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Publisher's Summary

At the beginning of the 18th century, Newstead Abbey was one of the most prosperous and fashionable aristocratic homes in England. It was the abode of William the 4th Baron Byron - a popular and successful composer and artist - and his teenage wife, Frances. But only a few decades later, at the end of the century, the building had become a crumbling and ill-cared-for ruin. 

The 4th Baron and most of his relatives had died, leaving the incumbent owner, William the 5th Baron Byron (the 'Wicked Lord'), lying on his deathbed alongside his last remaining servant and amidst a thriving population of crickets.  

This was the home that a small, pudgy boy of 10 from Aberdeen - who 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 known for almost unfathomable levels of scandal and impropriety, from elopement, murder and kidnapping to adultery, coercion and thrilling near-death naval experiences. Just as it had shocked the society of Georgian London, the story of the Byrons and the folklore of their outlandish scandal, would his 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 gentlemans' clubs of Georgian London, amid tempests on far-flung seas and in the glamour of pre-revolutionary France. A compelling story of a prominent and controversial characters, it is a sumptuous family portrait and an electrifying work of social history. 

©2020 Emily Brand (P)2020 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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  • papapownall
  • 23-04-2020

History of Byron family before the time of poet

I was interested in this book because I wanted to find out more about the background to the life of Lord Byron the great romantic poet. This is the story of his ancestors rather than the man himself and, fascinating though this is, it does not really say much about the 6th Lord Byron who is famous the world over. What we get instead is a detailed portrait of the previous Lord Byron's and his father John "Mad Jack" Bryon who seems to be quite a rum 'un in his own right. We learn of the decline in the family fortune through the course of the 18th century and the demise of the family seat Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire. We hear stories of duels and exploration and scandal and wars which are interesting in their own right. The Lord Byron that we all know and love was born and raised in Aberdeen and only came to inherit the family seat and title as a result of the family running out of other natural hiers, so engaging as this book is, it does not really tell you much about the background to our favourite romantic poet. Those wanting to find out more about Lord Byron himself would be better advised to check out Fiona MacCarthy's Byron: Life and Legend.

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  • gill
  • 28-03-2021

Interesting

I enjoyed this though expecting more about the Poet Byron.
An interesting story through a family with, probably too many ‘flawed characters’?
What would our present day press make of their lifestyles!

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