Saturday, 13 January 2018

The Tale of a Superior January Bride...

'I hope to leave this world without having said a word that could damage anybody, and so I must let people say what they will of me'
Anne Isabella Lady Noel Byron

As much as I adore the poetry, letters and scribblings of Lord Byron and remain intrigued by his unique and fascinating life; I also believe that his image as the original Regency 'bad boy' has been complimented by the scandal surrounding his brief marriage to Annabella Milbanke and which would precipitate his journey into exile from their London home at 13 Piccadilly Terrace in April 1816.

Although Byron's reputation has been rehabilitated since his death in April 1824, the story of his estranged spouse has frequently been degenerated in return and it was with this in mind that I began the research for a 'Lady Byron Blog' in 2012 in an attempt to 'even' the balance of opinion as it were and although I will be sharing some of the stories about Lady B on this blog, you can also discover more about her on my other blog Another Look at Lady Byron...

'Although they had no business with anything previous to my marriage with that infernal fiend.. whose destruction I shall yet see..'
George Gordon Lord Noel Byron

The story of Byron's 'infernal fiend' I hope will offer an interesting and spirited insight into the life of remarkable and much maligned woman who became the wife of one of history's most famous and scandalous Poets.

Anne Isabella Milbanke was born on Thursday May 17 1792 in Durham, although she would be known as ‘Annabella’ throughout her life and as ‘Bell’ to Byron who called her his ‘Princess of Parallelograms.’

He was to describe her as a 'very superior woman, and a little spoiled..... a girl of 20 - a peeress that is to be in her own right - an only child... She is a poetess, a mathematician - a metaphysician, and yet, withal, very kind, generous and gentle, with very little pretension. Any other head would have been turned with half her acquisitions, and a tenth of her advantages..'

The ‘pretty Spot’ of Seaham Hall would remain Annabella’s favourite home as she enjoyed a childhood 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 her marriage to Lord Byron in January 1815 and from then on her life would never be the same again.

They had met in March 1812 shortly after Byron had 'suddenly awoke to find myself famous' following the success of his poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and during his notorious affair with the Lady Caroline Lamb.

In an effort to rid himself of his ‘Wild Biondetta’ in the autumn of that same year, he encouraged Caro’s mother-in-law, the indomitable Lady Melbourne to approach Annabella on his behalf with a view to marriage; a proposal she would refuse in October 1812.

In September 1814 and after a correspondence initiated by Annabella, Byron was finally encouraged into a second marriage proposal and they were married on Monday January 2 1815 at Seaham Hall in County Durham.

They moved to 13 Piccadilly Terrace in London in the March following and it was here that their only child, a daughter Augusta Ada was born on December 10 1815.

However, after a marriage of only fifty-four weeks, Annabella left Byron the following month and he would never see her or their daughter again with their official separation in April 1816 arousing much comment and speculation was rife with rumours of incest and homosexuality which would eventually lead Byron to a life of exile in Europe.

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