John Bird (bishop)

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John Bird (died 1558) was an English Carmelite monk and bishop.

He was Warden of the Carmelite house in Coventry, and twice Provincial of his order.[1][2] He attracted the attention of Henry VIII by his preaching in favour of the royal supremacy over the Church.[3]


He was one of the divines sent in 1531 to confer and argue with Thomas Bilney, the reformer, in prison; and in 1535 he, with Richard Foxe, the royal almoner, and Thomas Bedyll, a clerk of the council, were sent by Henry VIII to his divorced queen, Catherine of Aragon, to endeavour to persuade her to forbear using the name of queen.[4]

He was suffragan to the Bishop of Llandaff (titled Bishop of Penrydd (then spelled Penreth), after Penrydd in Pembrokeshire[5] and was then translated to become Bishop of Bangor. He then was appointed as the inaugural Bishop of Chester. The new diocese had both administrative and financial problems: Bird tried to address the finances, and dispensed with archdeacons, but succeeded only in making bad deals with the Crown and with leaseholders.[6]

After the accession of the Catholic Queen Mary he had to surrender his bishopric since he was married. He retained his living at Dunmow and lived out his life as its vicar.[3]

He at once repudiated his wife, and soon afterwards Bonner, bishop of London, appointed him his suffragan, and on 6 November 1554 presented him to the vicarage of Great Dunmow in Essex. He died in an obscure condition about the close of 1558, and was buried in Chester Cathedral.[4]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ a b Cooper 1896.
  5. ^ Parish of Penrhudd in Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Wales and Monmouthshire: VII – County of Pembroke (Google Books)
  6. ^ Christopher Haigh, Reformation and Resistance in Tudor Lancashire (1975), pp. 7-10.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCooper, Thompson (1886). "Bird, John (d.1558)". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 5. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

Church of England titles
New title Bishop of Penrydd
In abeyance
Preceded by
John Capon
Bishop of Bangor
Succeeded by
Arthur Bulkeley
New diocese Bishop of Chester
Succeeded by
George Cotes