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The Byron Chronology

Year

Date

Chronology Entry

1801 January 25 John Hanson interviews Dr. Joseph Drury, the headmaster of Harrow, "a public school with 250 boys at it" (41), about allowing Byron to enter after the Easter holiday.
April At the urging of Hanson, Byron enters Harrow, which is about 11 miles northwest of town. His first tutor is Henry Drury, the headmaster's son.

His first friends are Edward Noel Long, Robert Peel, Lord Delawarr, and William Harness.

Byron defends the younger boys against bullies.

End of June Dr. Drury places Byron in the fourth form.
Summer Catherine Gordon Byron (CGB) gives up her lodgings at Sloane Terrace and takes rooms at Mrs. Massingberd's, 16 Piccadilly in London.

Byron divides his time between his mother and the Hansons at Earl's Court.

End of Summer Byron accompanies CGB to Cheltenham.

There he visits the Malvern Hills, which remind him of the Scottish Highlands.

August 4 Drs. Baillie and Laurie visit Byron at his mother's lodgings to fit his shoe/brace.
September Byron returns to London, and CGB travels on to Brighton.

Due to the efforts of Hanson, Byron receives a yearly 500 Court of Chancery grant for his education; but as a result, CGB's Civil List pension is reduced to 200.

Dr. Laurie's bill alone comes to 150 a year.

His mother gives up the entire sum of the Chancery Court payments to her son, and applies for an allowance for herself of 200. This is not granted, and her pension from the Civil List is reduced to 200 when the grant of 500 is made to Byron (74, 89).

October 18 After the death of her grandmother, Lady Holderness, CGB writes Augusta Byron a brief condolence letter.
Christmas Byron spends Christmas holiday with mother at Half Moon Street, but frequently visits the Hansons at Earl's Court.

Augusta and Byron may have met during this vacation.

1802 February Byron and Hargreaves Hanson return to Harrow.
End of Summer Byron stays at Cheltenham with his mother.
September 21 Byron possibly stays with the Hansons on his way back to Harrow.
Christmas Holidays Byron visits his mother in Bath.

Lady Riddel gives a masquerade, and Byron--dressed as a Turkish boy--accompanies his mother.

1803 January 11 Henry Edward, the nineteenth Baron Grey de Ruthyn, leases Newstead for the years of Byron's minority at a yearly cost of 50.

Lord Grey extends an open invitation for Byron to visit his ancestral estate.

January 19 Byron enjoys life in Bath so much that he refuses to return to Harrow unless assigned a new tutor.
February Byron returns to Harrow with Mr. Evans as his new tutor; Byron lives in Evans's house.

Byron becomes friends with the Earl of Clare, the Duke of Dorset, and John Wingfield.

May Sheldrake supposedly making a special shoe for Byron's lame foot.
May 1 Byron quarrels with Henry Drury.
July 21 CGB moves into her lodgings at Burgage Manor in Southwell, a village about 12 miles from Nottingham.
July 26 Byron leaves Harrow for Southwell.
August 2 - October 9 After a few days at Southwell, Byron is soon bored and rides to Newstead where he stays at the gate-house with Owen Mealey, the steward.

Byron falls in love with his cousin, Mary Chaworth of Annesley Hall.

September 15 Byron is so in love that he refuses to leave for the fall term at Harrow.
October 10 - November Though Byron returns to Southwell, he quickly finds his way back to Newstead.

He is often at Annesley to pine over Chaworth, until he hears overhears her mocking his lameness.

November 29 - January Byron stays with Lord Grey at Newstead.

At some point before Byron's birthday, Lord Grey makes some sort of sexual advance that shocks the young Byron and leads to an abrupt and decisive break between the two.

1804 January Soon after his sixteenth birthday, Byron returns to Harrow.

Unfortunately, CGB becomes enamoured with Lord Grey, and over the next several months she insists on, but does not effect, a reconciliation.

? Augusta writes Hanson to inquire about her brother.

She then writes Byron sometime before March 22. In her letter, she confides her engagement to George Leigh.

