Rev. George BIRD (1858 - 1941)

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Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Rev. George BIRD (1858 - 1941)' page

Writer & Vicar of Holme with Langford

By Jenny Campbell

George Bird was born on 10 April 1858(1) in Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire(2), the son of Daniel Bird, a plasterer, and Eliza Bagnall(3) (4). He was one of at least eight siblings, with five brothers and two sisters recorded in the census records for 1851 and 1861.(3) (5) By the time of the 1871 census he was a scholar at a ‘Young Gentlemen’s Boarding School’ in Loughborough, Leicestershire along with his brother, Francis.(6)

 Later in the 1870s, George Bird studied at Ashby Grammar School in Ashby de la Zouch, a school founded in 1567 and on 1 October 1879 he enrolled at Peterhouse College, Cambridge University; being awarded a BA in 1881 followed by an MA in 1887.  He was ordained as a deacon in 1881 and a priest (in Lichfield, Staffordshire) in 1882. His career in the church continued until 1931 serving at the following churches:


            Curate at Fenton, Staffordshire 1881-1884

            Curate at St Peter’s CollegeChurch, Wolverhampton, 1884-1889

            Other curacies from 1890-1893

            Vicar of Bradwell, Derbyshire 1893-1913

            Vicar of Bole with Saundby, Lincolnshire 1913-1926

            Vicar of Holme with Langford, Nottinghamshire 1926-1931 (1)


He remained single until in 1903, at the age of 45, he married Frances Mary Fisher in Sudbury, Suffolk. (7) They were together for twenty four years before her death on 12 June 1927 while they were living at The Vicarage, Langford, Nottinghamshire.(8)

 George Bird was also a poet and published two volumes of poetry. The first, Ronald’s Farewell and other verses, was published in 1901 by Longmans Green & Co. of 32 Paternoster Row, London.(9) The copy of the book, currently held in Newark Library, is a reprint produced in 1930 by J. Stennett, Market Place, Newark at the request of the author. It is inscribed

 W.Kay. With the Author’s Kind Wishes, Sept 26th 1930.

 The second volume of poetry, A Sheaf of Verses, was printed for private circulation in 1929 and inscribed ‘to the Memory of my dear wife’ and presented to Newark Public Library by the Author January 15th 1930. Before the main body of poetry is the following dedication to his wife, Frances:

 Note. It had been my intention to publish this volume of verse some years ago in my Wife’s lifetime; and it was dedicated to her in this particular poem. Now that her death has intervened, and I can only inscribe this book to her dear memory, I print these dedicatory verses just as they were originally written, when they won her sweet approval.


 Brave is the reaper’s heart when day is born;

But sweet his song when all the ropes are fast,

And homeward through the lanes he brings his corn

                                                            Daylight past.


So late and early, like some harvest swain;

Mindful of all that Love would homeward bring;

Have I gone forth amid the golden grain



Here is my sheaf, dear heart, my poet’s care;

Forgive me!  There are poppies ’mid the wheat;

And bitterness is mingled here and there

                                                            With the sweet.


Wet with dew these songs of mine have been;

Blown by the tempest, wash’d by all the showers,

And ripen’d with the suns of long, serene

                                                            Autumn hours.


Onward with even pace, and spirit strong,

Through Life’s dear peaceful sunlit fields we go;

Happy, at length, to hear our Evensong

                                                            Ringing low.


We needs must walk where other feet have trod,

Seeking the highest, waiting for the best;

Loyal to Love’s least word or look.  With God

                                                      Be the rest.



Reverend George Bird died, at the age of 83, in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire on 11 February 1941.(10)



1.  Birth, CambridgeUniversity Alumni, 1261-1900. – accessed 13 Feb 2015

2.  Birth, statutory record index, England, Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire 1858 Jun Q. vol.7a; p.89

3.  Census 1861, England, Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire Class: RG 9;    Piece: 2269; Folio: 78; Page: 27; GSU roll: 542946

4. Marriage, statutory record index, England, Ashby de  la Zouch, Leicestershire 1842 Dec Q. vol. 15; p.6

5. Census 1851 England, Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire Class: HO107; Piece: 2084; Folio: 502; Page: 17; GSU roll: 87710-87711

6. Census 1871, England, Loughborough, Leicestershire Class: RG10; Piece: 3254; Folio: 13; Page: 9; GSU roll: 839277

7. Marriage, statutory record index, England, Sudbury, Suffolk 1903 Sep Q. vol.4a; p.1559

8. Probate, England, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire 1927/08/09. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills & Administrations) 1858-1966. – accessed 13 Feb 2015.

9. Ronald’s Farewell and other verses 1901. – accessed 13 Feb 2015.

10.Probate, England, Gloucester, Gloucestershire 1941/04/21. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills & Administrations) 1858-1966. – accessed 13 Feb 2015

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