A Preamble to Matrimony…

Described by the late, great Byron Scholar, Peter Cochran as a 'masterpiece of circumlocution' - Byron's second proposal of marriage in September 1814 would lay the foundation stone for his eventual exile from our shores in 1816...

Can YOU Make ME Happy?

"I will trust to you for all I should look up to - all I can love. The fear of not realizing your expectations is the only one I now feel. Convince me - it is all I wish - that my affection may supply what is wanting in my character to form your happiness..."

Far from the Scenes of Birth and Youth…

In the days following the news of Lord Byron’s death in Greece on April 19 1824; his young widow had written a poem which tells of her sorrow that on his death bed her exiled spouse had asked that a message be brought to her – a message the faithful valet William Fletcher had been unable to understand. The effort was made, but all, all, was in vain And dark is that page which he sought to explain… And some 36 years later on the day before her 68th birthday and with her beloved granddaughter and namesake Anne Isabella Noel King by her side; Annabella died in the early morning hours of Wednesday May 16 1860 while staying at 11 St George’s Terrace in Primrose Hill, North London from Bronchitis and Pleurisy after suffering from the effects of a prolonged illness throughout most of the Spring and NOT from breast cancer as is often erroneously reported...

Thursday’s Angel Child HAS Far to Go!

More than 227 years have now passed since that ‘involuntary Act of coming into the World’ for May 17 is the birthday of Anne Isabella, Lady Noel Byron, the Poet’s ‘Princess of Parallelograms’, his wife of a mere 54 weeks and the woman he later said was ‘born for my destruction.’ Born on Ascension Day May 17 1792 in County Durham, she was the cherished only child of Sir Ralph and the Hon. Judith Milbanke who had lived through a marriage of over 15 years, childlessness and hope in anticipation of the arrival of their ‘’little angel’. The adored baby was given the prosaic names of Anne Isabella in honour of her royal godmother the Duchess of Cumberland and Mrs. George Baker who had tended to Judith's confinement at Elemore Hall while the completion of the Milbanke's new house overlooking the wild coast at Seaham was still underway...

Blest Her! The Angel Suffers No More…

... Oh! my God! how has my poor Child been sacrificed! not only to a wicked, but unmanly Creature! her only Error, too strong an attachment to him, and how has he rewarded it!"The agitated author of this letter was the Hon. Judith Noel to Augusta Leigh in the dying days of January 1816 as the marriage separation between her beloved only daughter and Lord Byron became increasingly acrimonious and as the latter prepared for a life in exile far away from the marital home of 13 Piccadilly Terrace in London.Luckily for Byron's 'Dearest Sis', this letter was never sent and also for Annabella as Judith had been quite mistaken in her distraught prediction about her 'poor child's' imminent demise for not only did Annabella survive her estranged spouse by some 36 years but also that of both her parents, the Hon. Augusta Leigh by some 9 years and even that of her only daughter Ada who would die in her thirty-sixth year in November 1851, some 8 years previously...

MAY You Marry in Haste?

"Mr Farquar of Doctor’s Commons has a copy of the certificate of my marriage which he got from Bath…..I was married however on the 12th or 13th May (I don’t know which..." It is interesting that Byron’s mother should have been unsure as to the precise date of her fated marriage to John Byron in the year 1785. With her Scottish ancestry for omens and superstition perhaps Catherine’s confusion is understandable for she did indeed marry ‘Mad Jack’ Byron on Friday May 13 and by all accounts their brief marriage was a disaster.

Like Seaham Hall? Vastly!

In the early days of March 1815, Byron was preparing to take his leave of Seaham Hall which had provided the backdrop to his fated marriage on a cold January morning some weeks earlier. On the outskirts of a small fishing village and perched on a grassy hill that that overlooks the wild and windy north east coast and far away from the glamour of the ‘Melbourne Court’ in London, the ‘pretty Spot’ of Seaham Hall was the family home of Ralph and Judith Milbanke. Although Annabella had been born at Elemore Hall in May 1792 as the completion of Seaham Hall was still underway, Annabella would spend her happy childhood years of bathing in the sea, clamouring across the rocks, dreaming up stories of dragons and shipwrecks while running across the sands and where she would live in peaceful anonymity until January 1815 and from then on her life would never be the same again...

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!

It’s Looking Sticky for the Arctic Monkeys AND Lord B!

One of my favourite songs is by the Arctic Monkeys called 'Black Treacle'... 'Now it's getting dark and the sky looks sticky More like black treacle than tar Black treacle' Ah, ah! I know what you are thinking! Black treacle and Lord Byron?