A Romantic Circles Scholarly Resource
1814-1816 - Engagement and Marriage
|1814||September 9||To Byron's surprise, Annabella accepts his second offer of marriage. Lady Melbourne is pleased. The fiancés write daily.|
Byron returns to London to prepare for his wedding,
specifically to arrange his financial affairs in such as
way as to allow a proper marriage settlement.
Augusta returns to Six Mile Bottom.
On an anonymous report, the Morning Chronicle
contradicts the engagement announcement that appeared in
the Durham paper.
Byron suspects Caroline Lamb.
Hanson returns to London after the marriage of his son,
Lord Portsmouth, but travels unexpectedly to Devon.
Byron complains that Hanson has put off their meeting for 5 weeks.
|October 17||Byron asks Hobhouse to be his groomsman.|
|October 27||Byron writes Annabella that he will be travelling to Durham to visit her.|
|October 29||Byron leaves for Durham to visit Annabella, but stops at Six Mile Bottom on the way for a day-long visit, then goes on to Newstead.|
Byron visits Annabella at Seaham.
Though Annabella wishes for a large wedding, Byron insists on a private ceremony.
|November 18||On his way to Six Mile Bottom, Byron arrives in Cambridge where he dines with Hodgson.|
Byron, at Cambridge, casts his vote for Dr. Clarke to the
professorship of anatomy.
Byron and Hobhouse dine with Clarke, then attend a party with Davies and Henry Matthews.
|November 24||Byron and Hobhouse are in London.|
|November 26||At Drury Lane, Byron sees Kean in Macbeth.|
|December 2||At Kinnaird's, Byron and Hobhouse dine privately with Kean.|
Since Hanson has not yet dealt with the financial affairs,
Byron remains unable to set a date for the wedding.
Hanson promises to be available in ten days.
|December ?||When Byron learns that Claughton will not purchase Newstead, he proposes to Annabella that they postpone the wedding. Byron's insistence that they will be poor until Newstead is sold leaves her unconcerned.|
|December 18||Byron writes that he will leave London for Durham on the 24th--if he does not have to be a witness in the lunacy trial of Lord Portsmouth.|
Byron and Hobhouse set out for London in the afternoon.
Byron visits Colonel Leigh and Augusta at Six Mile Bottom; Hobhouse stays at Cambridge.
Byron considers calling off the marriage.
Byron picks Hobhouse up in Cambridge around 3 p. m.; they
travel only so far as Wansford that night.
Hobhouse writes in his journal: "Never was a bridegroom less in haste" (503).
|December 26||Byron and Hobhouse set out for Durham.|
Byron and Hobhouse arrive at Newark.
Byron confesses to Hobhouse both his distaste for marrying before his financial affairs are arranged and his belief--though uncertain of his love for Annabella--that marriage is the surest road to happiness.
The pair read Murray's new edition of Gibbon.
|December 28||Byron and Hobhouse travel around 27 miles, reaching Ferrybridge.|
|December 29||Byron and Hobhouse travel only a few miles past York, to Thirsk.|
|December 30, 8 p.m.||Byron and Hobhouse arrive unannounced at Seaham, their trip from London having taken a week.|
Byron weds Annabella Milbanke at 11 a.m. in the presence of
Hobhouse, her parents, her governess Mrs. Clermont, and two
Lord and Lady Byron spend their honeymoon at the Noel's estate, Halnaby.
Byron begins the Hebrew Melodies.
|January 21 - February 9||
Byron and Annabella return to Seaham.
Hobhouse tries to arrange Byron's financial affairs in London, including arranging the lease for a house in London.
|January 22||Byron, Annabella and the Noels celebrate Byron's 28th birthday.|
|February 2||Leigh Hunt is released from prison.|
|February 10||Byron's financial affairs require him to return to London, but Annabella refuses to be left behind.|
|February 12 - March 28||The pair visit Six Mile Bottom, where Annabella and Augusta meet for the first time.|
Napoleon, having escaped from Elba, lands in France.
Hobhouse plans to travel to France.
The Byrons leave Six Mile Bottom for London.