March 22 Byron begins his holiday at Burgage Manor.

He responds warmly to Augusta's epistolary gesture of friendship.

April 9 CGB gives a party for "Southwell belles", at which Byron intends to "fall violently in love".

Byron meets Elizabeth Pigot who lived across the green from Burgage Manor and begins a friendship with her and her brother.

April Byron returns to Harrow.
July 5 Byron performs well at the Harrow Speech Day, declaiming the role of Latinus from Virgil's Aeneid.
July 28 CGB meets Byron in London and travels with him to Southwell.

Though often bored, his friendships with the Pigots make Southwell life tolerable.

Byron's mother writes to Hanson that he was "truly amiable" in the summer of 1804 (1.75).

August 8 Byron and his mother in an amicable moment "besp[ea]k" a play (86), but for the most part son and mother are at emotional odds.
August Elizabeth Pigot leaves Southwell for an extended absence, and Byron is desolated.

He soon engages in theatricals organized by Julia Leacroft, a Southwell girl, and attends a play with her.

Byron's interest in Leacroft leads her family to believe he intends marriage; he narrowly escapes both entrapment and a duel with her brother.

September Byron returns to Harrow again, escaping from his quarrels with CGB.
October Gen. Charles Leigh objects to his son's marriage to Augusta based on the smallness of her income, 350 a year left her by her grandmother Lady Holdernesse.
October 25, November 2, November 11 Byron writes Augusta to commiserate over their respective troubles: his quarrels with his CGB and her troubles with the Leighs.
November/Early December Augusta, Byron and the Hansons conspire to keep Byron in town over the Christmas holdidays.

Knowing Lord Carlisle's dislike of CGB, Augusta hopes that keeping Byron in town would allow Lord Carlisle to see more of Byron and find the young Lord more congenial.

Early December Dr. Drury recommends that Byron be placed with a private tutor until entering the university.

In particular, Drury suggests that Byron not return to Harrow.

December 5 - January 29 Christmas holidays begins, and Byron spends his vacation with the Hansons.

Over the holidays, Byron sees the actor Young Roscious several times at hazard to his life.

Concerned that not returning to Harrow will look like an expulsion, Byron asks to return until June. Dr. Drury though retiring at Easter, agrees.


Year

Date

Chronology Entry

1805 January 26 To the delight of Augusta, Byron dines with Lord Carlisle.
February Byron returns to Harrow.
March Rev. Joseph Drury, headmaster of Harrow since 1784, retires.

Byron, out of loyalty, supports the candidacy of brother Mark Drury.

When Drury loses to Dr. Butler, Byron lampoons Butler as Pomposus in a satire "On a change of Masters at a Great Public School" and in "Childish Recollections." (1.64).

April 3 Byron leaves Harrow to visit Hanson for four days.
April 7 Byron travels on to Southwell, where his quarrels with his mother renew.
May 1 Byron leaves Southwell for London, where he spends a week before returning to Harrow.
May 8 The summer term opens at Harrow.

Byron leads a rebellion against the new headmaster, Dr. Butler.

After Byron leaves Harrow, he becomes friendly with Butler and characteristically repents his opposition to the new headmaster

May 10 Lord Grenville moved in the House of Lords for a committes of the whole to consider a petition to relieve the civil, naval, and military disabilities of the Catholics.

Byron, interested in becoming a Parliamentary orator, apparently attended the session.

The motion was defeated by 178 to 49 on May 14; and a similar motion by Fox in the commons went down by 336 to 126 on the 15th. (1.67).

June 6 Byron participates in Speech Day at Harrow, reciting the dramatic speech of Zanga over the body of Alonzo from Young's tragedy The Revenge, which was then being played by Kemble to applauding audiences.

Byron may have seen the play while he was in London.

Byron wishes Augusta to come, but he waits too long before inviting her.

Saturday, June 29 Byron possibly visits the Hansons on his way to Cambridge.
July 1 Byron visits Cambridge to enter himself at Trinity College.
July 4 Byron participates in Speech day at Harrow.

