Dictionary of Welsh Biography

A new website has been created for The Dictionary of Welsh Biography. It will be launched at the beginning of November 2018 and will include new content, functions and design. Head over to biography.wales now to see what's new!

This website will eventually be replaced by biography.wales. In the meantime, we would like to hear from our users so you're welcome to send us any questions or feedback that you may have.

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

PARKER , JOHN ( 1798 - 1860 ), cleric and artist ;

b. 3 Oct. 1798 , second son of Thomas Netherton Parker , of Sweeney Hall , Oswestry , by his wife, Sarah Browne (heiress to her uncle, Edward Browne , Sweeney Hall ). Educated at Eton and Oriel College , Oxford ( B.A. 1820 , M.A. 1825 ), he became curate of Moreton Chapel , near Oswestry , for a short while before he became rector of Llanmerewig, Mont. , and, from 1844 , vicar of Llanyblodwel , Salop .

John Parker had considerable alterations and restoration work carried out to his own designs and largely at his own expense to the churches at Llanmerewig and Llanyblodwel . To the former he added a tower and a porch, and to Llanyblodwel a tower; he also built a school and a schoolmaster's house in Llanyblodwel . He d. 31 Aug. 1860 , and was buried in Llanyblodwel churchyard. He had succeeded to the Sweeney Hall estate in 1854 on the death of his father (who was a designer of houses and a writer of books ), but as he himself died unmarried, the estate passed to his sister, Mary Parker , lady Leighton (see below).

Parker will be remembered as a remarkably prolific amateur artist , chiefly in water-colour. His principal interests appear to have been scenic effects and Gothic architecture. He visited the Snowdon district ten years in succession; he made drawings of all the rood screens in Welsh churches and of all the chief types of fonts . Over a thousand drawings by him are kept in the National Library of Wales . Besides the Welsh , English , and Irish views and sketches, there are drawings of details from churches in Europe ; he was also a competent flower painter . He had published, in 1831 , The Passengers: containing the Celtic Annals .

His sister, MARY PARKER ( 1799 - 1864 ), who became lady Leighton in 1832 on her marriage to Sir Baldwin Leighton , 7th baronet , of Loton , Salop , was also a very competent amateur artist . Several examples of her work are preserved in the National Library . The story of how she succeeded in making the well-known sketch of the two ‘ Ladies of Llangollen ,’ seated at a table in Plasnewydd , Llangollen , is told in N.L.W. Journal , v, 207-8; this sketch was afterwards lithographed (it is to be distinguished from the spurious pirated lithograph by J. H. Lynch , which shows the ‘Ladies’ out-of-doors in riding-habit.)


  • The National Library of Wales Journal , ii, 87-8, iv, 90-1, v, 69, 207-8;
  • N.L.W. exhibition catalogues of water-colour and other drawings by John Parker ;
  • Archaeologia Cambrensis , III, ii, vi, vii, xi, IV, ix.


Sir William Llewelyn Davies, M.A., LL.D., F.S.A. (1887-1952), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959