A Pinch OR a Punch St Patrick?

Céad Míle Fáilte! I wish you one hundred thousand welcomes in Gaelic for today is St Patrick's Day! On St Patrick's Day in 1814 some 205 years ago and on this very day, it is likely that Byron would also have enjoyed some alcohol consumption during the course of the day; however, as delightful as the idea is, we cannot be sure if he actually 'pinched' anyone. But what we do know is that he was without any doubt 'punching' somebody on that day!

A Rage Against the Machine…

Today, February 27 was the day that my mother was delivered of me some years ago and a few years before that, Lord Byron delivered his maiden speech in the House of Lords. Yes, indeed on this very day some 207 years ago, our poet spoke out in 'A Rage Against the Machine' as he identified with the Luddite cause and claiming to be as penniless as those he supported, he sought the support of Lord Holland as the leader of the Whigs to address the House and to voice his opposition to the introduction of the death penalty...

The Tale of a Byronic Enfant Terrible!

On Tuesday February 1 1814, two very significant events occurred with the first being the lethal eruption of the volcano Mount Mayon in the Philippines which was to belch lava and dark ash upwards of thirty feet that would bury one town and kill over two thousand people.   The second significant event to occur on that day was the publication of Byron's The Corsair which sold 10,000 copies on the day of publication and a "thing perfectly unprecedented" according to His Lordship's proud and increasingly successful publisher, John Murray...

That Wicked Lord B! What Do YOU Know?

The Fifth Baron Byron was NOT the grandfather of our poet as purported by Alexander Larman in his sloppily researched tome Byron's Women which was published to enormous fanfare in 2016 but rather THE great-uncle and it was upon his demise that Byron became a Lord and inherited land and titles which included the glorious ancestral abode of Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire. William Byron had inherited his title of the 'Wicked Lord' for a life that had included the illegal selling of family estates and ruining what little was left in revenge against his only son and heir William who having decided on his own love match and in true Byron style promptly married his cousin!

A Melancholy, ‘Honeft Man’…

Byron was noted for his open manner and of his tendency to admit his feelings of despondency, sorrow or his word of choice - melancholy. For his poetry is noted for it, his private journals speak of it and he was often candid about his "constitutional depression of Spirits" in letters to his friends. Although the study of genetics was unknown in Byron's time, he always believed that he was 'doomed' by the fact that he was a in the words of his mother a "true Byrrone" Despite his charm, his father was considered a fickle profligate and adulterer and with an irate temper, extreme moods and bouts of depression; Byron's mother Catherine Gordon was more than a match for 'Mad Jack' as he was known throughout society. In the light of his parents' temperaments and that death by suicide is hinted at on ALL sides of Byron's unique family; it is perhaps NOT surprising that Byron was frequently one unhappy chap...

Adieu Most Amiable Mamma…

In the hagiography which often passes for the writing of Byron's life, Catherine Gordon Byron is somewhat of a Marmite figure for you will either love her or you hate her! However, my hatred of Marmite is equal to the fondness that I have for the story of this most 'Amiable Mamma' who Byron described as 'A tender and peremptory parent who indulged me sometimes with holidays and now and then with a box on the ear.'

Let Me Have the Implora Pace!

On this day, July 16 and an incredible 23 years ago I celebrated the safe arrival of my youngest son Tom and in 1824 a further 194 years ago, the church of St Mary Magdalene in the town of Hucknall in Nottingham welcomed the safe arrival of Byron's remains for burial after his death at the age of 36 on April 19 in the town of Missolonghi in Greece...

A ‘Dashing’ Tour of Newstead Abbey!

Since discovering the hidden treasure that is Newstead Abbey I remain enraptured by the Gothic ruin which as the ancestral home of Lord Byron influenced much of his wonderful poetry and I always eagerly anticipate any visit. Excited by the promise of an 'improved visitor experience' and on a cold and pleasant day in April I was taken to Newstead Abbey for a Mother's Day treat and with our place on the new guided tour booked for 2pm, we headed over to the 'Cafe in the Abbey' for lunch...

Cheers! I Could Murder a Drink!

When Lady Byron left London and her husband in January 1816 she was to send him the following note: Dearest B., We arrived here safely - the child is the best of travellers. Now do leave off the abominable trade of versifying, and brandy, everything that is nau - - Byron was always the first to admit with brutal honesty that he …

Continue reading Cheers! I Could Murder a Drink!

A Devil of a Birthday Boy!

Throughout his short life and in the years that have followed Byron was always considered to be a wonderful mass of contradictions and one with peculiar regularity can still arouse fury, passion, loyalty and debate; however, Byron would only think of himself as le diable boiteux - the lame devil. He was born on this day in 1788 with a malformation of his right leg and foot which he believed to be the worst catastrophe of his entire life and as Byron still remains a figure of intrigue, it is perhaps not altogether surprising that the nature of his deformed limb should also provoke controversy!