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...

A Proposal of Marriage – Possibly?

With pages marked by my 'Pride & Prejudice' bookmark, a hastily bought souvenir from Bath and as I was reading the letter written by Byron on this very day, September 9 1814 - I confess that my attention wandered to the alluring and haughty figure of Mr Darcy in conversation with a certain Miss Bennet...

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...

I Have Suffered! Can It EVER Be Known?

On April 21, Byron penned one of his last letters to his 'Dearest Augusta' as he made plans to leave his home and his life in England behind him. He had signed the deed of separation on the afternoon of Sunday April 21 1816 signifying the end of his brief year-long marriage to Annabella and from the fatherhood of his five-month old daughter Ada. He left 13 Piccadilly Terrace on April 23, St George's Day, bound for Dover and finally departed from England on Thursday April 25 and was never to see Augusta, Annabella or Ada again...

I Once More Remind You I Am YOUR Child!

"Lady Byron, proposed that I should accompany her to Paris, and remain with her for a time I did so.....at Fontainebleau.... Lady Byron informed me of the cause of the deep interest she felt and must ever feel, for me. Her husband had been my father..." The author of this missive is one Elizabeth Medora Leigh writing about the kindness of her aunt Lady Byron who had just informed her that her father was none other than the celebrated poet and also her uncle, Lord Byron. Born on this day April 15 in 1814, her mother was the Hon. Augusta Mary Byron who had married her cousin Colonel George Leigh and Elizabeth Medora as she was baptised was their fourth child and arguably the most notorious.

Lady Melbourne Braves Opinion!

"Lady Melbourne the best and kindest female I ever knew" ~ Lord Byron. Educated, attractive and with a talent for ambition Elizabeth Milbanke would soon move away from provincial Yorkshire and by 1769 had married Peniston Lamb, a wealthy, foolish and easy going lawyer and as she worked hard to advance the fortune and the prestige of her family, she would become became one of the most celebrated Society Hostesses on behalf of the Whig Party...

Most Flattered? Beware the Ides of March!

On Sunday March 15, Annabella having dined at Melbourne House and with no allusion to either the fashions worn nor to the food enjoyed - she treated her mother with observations on the character of her cousin by marriage, Lady Caroline Lamb. "Ly Caroline has asked me to a party at her house on Thursday, not a very numerous one, and she told me with more consideration than I should have expected from her character that Lady Holland would be one of her company, and she thought it right to mention this, as you were absent, lest I might inadvertently be led to do what you would not approve...."

Dearest Duck, It’s Over! Love Pippin…

Even though we are now only in the second day of February, there is already an abundance of red hearts of all sizes adorning the windows of the local shops and restaurants and there are even Edible Love Hearts on offer as a Valentine's Day treat for our local pooches! Yes, February is the month for a profusion of chocolates, expensive red roses and some very dubious Valentine's cards but oh, what a month of anticipation as Cupid's Arrow flies forth! However, sadly not for our poet as February 1816 would be the month that his wife Lady Byron, the former Annabella Milbanke would ditch him!

Behold the Blessings of Lady Noel – Damn!

In the summer of 1821 in a letter to his sister, Augusta Leigh, as Byron was was lamenting the failure of his drama about Marino Faliero, the controversial Doge of Venice who had been executed in 1355, he was also less than sympathetic to the news that his mother-in-law had recovered from an illness. As we know, no one lives forever and the Lady Noel was no exception for a mere seven months after Lord B's most facetious letter; his Mamma-At-Law died on Monday January 28 in 1822...

A Cup of Kindness Yet?

January 25 is the celebration of Burns Night and having enjoyed a fabulous supper of Haggis - I had to refuse the 'wee dram' of fine Scotch whiskey on offer. However, had I done so, I could have raised a glass in honour of the character in this post - Lady Caroline Lamb who died on this day in 1828 at the age of forty two AND it's probably fair to say that even with the passage of time, opinion remains as divided about her in death, as it was in life!

Past Agony? Take a Stroll Along Piccadilly!

We mean to metropolize to-morrow, and you will address your next to Piccadilly. We have got the Duchess of Devon’s house there, she being in France… Lord Byron Last November I too 'metropolized' to London for a few days and on one quiet and chilly afternoon after a quick rendezvous with Lord Byron in Bennet Street, I went for a stroll along Piccadilly to take a lingering look at the abode which was the scene of his short and difficult union with the unfortunate former Annabella Milbanke AND the inspiration for the creation of Byron's abode - albeit in 12th scale!

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...

‘Tis a Pity There Were Three of Us!

By April 1816 Annabella having already contemplated the vagaries, distress and challenge that her brief marriage of one year to Byron had brought her and having made her decision to leave in February 1816, the 'Suffering Angel' was to remain formidable in her resolution and the process towards Annabella's desire to be 'securely separated' from Byron over 200 years ago was reaching an increasingly bitter, fraught and heart breaking conclusion. Despite Annabella's consistent avowal that she would not return to him, Byron had continued to object to the separation throughout the cold months of February and March with his belief that she had been manipulated by the demands of her parents and with mischief by her former nurse and governess Mrs Clermont. In 1816 the laws for divorce were complicated and in the absence of the legality of a wife's right to defend and assert her desire for a separation, the Courts usually awarded rights, property and children to the husband and it was with this in mind Annabella's legal team were preparing depositions in support of her claim...

Bravo! Artful BUT Perfectly Incompatible!

On any given day if you were to go in search of me and in discovering that my workshop was closed; you would probably find me at home in my 'Den' surrounded by piles of books reading yet another book about Byron or scribbling in my research book and always with the radio playing! Unlike Byron who professed to Lady …

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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!