Nosy Parker

Matthew Parker

Nosy Parker : somebody who pries into other people's affairs, asking impertinent or intrusive questions.

Was the original Nosy (or Nosey) Parker a Lambeth resident? Well according to the most widely accepted derivation - the answer is yes.

The saying is said to refer to the reforming cleric Matthew Parker (1504-1575) who was Archbishop of Canterbury during Elizabeth I reign. Parker was obsessed with finding the roots of the Christian Church in England. He collected many manuscripts including the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles and was granted a warrant by the Privy Council to locate and preserve the many religious documents that had been scattered following the dissolution of the monasteries. Armed with the warrant he sent out many detailed enquiries to manor houses, churches and officials. His searching enquiries upset many people and his many instructions to his clergy on day to day matters earned him the reputation of being a bit of a busybody and the name Nosy Parker (some say partly because he had a big nose!).

Although Parker was a bastion of the Church of England he tried to find a common ground between the extremes of the Catholics and Protestants, he instigated the Bishop's Bible which was the authorised bible before the King James Bible of 1611. Parker clearly alienated many people and after his death his ordination was questioned. In 1648 (during the Commonwealth period) his body was dug up and his bones thrown on a dung heap but following the restoration his bones were found and reburied.