pius IX. presented him his silver medal, and called him a “benefactor of Rome.” The only silver medal given at the International Congress of Antiquaries held at Antwerp in August, 1866, was presented to Mr. Parker, by M. Arcisse De Caumont, for his historical collection of photographs. Mr. Parker was Vice-President of the Oxford Architectural Society; a member of the Society of Antiquaries of Normandy, and of La Société Française pour la Conservation des Monuments; and Vice-President of the British and American Archaeological Society of Rome. He married Miss Francesca Hoskyns, daughter of the Rev. J. W. Hoskyns, D.D. Mr. Parker’s works on Gothic architecture, the well-known glossary, and others, have for many years held a foremost place among authorities, while his spirited researches at Rome have done much to uncover the antiquities of the place, though, doubtless, sometimes biased by crotchets and unsound conjectures. But, in spite of these, classical antiquaries, as well as students of Gothic architecture, owe a deep debt of gratitude to his indefatigable and enthusiastic labours. The funeral will take place on Monday next, at 2.30, at St. Sepulchre’s Cemetery.

His wealth at death was £12,523 11s. 10d.

Parker’s bookshop survived at 26 and 27 Broad Street until about 1993.


James Parker, the only child of James Henry and Frances Mary Parker

James Parker (born 1833) and his wife Sarah Caroline Bergman (born in Chertsey, Surrey in on 29 August 1836), who were married in 1859, had nine children: Charles John (1860), Frances Mary (1861), James Henry (1862), Frank Sackville (1864), William Frontinus (1867), Edward Goderic (1868), Irene (1869), Aethelflaed (1871/2, died 1872), and Agape (1874). They were all born at Turl Street in Oxford (although not baptised in their parish church of St Michael), except for Edward, who was born in Twyford, Berkshire. For some unknown reason their youngest child, Agape, was baptised at St Mary-the-Virgin Church.

At the time of the 1871 census James and his wife were living at 3 Turl Street with their first six children, looked after by a parlourmaid, housemaid, nursery maid, and cook.

By the time of the 1881 census the family had moved to Fyfield Manor in Chertsey, Berkshire. James and his son James junior (18), who was learning the family business, spent the census night of 1881 with his father at 21 Turl Street, while his wife Sarah was at home with Charles (20), Frances (19), Frank (17), Irene (15), and Agape (6).

Mrs Sarah Caroline Parker died in Oxford at the age of 40 near the end of 1875.

At the time of the 1881 census James was living at 21 Turl Street with his daughters Frances (29), Irene (25), and Agape (16).

In 1901 James was still at 21 Turl Street with Agape (26) and three servants.

In 1911 he was alone with two servants in this 13-roomed house.

James Parker died at 21 Turl Street on 10 October 1912. His effects came to £6,060 1s. 7d., and his eldest son Charles John Parker, a bookseller, was his executor.

His daughter Irene (Mrs Hore) continued her grandmother's work on medieval tiles.


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