Thursday, January 14, 2016

{65} Edward III Descent for Lord Byron (1788-1824)

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)
By the 19th-century, the family of the Barons Byron of Rochdale had earned a reputation for eccentricity and madness, both of which were readily evident in the family's most famous member George Gordon, 6th Baron Byron - the Romantic poet Lord Byron. At the age of ten, he inherited from his great-uncle the family title and its chief seat, Newstead Abbey, a former Augustinian monastery which lies in Nottinghamshire in the heart of Sherwood Forest and was thought to have been the home of the medieval Friar Tuck of Robin Hood lore. The previous (5th) Baron Byron was fully insane, and, hating his own family, did his best to leave Newstead Abbey as ruinous as possible. What had once been an elegant home on a landscaped estate was left to the young Lord Byron a decaying Gothic ruin, which made him love it all the more. "Through thy battlements, Newstead, the hollow winds whistle," he wrote. "Thou, the hall of my fathers, art gone to decay; In thy once smiling garden, the hemlock and thistle Have choked up the rose which once bloomed in the way." Lord Byron kept a stocked wine cellar, maintained an excellent library, and Newstead Abbey would become the scene of much revelry and many an outrageous affair. Blessed with otherworldly good looks, Byron, in spite of a weird walk due to being born with a club foot, was immensely attractive and sensual, and his affairs, with both sexes (he was a Romantic poet, after all), became the stuff of scandal and legend. While a student at Trinity College Cambridge, "he kept two mistresses, was known for his nightly romps with prostitutes and was said to have fallen in love with a choirboy named John Edleston" ['Lord Byron and Newstead Abbey', Wikipedia].
Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire
Lord Byron had a fascination with human skulls. He drank from a goblet made from a skull that had been dug up at Newstead, polished, with a gold rim, mounted on a silver stem. "Lord Byron took a notion that there was a deal of money buried about the Abbey by the monks in old times, and nothing would serve him but he must have the flagging taken up in the cloisters; and they digged and digged, but found nothing but stone coffins full of bones. Then he must needs have one of the coffins put in one end of the great hall, so that the servants were afraid to go there of nights. Several of the skulls were cleaned and put in frames in his room. I used to have to go into the room at night to shut the windows, and if I glanced an eye at them, they all seemed to grin; which I believe skulls always do. I can't say but I was glad to get out of the room" [Nanny Smith, Byron's housekeeper at Newstead].

Loving Newstead so much, Byron wrote, "Come what may, Newstead and I stand or fall together. I have now lived on the spot. I have fixed my heart upon it, and no pressure, present or future, shall induce me to barter the last vestige of our inheritance." Unfortunately his financial difficulties grew so great that he eventually was forced to sell his beloved family seat, in 1818. This dismayed Lord Byron's male heir, his first cousin the naval officer Captain George Anson Byron (1789-1868), who had spent much time with his cousin at Newstead. They had fallen out two years previous, when Captain Byron took the side of Lord Byron's wife in the breakup of his marriage which resulted in a legal separation, and Lord Byron exiling himself to the continent for the remainder of his life. "The newspapers had reported that...Captain George Anson Byron, the new (seventh) Baron, was ill at Bath when the poet's coffin was lowered into the vault at Hucknall Torkard. Ostensibly he was too ill to attend the funeral. Actually he was sulking and bitterly hurt because he had just discovered that he had inherited the family title with neither lands nor money to maintain it" [Violet W. Walker, The House of Byron: A History of the Family from the Norman Conquest, 1066-1988, Quiller Press, 1988, p. 219].
Byron Coat of Arms -
full heraldic achievement

The Byron family claimed to have arrived in England with the Conqueror. By the end of the 12th century, they had acquired the Lancashire property Clayton Hall near Manchester, which they lived in for more than 400 years until they sold it for £4,700 in 1620 to the merchant brothers George and Humphrey Chetham, from Manchester. The family had long ago, at the end of the 13th-century, acquired the Nottinghamshire estate of Colwick Hall through marriage to an heiress, and made it their chief seat. In 1540, Henry VIII granted the dissolved monastery of Newstead Abbey to Sir John Byron (1488-1567), in reward for his service as a knight of the body, for his loyalty to the king through the marriage to Anne Boleyn, and for his help in putting down the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536. In 1543, Sir John was made steward of the royal manor of Rochdale in the duchy of Lancaster, an office which eventually became hereditary, beginning the Byrons' association with that town, which culminated in the manor's purchase in 1638 by then family head Sir John Byron (1599-1652). When he was elevated to the peerage as a Baron five years later, it was Rochdale that was used as the territory designation, and continues as part of the family's title to the present day, though Rochdale manor was never the family's chief seat, and was ultimately sold by the continuously financially-strapped Lord Byron in 1823, a year before his death.
Detail of wall monument to Sir John and Margaret (Fitzwilliam)
, now in Newstead Abbey

