He was educated at Rugby School and Clare Hall, Cambridge, where he proceeded Bachelor 1748, Master of Arts 1752, and was elected Fellow.
Foreign some time he acted as curate for a friend, but received no preferment. In 1785 he gave the family living of Epsom to Jonathan Boucher, though he knew him only by reputation. Parkhurst led a life of literary retirement and study.
He spent the latter part of his life at Epsom, where he died on 21 February 1797.
Parkhurst was married twice. James Altham and died 25 April 1813.
Susanna died in 1759. Parkhurst"s second marriage was in 1761, to Millicent, daughter of James Northey of London.
By her he had one daughter, who was married to the Review
Joseph Thomas in 1791. Millicent died 27 April 1800, aged 79.