Lancashire player number 61 - Birley, Francis Hornby
by Don Ambrose

Player:FH Birley

Lancashire 1870-72
Born 14.3.1850 Chorlton, Manchester.
Died 1.8.1910 Dormansland, Surrey.


Educated at Winchester, where he was a member of the cricket Eleven in 1867, playing against Eton at Eton and scoring 0 and 1 and taking seven wickets in Eton's only innings for 73 runs. The following year at Winchester he captained the side scoring 11 and 2 and taking 4/41 and 2/25.


A moderate right-hand batsman and a useful slow right-arm bowler, an excellent field. He was said to possess excellent judgement as a captain whilst at Winchester.


His brother James Leatham Birley was also educated at Winchester and Oxford and played his county cricket with Cheshire (1865-73).


In 1868 he played his first match for Cheshire, and between then and 1873 he played in nine matches and scored 316 runs in his fourteen innings, with five not outs, achieving an average of 35.11 with a top score of 106 not out.


He went up to University College, Oxford, and although he played in the fresher's match he did not get a game for the University. He did however play Association Football for the University, and was a member of the Oxford side that won the F.A. Cup in 1874. Later as a member of the Wanderers Football Club he was on the winning side in two more Cup Finals in 1876 and 1877. He also played in two Association Football internationals. He won his Association Blue in 1874 and in 1872 he threw the hammer in the athletics match with Cambridge.He played in three matches for Lancashire in 1870 and his final match for the county two years later.


He gained his B.A. in 1873 and was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1876. His last first-class match was for Surrey in 1879.


At the time of the 1881 Census he was living at Hart Lill Mansion, Pendleton in Salford, with his widower father Thomas H., aged 65 born at Blackburn, an India rubber manufacturer. His two unmarried sisters, Anne K. aged 35 and Jardine aged 29, are also present. He is aged 31 a barrister (not practising), and his wife Margaret aged 24 and daughter also Margaret aged 3 are with him. His unmarried uncle Henry Birley, a 59 year old engineer and iron founder is visiting. There are eleven domestic servants.


His wife was the daughter of the Rev Jarvis Kenrick, vicar of Caterham, Surrey. In 1907 he was living at Claridges, Lingfield, Surrey, and was a J.P. for Surrey.


He was well-known as an ornithologist.


(Article: Copyright © 2004 Don Ambrose)


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