All Saints, Wordwell
Wordwell's only church - All Saints

The Bird family have a long history based in Suffolk and up until the great depression years of the 1930's the Bird's have worked the land as agricultural labourers and farmers. So far the Bird line has been traced back, with absolute certainty, to the area just north of Bury St Edmunds back to around the mid 1700's. Data suggests that they may have been in Suffolk for the 100 years previous but there is an element of uncertainty on that. It's possible that they came down from Norfolk.

The journey starts out with Benjamin Bird in Barnham, a small village just South of the Norfolk border. Benjamin had quite a few children, one of whom was George Bird. Born in Rymer and christened at Barnham Church Barnham Church , George married Rose Edwards and went on to live in Wordwell, an even smaller village a few miles south of Barnham. In 1821, around the time that George and his family would have been living there, Wordwell is listed as having 8 houses and 48 inhabitants.

Later on they live in West Stow and later still in Culford, all these villages being part of the larger Culford Estate owned at first by Lord Cornwallis and from 1823, when he died, by Richard Benyon de Beauvoir. The Culford Estate at this time was a large 11,000 acre agricultural estate and it seems the Bird family worked the land there for many decades. It is in Culford that Arthur Bird, my second great grandfather was born.

Arthur himself was a religious man, being a methodist preacher and departing on a mission to Adelaide in Australia in his youth to participate in work for the Y.M.C.A, a journey from which he returned in 1888. After living in Culford, sometime between 1871 and 1881 this branch of the Bird family move further west, to Westhorpe. It is currently unknown why they left the Culford estate, but 1879 was a year renowned as being disastrous for agriculture, especially in corn growing regions such as Suffolk. In this year (also the year of the last Irish famine) harvests at home were poor due to a long and bitter winter, followed by much greater than average rainfall the following spring and it was these two factors combined that lead to much smaller yields and inferior quality crops. This combined with the fact that in contrast the American harvest had been much greater than expected led to the market being flooded with cheap imported grain and British farmers and estate owners would have found themselves struggling. It is pure speculation but highly possible that the events of that year led to the relocation. After a very brief spell in Westhorpe the family are in Finningham by 1891. By 1901 they are living at Clopton Green Farm in Rattlesden and then finally on to Woolpit in the 1930's.

To my knowledge none of the Bird's in this particular line, after 1930, have returned to agriculture.