George Birkhead

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The Reverend Father
George Birkhead
Archpriest of England
Church Roman Catholic Church
Appointed 1 February 1608
Term ended 6 April 1614
Predecessor George Blackwell
Successor William Harrison
Ordination 6 April 1577
Personal details
Born circa 1549
County Durham, England
Died 6 April 1614 (aged c. 65)
Nationality English
Denomination Roman Catholic

George Birkhead or Birket, alias Hall, Lambton, and Salvin (c.1553–1614) was an English Roman Catholic priest who served as the archpriest of England from 1608 until his death in 1614.


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.