Archbishops Of Canterbury
Matthew Parker (1504-1575)
Matthew Parker, born in Norwich in 1504, was Queen Elizabeth's first Archbishop of Canterbury. He was largely responsible for
implementing the Elizabethan religious settlement and monitoring abuses within the Church. He was a man dedicated to his work, and
earned the title of "Nosy Parker" for his interference in people's affairs. He and Elizabeth did not always see eye to eye on religious
matters, and both had to compromise their views in order to work together.
Early in her reign, Elizabeth expressed a dislike of the clergy marrying. In 1561 she issued a royal injunction forbidding any cleric to live with his wife and family in any cathedral close or college. This was not popular, and Parker, who was married himself, defended clerical marriage. The Queen relented over the cathedral closes, but not the colleges. Elizabeth was also concerned that the religious settlement was not being properly observed in some areas outside London, and she blamed Parker for not ensuring that the act of uniformity was properly enforced.
However, although Elizabeth's relationship with Archbishop Parker was not always easy, they worked well together, and put the Elizabethan Church on a firm foothold. They had differences of opinion, but this was perhaps inevitable, and the strength of the partnership can be seen in the success of the Church in the early years, and that Parker remained in his office until his death in 1575.