Newstead Abbey

Micheal Rivers

newstead abbey 2

Newstead Abbey is located in Nottingham, England. Its notoriety comes from being the former home of Lord Byron, famous poet and former lover of Mary Shelly the author of Frankenstein. The priory was built in 1170 and remained in the Byron family for three hundred years. Originally built as a priory for the Canons of the Order of St Augustine it was converted into a country home by the Byron family.

Lord Byron was a romantic. He was noted as being handsome and eccentric. He was said to be a colorful character and born with a club foot; he still proved to be a great enticement to the ladies. Many may find it odd that he was contemptuous of women considering the number of affairs he engaged in. Notorious for his many love affairs, Lord Byron did marry, but his marriage to Anne Milbanke was less than a life of harmony ending in disaster.

His affairs included women of importance to society, women such as Lady Caroline Lamb, the wife of Viscount Melbourne, and Claire Clairmont the sister- in- law of Percy Shelley.

newstead byron

It was the year 1817 when Lord Byron decided to move to Venice and sold Newstead Abbey a year later for the sum of 95,000 pounds. It would have cost far greater than that sum to repair the Abbey due to the state of disrepair it had fallen to by one of his ancestors. There seemed to be a curse on the Abbey for each time the Abbey passed to a new owner they had ill luck.

Newstead Abbey has become more infamous for its spectral visitors now than its former owners. Among paranormal enthusiast The Black Friar is a ghostly figure worthy of attention. There is almost nothing but conjecture concerning its origin. According to legend the curse upon the Byron family produced the Black Friar when Henry VIII broke with the Roman Catholic Church. The Friar appears to the head of the Byron household before a disastrous event in the family. Lord Byron reported seeing the specter before his marriage to Anne Milbanke. The marriage lasted only one year.

The ghost of Sophia Hyette is reported to roam the gardens of Newstead Abbey. She was infatuated with Lord Byron and his poetry. Her home was close to the Abbey and in 1818 after Thomas Wildman had purchased the home, she was allowed to roam the gardens at her leisure. She is seen today wearing a white dress and as in life she is very shy. The lady in white will assuredly hide when she believes she is being watched.

The Rose Lady of Newstead Abbey can be seen descending the formal stairs within the Abbey. She brings with her the scent of roses before she is seen and the scent lingers well after she has gone. The sighting of the Rose Lady varies. Some have reported to have smelled lavender perfume. Some report she has never been seen, only leaving the scent of her perfume. Others feel they have caught a glimpse of her. Her identity has never been known.

Another interesting spirit said to haunt Newstead Abbey is that of a small boy seen sitting beneath his portrait reading.

My favorite of all the reported specters is the ghost of Lord Byron’s companion. Boatswain was a large Newfoundland dog buried at Newstead. Lord Byron had requested to be buried next to his companion in his will. Due to his behavior in life Lord Byron was refused burial at Westminster where his colleagues were laid to rest. Lord Byron was buried in the churchyard of St. Mary Magdalene Church in Hucknall Torkard, Nottinghamshire, England. The dog has been seen by many on the grounds of Newstead.

It is interesting to note I could find nothing on Lord Byron himself haunting Newstead Abbey. It would seem his ghost has not graced the home with his presence. The only reference I located deemed to have little or no validity as a reported sighting should have had.

Newstead is a gathering place for Rooks. They can be seen seven days a week at the old priory. The local legend believes these Rooks to be the souls of the monks once inhabiting Newstead. The Rooks travel back and forth six days of the week foraging for food and never on Sunday according to the caretakers of Newstead.

Lord Byron’s home has fallen under the same spell as hundreds of historical homes and buildings left for the public to consume. We would love to know all the stories are true and yet, legend is just that, legend. We have to find proof of how much is actually true and not conjecture or stories to titillate the senses. I would love for all of the stories to be fact. I feel some of the stories are true indeed. The romance of the stories begins to fall short for me when some exaggerate what has actually been seen or experienced. Lord Byron and his ancestors will always be the fact behind the legend.

Lord Byron was a firm believer in ghosts. He was a child of the Gothic period and this made his work ever more enticing to read for us today. Newstead Abbey is worthy of being saved for all to see. Regardless of who has ever lived within its walls it retains a beauty unlike anything modern builders can imagine with their sanitized walls of white and glass. I feel Newstead Abbey is not just a mark in history. It is a work of art that should be cherished. Too many rare buildings have been razed in the name of progress. Our future demands we make room for the lessons of our past.

