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...

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...

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...

‘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 …

Continue reading Bravo! Artful BUT Perfectly Incompatible!

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!