11 September 1761 – 1840
Roll No. 626 / 238
John Bird entered the employment of the Bute estate in 1777 when, at the age of 16, he began work as a clerk in the office of Thomas Edwards, lawyer and estate steward to the dowager Lady Windsor and her heirs and clerk of the peace for Glamorgan.
Of his earlier education and employment nothing is known, but his work for the Bute estate continued formally until his retirement in 1824 and informally until his death. In fact he was continuing a tradition of family service, for since the end of the 17th century various members of the prolific Bird family had been employed by the lords of Cardiff Castle as craftsmen and minor officials of the estate.
John Bird was descended from a line of gilders and painters whose advent into Glamorgan, was occasioned by the desire of the county nobility and gentry to embellish their residences.
By the end of that century members of the family had not only established themselves in trade but had already linked their fortunes to the Cardiff Castle estate.
John Bird senior, a shoemaker, was baptised at the castle in 1733. His son, the diarist, was born in Cardiff Castle in 1761. Bird senior became a minor official of the borough, holding the offices of water-bailiff and clerk of the market. His son's career was more intimately connected with the castle and its owners, his involvement in Corporation affairs more significant.
After his apprenticeship in Thomas Edwards's office Bird became clerk or 'factor' to the Bute estate in Glamorgan. By the 1790s he was in receipt of a salary of £ 40 16s Od a year, was provided with a house by Lord Bute and had, by his own business activities, established himself as a substantial citizen of Cardiff. He was enrolled a Freeman of Llantrisant on 5 May 1819.
He died in Montgomery, Shropshire, aged 79 in 1840.