Fall Of The House Of Byron

The scandalous story of the ancestors of poet Lord Byron.

Episodes

EpisodeFirst
Broadcast
Comments
0120200511
0120200511Susannah Harker reads from the story of how, within three generations, the illustrious family of poet Lord Byron disintegrated into adultery, debt, elopement, coercion and murder.

In the early 18th century. the Byron family seat, Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire, was among the most admired aristocratic homes in England. But by the end of the century, the building had become a crumbling, empty ruin. Debt-ridden and friendless, the 5th Lord Byron – known to history as the Wicked Lord – lay on his deathbed, waited on by his one remaining servant and sharing his bed with a thriving population of crickets.

This was the home that a small, bewildered boy of ten from Aberdeen – whom the world would later come to know as Lord Byron, the Romantic poet, soldier, and adventurer – would inherit in 1798. His family, he would come to learn, had in recent decades become infamous for almost unfathomable levels of scandal and impropriety - from elopement, murder, and kidnapping to adultery, coercion, and thrilling near-death experiences at sea.

Just as it had shocked the society of Georgian London, the outlandish and scandalous story of the Byrons – and the myths that began to rise around it – would influence his life and poetry for posterity.

The Fall of the House of Byron follows the fates of Lord Byron’s ancestors over three generations in a drama that begins in rural Nottinghamshire and plays out in the gentlemen’s clubs of Georgian London, amid tempests on far-flung seas, and in the glamour of pre-revolutionary France.

In this first episode, the future poet, ten-year-old George Lord Byron, arrives at Newstead Abbey to claim his inheritance and is immediately enraptured by the ruined building and scandalous stories of his ancestors.

Written by Emily Brand
Abridged and produced by Jane Greenwood
Read by Susannah Harker
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4

The scandalous story of the ancestors of poet Lord Byron.

0220200512
0220200512Susannah Harker reads from the story of how, within three generations, the illustrious family of poet Lord Byron disintegrated into adultery, debt, elopement, coercion and murder.

In the early 18th century. the Byron family seat, Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire, was among the most admired aristocratic homes in England. But by the end of the century, the building had become a crumbling, empty ruin. Debt-ridden and friendless, the 5th Lord Byron – known to history as the Wicked Lord – lay on his deathbed, waited on by his one remaining servant and sharing his bed with a thriving population of crickets.

This was the home that a small, bewildered boy of ten from Aberdeen – whom the world would later come to know as Lord Byron, the Romantic poet, soldier, and adventurer – would inherit in 1798. His family, he would come to learn, had in recent decades become infamous for almost unfathomable levels of scandal and impropriety - from elopement, murder, and kidnapping to adultery, coercion, and thrilling near-death experiences at sea.

Just as it had shocked the society of Georgian London, the outlandish and scandalous story of the Byrons – and the myths that began to rise around it – would influence his life and poetry for posterity.

The Fall of the House of Byron follows the fates of Lord Byron’s ancestors over three generations in a drama that begins in rural Nottinghamshire and plays out in the gentlemen’s clubs of Georgian London, amid tempests on far-flung seas, and in the glamour of pre-revolutionary France.

In this second episode, we hear the story of the scandalous life of William, the Wicked Lord. Inheriting his title and estates at the age of 13, he frittered away the Byron fortune – and his wife’s fortune too - on art, gambling, women and a fleet of 25 ton model warships for the lake at Newstead. He finally cemented his place in history’s catalogue of villains by adding to the titles coward, adulterer and debtor, that of murderer.

Written by Emily Brand
Abridged and produced by Jane Greenwood
Read by Susannah Harker
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4

The scandalous story of the ancestors of poet Lord Byron.

0320200513
0320200513Susannah Harker reads from the story of how, within three generations, the illustrious family of poet Lord Byron disintegrated into adultery, debt, elopement, coercion and murder.

In 1798, a small, bewildered boy of ten from Aberdeen – whom the world would later come to know as Lord Byron, the Romantic poet, soldier, and adventurer – first laid eyes on Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire, the Byron family seat he had just inherited. His family, he would come to learn, had in recent decades become infamous for almost unfathomable levels of scandal and impropriety, from elopement, murder, and kidnapping to adultery, coercion, and thrilling near-death experiences at sea. Just as it had shocked the society of Georgian London, the outlandish and scandalous story of the Byrons – and the myths that began to rise around it – would influence his life and poetry for posterity.

