Cages of Birds in Cathedral Pews

  • 17 Mar 2019
  • Historical Studies
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In Walpole's Lord Orford's letters, there is a note about a Worcester lady, who believing that her dead daughter yet existed and might communicate with her as a singing bird, had cages of birds put with her in her pew in the Cathedral, hoping they might attract her. The authorities allowed this, because the lady, though very eccentric, was very rich, and had been a considerable benefactress to the Cathedral. The belief in the approach of a spirit by way of a bird was rather common in earlier days. The famous story of the second Lord Lyttleton (the bad), in 1779, tells of a fluttering bird that came to his window three nights before he died, and was looked upon as a messenger to warn him of his approaching death.