Byron proclaims a passionate speech from King Lear, but his name is left off of Speech Day account sheet. Augusta is unable to attend.

July 31 Summer Holidays commence at Harrow.
August 2 Byron plays in cricket match with Eton, where according to his letter to Augusta, he "got 11 notches in the 1st Innings and 7 the 2d.. which was more than any of our side, except Brockman and Ipswich could contrive to hit" (1.71).

After dinner and drinking, Byron visits Haymarket Theatre where members of both teams end up in the same box and are so loud that they almost begin a brawl with the other playgoers who cannot hear the drama.

August 3 Byron sets off for Southwell at 8 in the evening.
August 4 Byron arrives at Southwell, and his quarrels with CGB recommence.
End of August Mary Chaworth marries John Musters.
September 23 Byron flees Southwell for Hanson's in London, arriving the next day.
October 24 Byron takes up residence at Trinity College, Cambridge, at the start of the autumn term. Friendships with E. N. Long and John Edleston.
December 18/19? Byron begins his Christmas vacation, which he spends at Massingbred's in London.
December 27 Byron writes Augusta that he is in dire need of money, and asking her to act as his collateral guarantor in an arrangement with London money-lenders.
1806 January Byron borrows from King, a usuror, at ruinous interest; Mrs. Massingbred and her daughter act as joint guarantors of his loan since Byron was still in his minority.
February The new Cambridge term begins on Feb. 5, but Byron chooses to remain in London.

He takes fencing lessons from Henry Angelo and boxing from Gentleman Jackson.

Byron engages in dissipations.

February 26 Byron finally receives his loan from the money-lenders and pays his Harrow and some Cambridge debts.
February 28 Augusta sees Byron at a play, and she writes of her frustration that he is not at school.
March 2 Thrown from his horse, Byron is unconscious for a time, but recovers.

Byron writes Hanson that he will not return to Cambridge for the Winter Term since he "ha[s] been extremely unwell" (90).

March 10 Byron, having spent his loan, appeals to Hanson for 500 to cover his debts.
April Byron returns to Trinity, having been warned by Hanson that the Court of Chancery might cut off his allowance if he does not return to school.
July At Southwell, Byron and CGB quarrel over his extravagances at Cambridge and London and his arrangements with the money-lenders.

Byron prepares a volume of poems, having arranged to print them with John Ridge of Newark.

August 7 After a quarrel with his mother, Byron--aided by the Pigots--leaves for London in the middle of the night.
August 8 CGB arrives at Byron's rooms with the Massingbreds, intending to discover the extent of her son's obligations.
August 10 Byron has the printer deliver to Elizabeth Pigot a copy of one of his poems (or the whole volume?) from his volume, Fugitive Pieces, currently at the printer Ridge's.

Byron suspends printing while he visits Long, intending to re-order the poems.

August [20]? Byron visits E. N. Long on the Channel coast at Little Hampton, near Worthing.

Byron takes rooms at the Dolphin Inn.

The friends pass their days in shooting pistols, playing cricket, and swimming.

September Byron returns to Southwell.

He revises his poems and engages in amateur theatricals where he plays the roles of Penruddock in Cumberland's Wheel of Fortune and Tristram Fickle in Allingham's Weathercock.

Byron visits Harrogate with John Pigot.

October Though reluctant to believe his servant Frank (Francis Boyle) dishonest, Byron has his Rooms at Trinity College inventoried.

Frank is eventually transported for stealing from his master.

November Fugitive Pieces privately printed without Byron's name on the title-page. Many of Byron's Southwell friends were shocked by some passages in "To Mary." According to Rev. John Becher, the lines were "too warmly drawn."
November 26 As a result of Becher's criticism, Byron calls in and destroys most of the volumes of Fugitive Pieces.

Only four (among them Becher's copy) survive.

December Byron revises Fugitive Pieces.

