Bird, Richard (DNB00)
BIRD, RICHARD, D.D. (d. 1609), canon of Canterbury, matriculated at Cambridge as a sizar of Trinity College in February 1564–5, was elected a scholar of that house in 1568, and took the degree of B.D. in 1568–9. He was subsequently elected a fellow, and in 1572 he commenced M.A. 'It appears probable that in 1576 he was serving a cure at, or in the neighbourhood of, Saffron Walden in Essex, where a new sect of dissenters, calling themselves ‘pure brethren,’ had arisen. ‘A sort of libertines they were,’ who considered that they were not bound to the observance of the moral law of the ten commandments, which they held to binding only upon Jews: and we are told that ‘one Bird' wrote to Dr. Whitgift soliciting his advice as to the best mode of answering certain questions which the sectaries had propounded (Strype, Annals of the Reformation, ii. 451). Bird proceeded B.D. at Cambridge in 1580. Subsequently he travelled as tutor with William Cecil, eldest son of Sir Thomas Cecil, eldest son of Lord Burghley. In France Cecil embraced the Roman catholic faith, and this led to Bird being subjected to harsh treatment. by Sir Edward Stafford, the English ambassador at Paris. Bird protested that he had been ‘robbed of the sowle of that young gentleman by wicked and treacherous men' (MS. Lansd. 40, f. 18).
On 21 March 1588-9 he was collated to the archdeaconry of Cleveland, and on 29 Sept. 1590 he became a canon of Canterbury. He resigned his archdeaconry in or before April 1601, was created D.D. in 1608, and, dying in June 1609, was buried in Canterbury Cathedral on the 19th of that month.
He is the author of: 1. ‘Latin verses on Whitaker’s translation of Jewel against Harding,' 1578. 2. ‘Appeal to Lord Burghley against the cruel treatment of Sir Edward Stafford, ambassador in France’ (MS. Lansd. 46, art. 9). 3. ‘A communication dialogue wise to be learned of the ignorant,’ London, 1595, 8vo. This seems to have been commonly known as ‘Bird’s Catechism.’
[Tanner's Bibl. Brit. 102; Strype's Annals of the Reformation, i. 207, ii. 433, 451, iii. 189; Strype's Life of Whitgift, 75; Cooper's Athenæ Cantab. ii. 521; MS. Baker, xxxiii. 282; Ames’s Typogr. Antiq, ed. Herbert, 1305; Le Neve’s Fasti Ecol. Anglic. i. 58, iii. 148; Hasted’s Kent, xii. 98.]