Actually Lord Byron’s full name and title was George Gordon Noel Byron – 6th Baron Byron (1788-1824), he was as we say “a bit of character” and one of Nottingham’s trio of famous “Rebel Writers” ,the other two being David Herbert (DH) Lawrence and Allan Sillitoe but more of them in later blogs…..
Byron was born in 1788 in London but initially bough up in Aberdeenshire and inherited his titles and wealth after the death of his Great Uncle the “Wicked” Lord Byron whose notoriety was achieved some years before Byron was born when he killed a man in a pistol duel after a trivial argument in a tavern! This eccentricity seems to flow down the Byron family tree to Byron our greatest Romantic Poet. Byron lived in both Nottingham and Nottinghamshire whilst in England but also in Italy and Greece in the latter part of his short life. He died in 1824 a small fishing village on the Greek coast called Messolonghi on the eve of a journey to Corinth to attack the Turkish army of occupation there and he died a hero of the Greek fight for Independence. His greatest work is a long poem called Don Juan after the 17th Century Spanish story of the famous philanderer who pays the ultimate price for his lifestyle.
There are many reminders of Byron in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire such as:
The house where he lived on St James Street Nottingham, his home between 1798 and 1799
Swine Green in Hockley – mentioned in one of his early poems and remembered by a Green Plaque today
Newstead Abbey near Ravenshead, his ancestral home
Byron’s grave at Saint Mary Magdalene Church, Hucknall where he and his daughter Ada Lovelace, the brilliant mathematician and early contributor to the development of computer science are laid to rest and is the scene of Byron’s dramatic and moving funeral in 1824.
Living a colourful and at the time controversial life he was known as “mad, bad and dangerous to know!” Here is a sample of some of his quotations which tell us a lot about the man:
“If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad”
“Men are strange but women are stranger”
“Pleasure is a sin and sometimes sin is a pleasure”
“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine”
“Love will find a path where wolves fear to prey”
“A celebrity is one who is known to many persons, he is glad he does not know”
How relevant Byron’s observations of life a relevant today….Want to learn more about Lord Byron, our greatest romantic poet and see where he lived then come on one of my guided walking tours.