In this third episode,we hear the story of Lord Byron’s great aunt Isabella whose glittering life as Countess of Carlisle and chatelaine of Castle Howard disintegrated into adultery, elopement, scandal and debt.

A clever and attractive woman, at 21 Isabella married the fantastically wealthy 48 year-old Henry, Earl of Carlisle who was already a grandfather. Despite rumours of Isabella’s flirtations, it was a happy marriage, but after Henry’s death, Isabella’s turbulent love life and poor judgement led her into a life of spiralling debt and infamy in Britain, France and Italy.

Written by Emily Brand
Abridged and produced by Jane Greenwood
Read by Susannah Harker
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4

The scandalous story of the ancestors of poet Lord Byron.

0420200514
0420200514Susannah Harker reads from the story of how, within three generations, the illustrious family of poet Lord Byron disintegrated into adultery, debt, elopement, coercion and murder.

In 1798 a small, bewildered boy of ten from Aberdeen – whom the world would later come to know as Lord Byron, the Romantic poet, soldier, and adventurer – first laid eyes on Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire, the Byron family seat he had just inherited. His family, he would come to learn, had in recent decades become infamous for almost unfathomable levels of scandal and impropriety, from elopement, murder, and kidnapping to adultery, coercion, and thrilling near-death experiences at sea. Just as it had shocked the society of Georgian London, the outlandish and scandalous story of the Byrons – and the myths that began to rise around it – would influence his life and poetry for posterity.

In this fourth episode, we hear of the adventurous life of the poet’s grandfather Admiral John Byron who survived shipwreck, fever, scurvy and military disaster to become one of the 18th century’s most celebrated naval officers.

Despite the weakness for the opposite sex which seemed to run in the Byron blood, John was by far the most illustrious of his generation and his name lives on around the world to this day - a testament to his voyages of discovery and military exploits.

Captain Cook paid tribute to his predecessor by naming Australia’s easternmost point Cape Byron, known now as Byron Bay. There is Byron Island, off the Chilean coast, Byron Bay in Newfoundland, Byron Heights in the Falkland Islands, and the former Byron’s Island in what is now the Gilbert Islands in the Pacific.

Written by Emily Brand
Abridged and produced by Jane Greenwood
Read by Susannah Harker
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4

The scandalous story of the ancestors of poet Lord Byron.

0520200515Susannah Harker reads from the story of how, within three generations, the illustrious family of the poet Lord Byron disintegrated into adultery, debt, elopement, coercion and murder.

In 1798 a small, bewildered boy of ten from Aberdeen – whom the world would later come to know as Lord Byron, the Romantic poet, soldier, and adventurer – first laid eyes on Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire, the Byron family seat he had just inherited. His family, he would come to learn, had in recent decades become infamous for almost unfathomable levels of scandal and impropriety, from elopement, murder, and kidnapping to adultery, coercion, and thrilling near-death experiences at sea. Just as it had shocked the society of Georgian London, the outlandish and scandalous story of the Byrons – and the myths that began to rise around it – would influence his life and poetry for posterity.

In this final episode, we learn of the scandalous life of the poet’s father, mad Jack, who dragged the family name to a new low with his womanising, gambling, drinking and cruelty.

At 22, he returned from undistinguished service in the army to embrace the life of a rakish young London bachelor. And he was promptly swept up in an affair that would alter the course of his life.

The irresistible pull of his attraction to Amelia, Lady Carmarthen, could not be stifled by the inconvenient existence of her husband, or even her three infant children. Having worked his way through Amelia’s fortune and driven her to an early death, he looked for another wealthy bride. His next unfortunate victim was the young Scottish heiress Catherine Gordon who was to become the mother of the poet Lord Byron.

Written by Emily Brand
Abridged and produced by Jane Greenwood
Read by Susannah Harker
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4

The scandalous story of the ancestors of the poet Lord Byron.

The scandalous story of the ancestors of poet Lord Byron.

0520200515The scandalous story of the ancestors of the poet Lord Byron.