Sunday, June 08, 2014

Question from ? - Marriage of bishops from 1547 to 1553

Can anyone help in finding marriage records between 1547 and 1553 of Bishops.

John Bird, Bishop of Chester who had responsible position within Henry V111 court, was married after
Henry V111's death in 1547. As many other Bishops married during the same period, once Mary 1 was on
the throne, some were sent to their death and others were given different punishments.

John Bird, Bishop of Chester had to surrender his Bishopric and repudiate his wife. He was sent as
vicar to Great Dunmow in Essex and died in 1558 and stated as in an 'obscure condition'.

With his connections to Henry V111 ,therefore his position being of some importance I would have
thought a record of Bishop John Bird's marriage between 1547 and 1553, would have been recorded
somewhere. To date I can find no mention of who his wife might have been, other than being young.

Can anyone help? Many thanks in advance.


PhD Historian said...

I am just guessing here, but I suspect that the marriage of a bishop would have been treated like that of any other person and would therefore have been registered with the parish in which the ceremony occurred. Or, perhaps more probably, the marriage was very quietly solemnized in the private chapel usually found attached to any bishop's principal or official residence, in which case it may not have ever registered in the parish records. That the wives of most of those bishops remain unnamed and unknown does not surprise me at all. Women were always less well represented in the historical record than were men since women could not ordinarily participate in public life. And there was undoubtedly a degree of deliberate discretion involved, since clerical marriage was still very controversial during the Edwardian period, leading bishops to keep information regarding their wives to a minimum.

Puddleduck said...

Thank you for your reply. It is of course, a possibility that there may have been children. No doubt, they too would have been protected.
Considering he held such a prominent positions , there are few records to be found about him. Such a shame.
Many thanks.