Abroad and return

Photo:Byron and William Fletcher

Byron and William Fletcher

Photo:Lord Byron 1788-1823

Lord Byron 1788-1823

Thinking of Newstead?

Photo:Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace


By Ralph Lloyd-Jones

"with him since Southwell"

Although Byron lived abroad from 1816 until his death in 1823, one of his closest companions was his Notts valet, William Fletcher (1777 – 1837), the 'stout yeoman' of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, who had been with him since Southwell days. When he died in Greece in 1823, Fletcher brought Byron's body all the way back to Nottinghamshire for burial. But the funeral was not at Newstead with his favourite dog Boatswain; he joined his mother and ancestors in the family vault at St Mary Magdalene church, Hucknall. His famous daughter, computer pioneer, Ada Countess of Lovelace (1815 – 1852), was also buried there at her own request.


"the places and atmosphere"

Since his time thousands of visitors from all over the world have come to Nottinghamshire in search of the places and atmosphere which inspired so many of Byron’s poems. Even towards the end of his short life, he was thinking of Newstead when he called it Norman Abbey in Canto 13 of his greatest poem, Don Juan. Byron obviously still had very happy memories of the place.

A glorious remnant of the Gothic pile
(While yet the church was Rome's) stood half apart
In a grand arch, which once screen'd many an aisle.
These last had disappear'd -- a loss to art:
The first yet frown'd superbly o'er the soil,
And kindled feelings in the roughest heart,
Which mourn'd the power of time's or tempest's march,
In gazing on that venerable arch.

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This page was added by Ralph Lloyd-Jones on 16/06/2010.

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