Micheal Rivers

Newstead Abbey is located in Nottingham, England. Its notoriety comes from being the former home of Lord Byron, famous poet and former lover of Mary Shelly the author of Frankenstein. The priory was built in 1170 and remained in the Byron family for three hundred years. Originally built as a priory for the Canons of the Order of St Augustine it was converted into a country home by the Byron family.

Lord Byron was a romantic. He was noted as being handsome and eccentric. He was said to be a colorful character and born with a club foot; he still proved to be a great enticement to the ladies. Many may find it odd that he was contemptuous of women considering the number of affairs he engaged in. Notorious for his many love affairs, Lord Byron did marry, but his marriage to Anne Milbanke was less than a life of harmony ending in disaster.

His affairs included women of importance to society, women such as Lady Caroline Lamb, the wife of Viscount Melbourne, and Claire Clairmont the sister- in- law of Percy Shelley.

It was the year 1817 when Lord Byron decided to move to Venice and sold Newstead Abbey a year later for the sum of 95,000 pounds. It would have cost far greater than that sum to repair the Abbey due to the state of disrepair it had fallen to by one of his ancestors. There seemed to be a curse on the Abbey for each time the Abbey passed to a new owner they had ill luck.

Newstead Abbey has become more infamous for its spectral visitors now than its former owners. Among paranormal enthusiast The Black Friar is a ghostly figure worthy of attention. There is almost nothing but conjecture concerning its origin. According to legend the curse upon the Byron family produced the Black Friar when Henry VIII broke with the Roman Catholic Church. The Friar appears to the head of the Byron household before a disastrous event in the family. Lord Byron reported seeing the specter before his marriage to Anne Milbanke. The marriage lasted only one year.

The ghost of Sophia Hyette is reported to roam the gardens of Newstead Abbey. She was infatuated with Lord Byron and his poetry. Her home was close to the Abbey and in 1818 after Thomas Wildman had purchased the home, she was allowed to roam the gardens at her leisure. She is seen today wearing a white dress and as in life she is very shy. The lady in white will assuredly hide when she believes she is being watched.

The Rose Lady of Newstead Abbey can be seen descending the formal stairs within the Abbey. She brings with her the scent of roses before she is seen and the scent lingers well after she has gone. The sighting of the Rose Lady varies. Some have reported to have smelled lavender perfume. Some report she has never been seen, only leaving the scent of her perfume. Others feel they have caught a glimpse of her. Her identity has never been known.

Another interesting spirit said to haunt Newstead Abbey is that of a small boy seen sitting beneath his portrait reading.

My favorite of all the reported specters is the ghost of Lord Byron’s companion. Boatswain was a large Newfoundland dog buried at Newstead. Lord Byron had requested to be buried next to his companion in his will. Due to his behavior in life Lord Byron was refused burial at Westminster where his colleagues were laid to rest. Lord Byron was buried in the churchyard of St. Mary Magdalene Church in Hucknall Torkard, Nottinghamshire, England. The dog has been seen by many on the grounds of Newstead.

It is interesting to note I could find nothing on Lord Byron himself haunting Newstead Abbey. It would seem his ghost has not graced the home with his presence. The only reference I located deemed to have little or no validity as a reported sighting should have had.

Newstead is a gathering place for Rooks. They can be seen seven days a week at the old priory. The local legend believes these Rooks to be the souls of the monks once inhabiting Newstead. The Rooks travel back and forth six days of the week foraging for food and never on Sunday according to the caretakers of Newstead.

Lord Byron’s home has fallen under the same spell as hundreds of historical homes and buildings left for the public to consume. We would love to know all the stories are true and yet, legend is just that, legend. We have to find proof of how much is actually true and not conjecture or stories to titillate the senses. I would love for all of the stories to be fact. I feel some of the stories are true indeed. The romance of the stories begins to fall short for me when some exaggerate what has actually been seen or experienced. Lord Byron and his ancestors will always be the fact behind the legend.

Lord Byron was a firm believer in ghosts. He was a child of the Gothic period and this made his work ever more enticing to read for us today. Newstead Abbey is worthy of being saved for all to see. Regardless of who has ever lived within its walls it retains a beauty unlike anything modern builders can imagine with their sanitized walls of white and glass. I feel Newstead Abbey is not just a mark in history. It is a work of art that should be cherished. Too many rare buildings have been razed in the name of progress. Our future demands we make room for the lessons of our past.

byron tombstone

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