It’s Daggers at Dawn!

On the evening of Monday July 5 he attended a 'Small Waltzing Party - 10 o'clock at the home of Lady Heathcote despite his intense dislike for the 'fashionable Waltz' on account of his lameness and for his disdain for anything remotely fashionable. That he had attended a party only days before that had all 'the refuse of the Regent & the Red book - Bedfords - Jerseys - Ossulstones - Greys & the like' also did very little to deter him! And that he might bump into Lady Caroline Lamb, his aggrieved and furious former lover whom he had been anxiously avoiding several days earlier was yet another futile deterrent. Byron's most recent paramour Lady Oxford had sailed out of his life with her husband at the end of June and although he had been reunited with his half- sister Augusta Leigh, he was making plans to go abroad AGAIN...

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...

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.

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...

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!

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...

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!

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.'

‘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...

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!