It was another Sir John Byron (c.1560-1623), the grandson of the grantee of Newstead Abbey, who first married into the Edward I bloodline, when in 1580, his father arranged a marriage for him with Margaret, the youngest daughter of Sir William Fitzwilliam of Milton Hall in Northamptonshire. Sir William had recently finished a term as Lord Deputy of Ireland, where he crusaded against the corruption of the previous Irish administration and had accrued massive financial debts in his fifteen-plus years of loyal service to the crown. In March 1575, Sir William, seriously ill, pleaded for Elizabeth I to recall him back to England, claiming that his wife had had to sell stock at Milton to pay his expenses and that his unmarried daughters were losing their chance of finding suitable husbands. His request was granted in September, and the Fitzwilliams re-settled themselves at Milton Hall and set about finding husbands for their daughters. The Byrons were a family only prominent locally in Nottinghamshire and Lancashire, but they had an estate that comprised, in Nottinghamshire, the manors of Newstead, Papplewick, Colwick Bucknall and Snenton, together with several thousand acres of land, and land in twenty-four Lancashire parishes, including the manors of Clayton, Gorton, Blackley, Droylsden and Failsworth. Though young John Byron was not quite the equal of Margaret Fitzwilliam, whose maternal uncles included Thomas Radcliffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex and the renowned poet Sir Henry Sidney of Penshurst Place in Kent, on the social scale, the Byron family was in a better place financially than the heavily indebted Fitzwilliams, and Margaret would be well provided for.

In addition to introducing the royal blood of Edward III to the Byrons, Margaret Fitzwilliam is also, unfortunately, the first recorded instance of madness within the family. "In the late seventeenth century, Margaret Fitzwilliam, wife of Sir John Byron and mother of the first and second Lords Byron, 'went out of her mind and never recovered her reason.' Lady Margaret was described as a woman of 'rare talent and beauty, skilled in the composition of music and poetry,' and it was said that 'her ravings were more delightful then [sic] other women's most rationall conversations'" [Kay Redfield Jamison, Touched With Fire, Simon and Schuster, 1996, p. 156]. Despite this, Sir John Byron's love for his wife never faltered, and they both died on the same day within hours of each other.

The descent from Edward III, thru Margaret Fitzwilliam, down to the first cousins Lord (6th Baron) Byron and George Anson, 7th Baron Byron (father of Hon. & Rev. Augustus Byron), is as follows.

