William Bird was the son of Thomas Bird, one of the gentlemen of the chapel royal in the reign of King Edward the Sixth. He received the principal part of his musical education under the celebrated Thomas Tallis, and was elected organist of the cathedral church of Lincoln in 1563. Six years after he was appointed a gentleman of the chapel royal, and was considered the finest player of the virginal of his time. His compositions were numerous and of great variety. In the check-book of the chapel royal he is styled "the father of music." The well-known canon of Non Nobis, Domine, was of his composition. He died 1623, Aet. 80.