Lord Byron – What could I add to the millions of words written about this interesting man? I am partial to ‘free-flow’ writing: it is a technique writers use to open the imagination. The words can go anywhere, and the reader has to seek the full meaning. After spending more time researching the poet than desired: here is my ‘free-flow’ of thoughts on the Right Honourable Lord Byron.
13 March 1788 – 19 April 1824
Born Gordon George Byron to an heiress and crazy sea-captain the boy is destined for a notorious life. His mother gave away her fortune to her husband, who married for money, not love. Once penniless, she and her son are left to fend for themselves. At ten years of age, he has inherited a ruined Newstead Abbey.
His mother drinks heavily and has a poor reputation. Even so, she insists on giving her son a good education. In his later years of schooling, Byron is a pupil at the prestigious Harrow: and then onto Trinity College Cambridge. The mother chooses to live in the nearby village of Southwell with her son and lease the Abbey until he is old enough to live in the building. While living in Southwell, he works on plays at the local theatre and begins to write short stories and poetry. At Southwell he is seduced at thirteen, and abused by an uncle. He fathers a child and establishes a promiscuous and reckless reputation which would be the main reason for his self imposed exile years later.
After moving into Newstead, he decorates not renovates the building. The young baron is no businessperson and continues to misspend money on the property. Before long he has left Newstead and now resides in London. In the City, he gains an interest in theatre and actresses.
While in London he becomes involve in many scandalous affairs. The country is already aware of the renegade baron. His lifestyle is loved by the poor and tolerated by his peers. However, his mounting debts and notoriety eventually forced him to leave England for good.
During his European travels, he becomes friends with the poet Shelly and Mary Godwin (who called herself Mrs Shelly). They spend time together in Switzerland. During their stay near Geneva, the trio decides to have a writing competition. Its focus is on who can write the best horror story: Mary Shelly wins: her book is called “Frankenstein”. Some believe Byron is the model for Dr Frankenstein.
He is a man of ‘good causes’ and gives an immense amount of time an effort into the plight of the underdog. He vigorously opposes the death sentence for the Luddites. And although the law is passed to execute the protesters: Lord Byron continues to write about the injustice. His “An Ode to the Framers of the Frame Bill” is written about the situation. He became involved in the freedom of the Greeks: whose country had been ruled by the Turks for 400 years. While fighting for the Greek cause, Newstead Abbey is sold, and he diverts much of the remaining money into the Greek rebellion. Unfortunately, the Lord Poet did not live to see the Greek freedom. In 1824 he caught the flu, and the doctor who treated him ‘bled’ the weak man on two occasions. The unsterilised knife used to make the incision gave Bryon septicaemia, and he died.
Due to his notoriety, the church would not allow him to be buried in poets corner in Westminster Abbey. Therefore his body was taken to Hucknall for burial. The nobility sent empty carriages to follow the body back to Nottinghamshire. The empty carriages was a way of showing some respect for the death of the young lord, but not condoning his riotous life. Like many creatives, he lives on because of his work: and memories of a notorious life of affairs and waste. Is it any wonder so many people love this troubled genius?
When visiting the Newstead Abbey Well Being Show, you will be within part of this man’s history. During your day (or weekend) at the show: spend a few moments remembering how he must on many occasions have desired to be a Well Being.
See You At Newstead