GEMMS: Gateway to Early Modern Manuscript Sermons
NameThomas Birch
DenominationChurch of England
Livedb. 1705-11-23 - d. 1766-01-19 (new)
Linked Sermons
Associated PlacesDebden -- ParishLlandewi Velfrey -- ParishSt Gabriel Fenchurch -- ParishSt Margaret Pattens -- ParishSt Michael Wood Street -- ParishUlting -- Parish
Source of DataAnne James; David Robinson
Biographical Sources ConsultedODNB; CCEd (ID: 127895)
Other NoteBorn 23 November 1705 at Clerkenwell, London to Joseph Birch, coffee mill maker, and Rebecca Birch, both Quakers. Educated at the Quaker school of John Owen in Hemel Hempstead from 1717 to 1719 when he continued his studies at Josiah Welby's school on Turnbull Street, Clerkenwell. Usher at these schools until 1726 when he abandoned his Quaker roots to seek a career in the Church of England. Married Hannah Cox, daughter of the curate of St Botolph without Bishopsgate in 1726, but she and their son died in 1729, an event which led to his first public literary production, a poem called "On the Death of A Beloved Wife." Baptized December 1730; deacon, January 1731; priest, December 1731. Through the patronage of Sir Philip Yorke he became vicar of Ulting, Essex and tutor to one of his sons in 1732. Also in 1732 he was appointed one of three editors of the General Dictionary, Historical and Critical, writing the majority of the new biographical entries between 1743 and 1741. The contacts gained from this work resulted in his further election to the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries in 1735, of which he was director 1737-47. Meanwhile, he also gained ecclesiastical preferments: St Michael, Wood Street with St Mary Staining, 1744-1746; St Margaret Pattens with St Gabriel Fenchurch, 1746-1765; rector of Debden, Essex, 1761-1766; and of Llandewi Velfrey, Pembrokeshire, 1766. Named trustee of the British Museum sometime after its founding in 1753. Died 23 January 1766 and left his library and manuscript collection to the Museum.
GEMMS record createdMarch 05, 2018
GEMMS record last editedOctober 01, 2019