|Archpriest of England|
|Church||Roman Catholic Church|
|Appointed||1 February 1608|
|Term ended||6 April 1614|
|Ordination||6 April 1577|
County Durham, England
|Died||6 April 1614 (aged c. 65)|
He was a native of County Durham. He entered the English College, Douai in 1575, and was ordained priest on 6 April 1577. In January 1578 he set out from Reims, accompanied by Richard Haddock and four students, for the English College at Rome, which had just been founded by William Allen under the auspices of Pope Gregory XIII. Returning to Reims in 1580, he was sent in the same year on the English mission.
In 1583 he took relics of Edmund Campion to Reims. On 22 January 1608 Pope Paul V nominated him archpriest of England, when George Blackwell was deposed in consequence of his acceptance of the Oath of Allegiance to James I. The new archpriest was admonished to dissuade Catholics from taking the oath and frequenting Protestant worship. Birkhead retained the post until his death in 1614, and was succeeded as archpriest by William Harrison.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Birkhead, George". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- Brady, W. Maziere (1876). The Episcopal Succession in England, Scotland and Ireland, A.D. 1400 to 1875. Volume 3. Rome: Tipografia Della Pace. pp. 64–65.