16th August 1911 - Bishop Wordsworth dies. The Bishop's birds are seen.

Bishop Wordsworth of Salisbury

On 16th August in 1911 Bishop Wordsworth died.[2] Edith Olivier reported seeing the Bishops Birds.

The ‘The Rough Guide to Unexplained Phenomena’ includes this passage:

The see of Salisbury is not an heriditary post, but its incumbent inherits a death omen. When a Bishop of Salisbury is dying, white birds of an unusual kind are seen on Salisbury Plain. Katherine Wiltshire describes the: "They are large birds like albatrosses, with dazzling white wings which do not move as they fly" The first recorded incident was in 1414. The Bishop of Salisbury died abroad, attending the Council of Constance. A great flock of strange white birds descended in the roof of the hall where he lay in state and stayed all night making harsh noises. It was called "a great sign of the birds". Miss Moberly, the Bishop's daughter, saw the white birds fly up out of the Palace gardens as her father lay dying in 1855. Again, on 15th August 1911, Miss Edith Olivier, returning from a village choir outing near Salisbury, saw two curious white birds, flying but not moving their wings. She knew noting of the bird/bishop connection at that time, but on reaching home she was told that Bishop Wordsworth had suddenly died. Her report of the white birds was then recognized as the conventional omen[1]


By ?? [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


[1] The Rough Guide to Unexplained Phenomena By John Michell, Bob Rickard, Robert J. M. Rickard Page 250 URL: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=veXrRCyr1-EC&lpg=PA250&ots=X6hUeVA3Sz&dq=bishops%20birds%20white%20unexplained&pg=PA250#v=onepage&q=bishops%20birds%20white%20unexplained&f=false

[2] This entry is largely about the appearance of the Bishops Birds. There is more on the life of the Bishop at 4th November 1885 - Enthronement of Bishop Wordsworth