Edward III had a 3rd surviving son:
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
- see Generation A1
A1) John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (1340-1399) m. 3) Katherine Roet (c.1350-1403), and had
A2) Lady Joan Beaufort (c.1377-1440) m. 2) Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland (1364-1425), and had
A3) Richard Neville, 1st Earl of Salisbury (c.1398-1460) m. Lady Alice Montagu 
(1406-1462, descended from Edward I), and had
A4) Lady Alice Neville (c.1434-aft.1503) m. Henry, 6th Lord Fitzhugh (1429-1472), and had
A5) Elizabeth Fitzhugh (1462-bef.1507) m. 2) Nicholas, 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden (c.1460-1523, descended from Edward I), and had
A6) Alice Vaux (c.1487-bef.1525) m. Sir Richard Sapcote of Elton Hall (1483-1543), and had
A7) Anne Sapcote (c.1508-1569) m. Sir William Fitzwilliam of Milton Hall (1503-1576), and had
A8) Sir WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM of Milton Hall, Northamptonshire, b. 1526 Milton Hall; d. there 22 June 1599, bur. St Mary Church, Marholm, Northamptonshire; Lord Deputy of Ireland 1571-75 and 1588-94; m. (settlement 4 Jan.) 1543, ANNE SIDNEY, b. c.1525; d. 11 June 1602, bur. All Saints Church, Theydon Garnon, Essex, 3rd dau. of Sir William Sidney of Penshurst Place, Kent (c.1482-1554, descended from Edward I) and Anne Pagenham (d. 1543), and had
Fitzwilliam of Milton Coat of Arms
A9) MARGARET FITZWILLIAM, b. London, bap. 3 Mar. 1559 St Benet Fink, London; d. 6 Mar. 1623, bur. St John the Baptist Church, Colwick, Nottinghamshire; m. (settlement 12 Aug.) 1580,  Sir JOHN BYRON of Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire, b. c.1560; d. 6 Mar. 1623, bur. St John the Baptist Church, Colwick, son of Sir John Byron of Newstead Abbey (d. 1604) and Alice Strelley (d. 1598), and had
A10) Sir JOHN BYRON of Newstead Abbey, b. Colwick Hall, bap. 22 Nov. 1583 St John the Baptist Church, Colwick; d. 8 Sept. 1625, bur. there 27 Sept. 1625; m. (settlement 2 Mar.) 1599, ANNE MOLYNEUX, b. c.1580, d. aft. 1653, est dau. of Sir Richard Molyneux, 1st Baronet of Sefton (c.1559-1623, descended from Edward I) and Frances Gerard (c.1561-1621, descended from Edward I), and had
Sir John Byron - see
Generation A10
A11) RICHARD, 2nd Baron Byron of Rochdale, b. 1606; d. 4 Oct. 1679 Newstead Abbey, bur. 6 Oct. 1679 St Mary Magdalene Church, Hucknall Torkard, Nottinghamshire; m. 1st by 1633, ELIZABETH (ROSSELL) STRELLEY, d. 22 Mar. 1657, bur. St Mary Magdalene Church, Hucknall Torkard, widow of Nicholas Strelley of Strelley Hall (d. 1632) and dau. of George Rossell of Radcliffe-on-Trent and Margaret Whalley (d. 1634), and had
A12) WILLIAM, 3rd Baron Byron of Rochdale, b. Strelley Hall, Nottinghamshire, bap. 5 July 1635 All Saints Church, Strelley; d. 13 Nov. 1695 Newstead Abbey, bur. 16 Nov. 1695 St Mary Magdalene Church, Hucknall Torkard; m. 1st (lic. 5 Oct.) 1660, ELIZABETH CHAWORTH, b. c.1637; bur. 12 Dec. 1683 St Mary Magdalene Church, Hucknall Torkard, dau. of John, 2nd Viscount Chaworth of Armagh (1605-1644) and his 1st wife Hon. Elizabeth Noel (c.1615-by 1643, descended from Edward I), and had
A13) WILLIAM, 4th Baron Byron of Rochdale, b. 4 Jan. 1670; d. 8 Aug. 1736 Newstead Abbey, bur. St Mary Magdalene Church, Hucknall Torkard; m. 3rd 3 Dec. 1720 St Mary Church, Kensington, London, Hon. FRANCES BERKELEY, b. c.1702; bur. 21 Sept. 1757 St Mary Church, Twickenham, Middlesex, dau. of William, 4th Baron Berkeley of Stratton (c.1666-1741, descended from Edward I) and Frances Temple (d. 1707), and had
A14) Hon. JOHN BYRON of Plymouth, Devon, b. 8 Nov. 1723; d. 5 Apr. 1786 London, bur. 10 Apr. 1786 St Mary Church, Twickenham; Governor of Newfoundland 1769-71; m. Aug. 1748 Caerhayes Castle Chapel, Cornwall, his first cousin, SOPHIA TREVANION, b. 8 July 1730 Westminster, London, bap. 21 July 1730 St Margaret Church, Westminster; d. 6 Nov. 1790 Bath, Somersetshire, bur. 12 Nov. 1790 Bath Abbey, dau. of John Trevanion of Caerhayes (1667-1740, descended from Edward III) and his 2nd wife Hon. Barbara Berkeley (1704-1776, descended from Edward I), and had 2 sons A15 and B15 (see below)
A15) Capt. JOHN BYRON of Marylebone, London, b. 7 Feb. 1757 Plymouth, Devon, bap. 17 Mar. 1757 St Andrew Church, Plymouth, d. 2 Aug. 1791 Valenciennes, France; married 2nd 12 May 1785 St Michael Church, Bath, KATHARINE GORDON, bap. 22 Apr. 1764 Banff Parish Church, Banffshire, Scotland; d. 1 Aug. 1811 Newstead Abbey, bur. 9 Aug. 1811 St Mary Magdalene Church, Hucknall Torkard, est dau. of George Gordon, 12th Laird of Gight Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (1740-1779, descended from Edward III) and Katherine Innes (c.1742-1782, descended from James IV), and had
A16) GEORGE GORDON, 6th Baron Byron of Rochdale, famous poet 'Lord Byron', b. 22 Jan. 1788 Marylebone, London, bap. 1 Mar. 1788 St Marylebone Parish Church; d. 19 Apr. 1824 Missolonghi, Greece, bur. 16 July 1824 St Mary Magdalene Church, Hucknall Torkard.
7th Baron Byron -
see Generation B16

B15) Capt. GEORGE ANSON BYRON of Bath, b. 30 Nov. 1758 Plymouth, bap. 23 Jan. 1759 St Andrew Church, Plymouth; d. 11 June 1793 Dawlish, Devon, bur. 17 June 1793 St Gregory Church, Dawlish; m. 1780 Jamaica, HENRIETTA CHARLOTTE DALLAS, bap. 16 Dec. 1762 Kingston, Jamaica; d. 26 Feb. 1793 Bath, Somersetshire, bur. 1 Mar. 1793 Bath Abbey, dau. of Robert Dallas of Dallas Castle, Jamaica (1710-1769) and Sarah Elizabeth Cormack, and had
B16) GEORGE ANSON, 7th Baron Byron of Rochdale, b. 8 Mar. 1789 Bath; d. 2 Mar. 1868 Brighton, Sussex, bur. All Saints Church, Kirkby Mallory, Leicestershire; m. 18 Mar. 1816 St George Hanover Square, London, ELIZABETH MARY CHANDOS-POLE, b. Radbourne Hall, Derbyshire, bap. 1 Dec. 1793 St Andrew Church, Radbourne; d. 20 Aug. 1873 The Rectory, Kirkby Mallory, bur. All Saints Church, Kirkby Mallory, dau. of Sacheverell Chandos-Pole of Radbourne Hall (1769-1813, descended from James IV) and Mary Ware (1774-1848, descended from Edward III).

The next post will explore the Edward III descents for Sophia Trevanion, wife of Hon. John Byron (see generation A14 above).

Cheers,                                ------Brad

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