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Last Updated: Monday, 10 December 2007, 12:24 GMT
Singing bird's grave reinstated
Bullfinch (generic)
The bird was said to have lived in a cage by the hall's kitchen
A grade II-listed gravestone belonging to a bullfinch believed to have been trained to sing the national anthem has been reinstated.

The bird, called Bullie, lived with Lady Marianna Percy Lawton at Lawton Hall, South Cheshire, in the 1850s.

Lady Lawton wrote a poem for the gravestone, kept in the grounds until the 1990s when developers moved in.

However local resident Frank Byatt saved the headstone until it was safe to put it back.

The bird was thought to have lived in a cage outside the kitchen of the hall, where it was known to sing God Save The Queen.

'Local institution'

The gravestone, which is dated 1853, reads: "Dear Bullie, thy voice which often did charm, has silenced forever by death's mighty arm.

"God gave thee thine beauty, man gave thee thy song.

"Such perfection combined do few bullies belong."

Congleton Borough Council's heritage spokesman Bob Grayson took part in a ceremony to unveil the stone.

He said: "In my time on the council I've done some pretty interesting and exciting things but I reckon this one takes the biscuit.

"When I was first invited to unveil the gravestone I did think the lads down the pub were pulling my leg.

"But after finding out more about it I realised it was an important part of our local heritage. Perhaps not in the same scale as the hall, for instance, but it is a local institution."

Bullfinches usually produce a low whistling call or a quiet piping song.



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