William John Birkbeck

BIRKBECK, William John. b. Norfolk, 13 February 1859; d. Stratton Strawless, Aylsham, Norfolk, 9 June 1916. He came from a prosperous Norfolk family: he was educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford (1877-81). Birkbeck was a close friend of Athelstan Riley* from school and Oxford days, and similarly wealthy: John Harper* notes that his entry in the 1901 census reads ‘Occupation: none’ (Luff, 2005, p. 173). Riley and Birkbeck shared an interest in travel, and in fostering connections with the Orthodox church; they were also founder members of the Plainsong and Medieval Music Society in 1888, and Birkbeck studied plainchant at Maresdous in Belgium and Solesmes in France. He was an active...

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