Once there, they take up the lodging Hobhouse had leased for them from the Duchess of Devonshire at 13 Piccadilly Terrace.
|NO DATE GIVEN||
Byron renews his acquaintance with literary men in town,
regularly visiting the literary group that met at Murray's.
Murray encourages Byron to publish more of his poetry.
|Early April||Augusta arrives at Piccadilly Terrace.|
Murray introduces Byron to Sir Walter Scott.
Byron also meets William Gifford, James Boswell, and William Sotheby.
|April 10 or 11||Lord Wentworth, Lady Byron's uncle, falls ill; and Annabella travels to Seaham to care for him.|
|April 12||At the House of Lords, Byron hears debates on Bonaparte's escape from Elba.|
|April 14 or 15||Lady Milbanke finally arrives at Seaham; and, at Byron's urging, Annabella returns to London.|
Byron's creditors--encouraged by his recent wedding and his
comfortable lodgings in Piccadilly--begin to bring legal
action to gain payment of his debts.
But appearances are deceiving: Lady Byron's marriage settlement from her parents barely pays the rent at Piccadilly Terrace, and the couple's other expenses strain their financial accounts.
Claughton's payment continues to be delayed.
Lord Wentworth dies. In adherence to his will, the
Milbankes change their name to Noel.
The Kirkby Mallory estate does not produce the expected 7,000 a year, and the Noels are placed in significant financial difficulty.
Byron too adds the Noel to his name, becoming George Gordon Noel Byron.
Braham and Nathan publish Byron's Hebrew Melodies
with Nathan's musical settings.
Though expensive at a cost of one guinea, over 10,000 copies sell.
By summer, Murray brings out an edition of Byron's poems, without the musical settings.
At Douglass Kinnaird's request, Byron is appointed a member
of the Management Sub-Committee of the Drury Lane Theatre.
Other members included Lord Essex, George Lamb, Kinnaird, Peter Moore, and Samuel Whitbread, the theatre manager.
At the encouragement of Hobhouse, Byron participates in
voting at the House of Lords.
He supports the Whig attempt to censure the Tory government's part in the Congress of Vienna.
George Ticknor, an American, presents letters of
introduction to Byron who treats him graciously.
Byron receives news of the Battle of Waterloo, expressing regret that Napoleon was in retreat.
|June 21||Byron visits Murray's literary salon, participating in the conversation on the victory at Waterloo.|
|June 25||Augusta leaves London.|
|June 26||Byron introduces Ticknor to Mrs. Siddons.|
|June 27||Ticknor visits the theatre in Byron's private box with the Byrons and the Noels.|
Caroline Lamb leaves England.
Her brother Frederick Ponsonby had been wounded at Waterloo, and Caroline travels to Brussels to help her mother nurse him.
|Early July||The Noels allow the Byrons the use of Seaham; the Noels move to the Kirkby Mallory estate.|
|July 6||Samuel Whitbread, manager of Drury Lane, dies unexpectedly.|
|Late July||Byron learns from Hobhouse the state of Parisian politics.|
Byron tries unsuccessfully to sell the Newstead and
Rochdale estates at auction, but is forced to bring them in
when the bidding fails to meet the reserve.
Byron's financial situation grows desperate, and as the months go on with no relief, Byron becomes moody, angry, and openly hostile to family. He also turns to drink.
As a result of the Wentworth inheritance, Byron signs a new
will stipulating that after the payment of Annabella's
marriage settlement, the remainder of his estate would go
to Augusta and her children.
The new will supercedes that of Sept. 29, 1813. Hobhouse and Hanson are named as Byron's executors.
|August 30 - September 4||Byron visits Augusta at Six Mile Bottom.|
The autumn season of the Drury Lane Theatre opens. Byron
works to recruit good actors and good scripts.
Despite failures with Sotheby, Thomas Moore, S. T. Coleridge, and Walter Scott, Byron is able to secure Charles Maturin's Bertram (which becomes a great success when it is staged in 1816 ).
|NO DATE GIVEN||
Among the actors who perform on the stage during Byron's
tenure on the committee are Kean, Miss Kelley, and Mrs.
