As a devout worshipper of Lord Byron (a Byromaniac, if you will allow me to use such a term; I know Milbanke would have loathed me), it is with my heart that I retrace every single one of his glorious steps. With my roots in Aberdeen, the effort it took to explore his haunts there proved to be dramatically smaller than the overwhelming rush that came over me when I stood on Brig o' Balgownie, and beneath the statue at the Grammar School, and skipped around the ruins of Gight Castle. However, reaching both his home and pace of rest was going to be a much greater challenge.
It's thanks to the wonderful Tee Bylo - whose Byron blog I insist you check out! - that I was able to heighten the madness of my Byron adventures much sooner than I ever imagined. I owe her my life, for I have just completed the most spectacular two-day Byron pilgrimage...
Church of St Mary Magdalene, Hucknall
It's quite a disturbing thought, in all manners of delight, to think that I've stood a mere few metres away from the skeleton of my love. Buried in the family vault in the church alongside Byron is his daughter Ada Lovelace, and mother Catherine Gordon. St Mary Magdalene is a beautiful church, and a heavenly place for Byron to rest. He is certainly very well looked after there.
I don't think my heart has ever raced so much as it did when we were approaching Newstead. Once the home of the 6th Lord, both the exterior and interior are a reflection on the extravagance of Byron's own life. The grounds are breathtaking, with vast gardens and controlling nature.
Byron's bed. Byron's. Bed. Can you just imagine...no, best not. It's still not sunk in that I've stood in the bedroom of my love. Nor has it hit me that I've stared into his plunge bath and gazed up at his window. The tour guides were absolutely fantastic, and really helped bring to life the history of Newstead. If I could live there, I truly would!
Unfortunately, Annesley Hall, once home to Byron's young love Mary Chaworth, is not in any condition to be entered. However, we did visit its surrounding area. I think it's fair to say that the building would have once shone with such gorgeous beauty; it oozes charisma, even when left abandoned to rot away. I do hope that somebody takes care of it soon. It's such a shame to see it going to waste. If I had all the money in the world, I'd buy it and turn it into a Byron museum. Perhaps one day...
SouthwellByron spent five years of his life living in Southwell, in Burgage Manor. The window above the plaque is said to have been his bedroom window, which looked onto the home of the Pigots across the road. As is to be expected with all things Byron, it's a very attractive building in a quaint location.
We stayed at The Saracen's Head, to which Byron was no stranger. It's certainly somewhere I'd look into staying at again; there's so much history to the building, not alone involving Byron. However, Byron will, naturally, be the main pull factor, and I can think of no finer location for such a writer to frequent.
I took hundreds of photos over the weekend, and since it'd be impractical for me to upload them all here, I've organised them in a short slideshow video. Enjoy!