- John E. Hallwas
Birkbeck, Morris (23 January 1764–04 June 1825), pioneer and author, was born in Settle, Yorkshire, the son of Morris Birkbeck, apparently a businessman, and Hannah Bradford, both of whom were Quakers. In 1774 the Birkbecks moved to the hamlet of Wanborough, Surrey, where a community of Friends had been established and where young Birkbeck was raised. He became a farmer, and by 1794 he was operating a 1,500-acre estate, which he leased. A slim, muscular, bald-headed man, Birkbeck was energetic, reflective, idealistic, and even-tempered. Frequently innovative, he was the first breeder of merino sheep in England. In 1794 he married Prudence Bush, also a Quaker, of nearby Wandsworth. She died in 1804, leaving him with seven children....