He also tries to engage Mrs. Siddons, but she refuses to leave Edinburgh.
|September 14||Byron writes Augusta that he believes Annabella has been searching through his papers and has broken open his writing desk.|
|September 26||Mrs. Mardyn debuts at Drury Lane in Lovers' Vows; she becomes a principal of the company.|
|September||Byron writes Coleridge to secure a new drama.|
|?||Byron writes Coleridge of his admiration of Christabel which he has heard recited by Scott.|
Coleridge sends Byron a copy of Christabel; after
reading it, Byron realizes that he has unconsciously
borrowed from it in Siege of Corinth and offers to
omit the lines.
When the poem is published, Byron retains the lines but offers an explanatory note.
|September 28||Leigh Hunt sends Byron a copy of Feast of the Poets, a gift which elicits comments from Byron on Wordsworth's poetic skill.|
|October 15||Byron sends Hunt a copy of English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. This copy contains the corrections Byron had intended for the suppressed fifth edition.|
|October 31||Byron attends a large dinner with theatrical people, among them Sheridan, Colman, and Harry Harris of Covent Garden.|
|November 2||Annabella completes her fair copy of Siege of Corinth.|
Though Byron's properties are worth over 100,000, he
remains unable to sell.
A bailiff enters Byron's house and refuses to leave until Byron settles his debts.
Having already sold the Newstead furniture to meet debts, Byron arranges to sell his library as well.
Murray offers 1,500 for the library and an additional sum for Byron's remaining copyrights; Byron refuses the money out of pride.
Since maintaining the house at Piccadilly Terrace is expensive, Byron plans to break up the household there and move to cheaper accommodations.
In reaction to tremendous financial problems at home, Byron
begins a short-lived liaison with a minor actress, Susan
Boyce continues to trouble Byron until he leaves for the Continent in March, 1816.
|November 15||Augusta, in response to Annabella's alarming letters, arrives at Piccadilly Terrace to help manage Byron's moods. Byron turns his anger on Augusta.|
|NO DATE GIVEN||Byron completes Parisina.|
At the Kinnaird's, Byron's heavy drinking leads to a
drunken argument with Alexander Rae, an actor, that stops
just short of a fight.
At home, his rages continue.
Annabella believes him temporarily insane.
|Early December||At the request of Augusta, Mrs. Clermont and George Byron move into the house on Piccadilly Terrace to offer support to Annabella during her confinement.|
|December 10, 1 p.m.||Annabella delivers a baby girl, Augusta Ada.|
|NO DATE GIVEN||Murray offers 1000 guineas for the copyrights of Parisina and Siege of Corinth, but Byron refuses money for his writing.|
|December 28||Lady Noel offers an invitation for the Byrons to come to Kirkby Mallory.|
|1816||January 3||Byron proposes to Annabella that they break up the expensive house in London, and that she and Ada move temporarily to her parents' house in Kirkby Mallory.|
Annabella, believing Byron mad, seeks medical advice from
Dr. Baillie who agrees that her absence from London might
assuage the irritable Byron.
She had already asked her doctor Mr. Le Mann his assessment of Byron's condition.
According to Hobhouse, Annabella also drafted "a statement of Lord Byron's conduct, including his sayings and singularities of manner and look."
|January 8||Dr. Baillie visits the house to assess Lord Byron's behavior--Byron is unaware of the reason for Baillie's visit.|
Annabella meets with Hanson.
Explaining her belief that Lord Byron should be physically restrained, Hanson warns Annabella against such a desperate measure.
When Hanson asks if she feels herself in physical danger, Annabella says no--she fears Byron will take his own life.
Annabella begs Hanson to persuade Byron to follow her to Kirkby Mallory as soon as possible.
|January 12||Annabella sends Hanson a pamphlet on hydroencephalus with comments on Byron's behavior.|
|January 15||Having postponed her departure as long as possible in hopes of determining Byron's mental state, Annabella leaves Piccadily Terrace.|
Romantic Circles / Scholarly Resources / The Byron Chronology / 1814-1816