According to Leslie Marchand,

"The general effect of [Byron's] excisions and prunings was to make the second volume [Poems on Various Occasions] more sedate and at the same time less distinguishable from any other juvenile collection of sentimental and imitative verse. . . . Sincere as may have been his tributes. . ., the artificiality of his style did not give Byron an opportunity to display his talents for realism, incisiveness, or humor." (B: a Biography 122-123)

In an attempt to force Byron to return to the university, Hanson's partner--Birch--withholds Byron's Chancery allowance.


Year

Date

Chronology Entry

1807 Early January Poems on Various Occasions is privately printed and ready for distribution. S. and J. Ridge produce about one hundred copies.
January 6 At Dorant's Hotel in London, Byron attempts to raise money.
January 16 Byron arranges through Mrs. Massingbred to receive 3000 from the money-lenders. The agreement stated that Byron would repay 5000 within six months of reaching his majority. Mr. Dorant, the hotel manager, act as Byron's security.
Around February 4 Byron barely avoids a duel with the brother of Julia Leacroft, whom Byron courted until the family of the girl took it too seriously.

Hobhouse said later that they "winked at an intercourse between him and [one] of the daughters in hopes of entangling him in an unequal marriage (104).

April Byron, though only 5'8", weighs around 202 pounds, placing a tremendous stress on his weak leg.

He begins a regimen of severe dieting.

June Byron publishes Hours of Idleness, a volume for the public.

According to Marchand, the volume was "imitative, sentimental, and mawkish enough to invide the ridicule of the reviewers" (B:B 129).

June 27 Byron finally returns to Cambridge, but only for a brief visit.

He bids farewell to John Edleston, but becomes better acquainted with John Cam Hobhouse and Charles Skinner Matthews.

July 6 Byron establishes himself at Gordon's Hotel, London.

He oversees the distribution of his volume both to booksellers and to reviewers.

August 17 Col. George Leigh--son of General Charles Leigh and Frances Byron (sister of John Byron, Augusta's and Byron's father)--finally marries his cousin Augusta after a long delay caused by the objections of his family.
August 20 Byron returns to Cambridge.
October The autumn term begins at Cambridge. Reverend George Frederick Tavell becomes Byron's new tutor. Friendships develop with Hobhouse and Francis Hodgson; and Byron meets Scrope Berdmore Davies. A caustic review of Hours appears in the Satirist.
October 26 Byron's "new" poem, a satire, reaches 380 lines.
November 11 At Ridge's urging, Byron agrees to a new edition of Hours of Idleness, but suppresses the original preface.
December 7 Byron receives a complimentary letter from the Earl of Carlisle, and Byron chooses to dedicate the second edition of Hours to the Earl.
December 22 Byron writes to a London bookseller, Crosby, to offer a joint publication between himself and Hobhouse.

Both had written satires, Hobhouse's in imitation of Juvenal, Byron's a "Dunciad" on all living authors.

Christmas Still in financial straits, Byron leaves Cambridge for good, returning only to visit friends.
1808 January Byron returns to Dorant's Hotel, Albemarle Steet, London, where he lives extravagantly.

The Monthly Mirror criticizes Hours as the exercises of school-boy.

Robert Charles Dallas writes a flattering letter to the young author which begins their friendship.

February Byron visits Harrow several times and reconciles with Dr. Butler.

As a result, on Feb. 11, he instructs Ridge to remove the satire, "Childish Recollections," from Hours.

February 27 A scathing review of Hours of Idleness appears in the Edinburgh Review.

Byron writes Hobhouse,

"As an Author, I am cut to Atoms by the E Review, it is just out, and has completely demolished my little fabric of fame." (159)

Byron's dissipations in London continue.

March 28 The second edition of Hours of Idleness appears with some additions and deletions as Poems, Original and Translated.

After the Edinburgh Review's criticism, Byron is unwilling to distribute the volume to any but his close friends.

April Byron arranges a boxing match between Tom Belcher and Dan Dogherty.
May In the Satirist, Hewson Clarke reprints quotations from reviews of Hours of Idleness.
May 10 Byron attends a boxing match between the English champion John Gully and Bob Gregson.
June As he had in the May number, Hewson Clarke continues his ridicule of Byron's volume, this time offering his own verses,"Lord B--n to his Bear."
June 16 Byron leaves to spend the summer at Brighton. Hobhouse and Davies join him there.
June 24 Lord Grey's lease on Newstead Abbey expires.
July 4 Cambridge grants Byron his M. A. While at Cambridge, Byron first sees Clarke's verses.

Byron, already ill, becomes depressed.

July After receiving his M. A., Byron visits Harrow for another Speech Day, then returns to Brighton with Hobhouse and Davies.
August Hewson Clarke continues his baiting of Byron with a review of Poems, Original and Translated, which he terms a "pretty little collection of namby-pamby verses" (B:B 155).
September Byron takes up residence at Newstead and keeps CGB away by constantly making repairs. Hobhouse arrives at Newstead.
October 12 Byron and Hobhouse attend the Infirmary Ball in Nottingham.
October - November Byron works on his satire.
November Mary Chaworth-Musters hosts Byron and Hobhouse for dinner at Annesley Hall.

Byron is affected by sentiment at the sight of her two-year-old daughter.

November 10 Boatswain, Byron's favorite dog, dies.
End of November Hobhouse returns to town, and Byron continues his satire in the isolation of the Abbey.
1809 January 17 Byron writes to Hanson that he has fathered a child by one of the maids at Newstead.

He provides a generous annuity both for Lucy and her child.

January 19 Byron takes lodgings at Reddish's Hotel on St. James Street.
January/February To enter the House of Lords, Byron had to present proof of his geneology, including affidavits proving the marriage of his grandfather in a private chapel.

As a near relation, the Earl of Carlyle could have saved him the trouble by introducing him before the House.

Lord Carlisle, however, snubs Byron, sending him instructions on how to apply to the House but making no offer of an introduction.

As a result, Byron adds several lines critical of Lord Carlisle to his satire.

Despite his financial difficulties, Byron refuses to sell Newstead, preferring to continue his attempts to sell Rochdale.

January 22 Byron's twenty-first birthday.
January 25 Byron titles his satire English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (EBSR). Dallas takes EBSR to his own publisher, but Longman declines; instead, James Cawthorn accepts the satire.
February 4 Byron alters his will to allow his sister's children to inherit his property.
March 1 Cawthorn prints 1000 copies of EBSR.
March Byron's friend, Lord Falkland, dies in a duel, leaving his widow and children penniless.

Byron eventually leaves 500 in a teacup to help her with expenses.

March 13 Byron finally takes his seat at the House of Lords, but is humiliated by the manner in which he is announced.
March 18 Byron forwards a copy of EBSR, published anonymously, to William Harness.

Byron continues his plans to go abroad, collecting portraits of his favorite schoolfriends.

Byron learns of the drowning of Edward Noel Long.

Long had been traveling with his regiment to Lisbon when his ship collided with another.

April Byron tries to raise money for his trip to the Continent.
April 4 [?] - 24 [?] Byron and friends at Newstead Abbey for a farewell before Byron leaves for the Continent.

Byron, Hobhouse, Matthews, Wedderburn Webster, and Scrope Davies engage in nights of debauchery and practical jokes.

April 17 Dallas writes that EBSR is close to selling out.

Though the volume was published anonymously, Dallas reveals that Byron is generally known to be the author.

April 25 Byron arrives at Batt's Hotel, Jermyn Street, St. James, London.

He continues his attempts to procure money for his travels.

May 6 Byron books passage to depart from Falmouth.
May 10 The second, revised edition of EBSR is ready for the press.
May/June Byron attends two more Harrow Speech Days.
June 20 Byron leaves London for Falmouth.
June 22 Byron writes to his mother from Falmouth:"The Continent is in a fine state! an Insurrection has broken out at Paris, and the Austrians are beating Buonaparte, the Tyrolese have risen." (206).
July 2 Byron and Hobhouse sail on the Lisbon packet, Princess Elizabeth.

Accompanying the pair are Byron's servants, his valet William Fletcher, old Joe Murray, Robert Rushton, and Friese, a German servant whom Dr. Butler had recommended.

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November 2000

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