Monday, May 21, 2012

My New English Favorite Place...Newstead Abbey, Home of Lord Byron

I have seen a lot of places in England but have fallen in love with Newstead Abbey which was the home of Lord Byron, the famous poet and infamous rake!!

Those of you who are familiar with Lord Byron know he wrote beautiful poetry but was as well known for his amorous antics as he was for his poetry.  He pretty much jumped on anything that moved!

He inherited his title and this beautiful home when he was 10 years old and it was his favorite home.  It is my favorite too.

Beautifully set in the woods near Nottingham, it was originally a religious abbey built in the 11th century but given away during the dissolution of the monasteries.  Part ruin and part home, it is a gorgeous blend in a beautiful, serene setting.  I loved this place where the peacocks freely roam and the gardens are spectacular.

We approached Newstead via a private road.  It ran past this beautiful waterfall from which I shot the above picture as well.

We had a 12:10 tour scheduled for the house so toured the gardens while we waited. 

We also toured around the exterior of the house for awhile.

This is a view of the stables!

So now let's go in.

Byron's prior ancestor had blown through all the money by the time Byron inherited the title so he only occupied a few of the rooms.  Subsequent owners added many of the furnishings including the aide to the Duke of Wellington who purchased the house from Byron in the 1820's.

This is the most elegant  and largest of the rooms which Byron used to practice sports since it was empty during his residence.  Most prominent in the center of the room is this painting of our bad boy, Byron, dressed in his usual attire.  He was a handsome rogue.

This piano was played by the composer Liszt when he visited the abbey.

This room reflects the early architecture of the abbey.  The skins on the floor were the animals the subsequent owner shot while traveling with Dr. David Livingston in Africa!!

Byron used the smaller, more intimate rooms of the abbey including this small parlor and anteroom.  The woodwork was exquisite.

Okay, so my photography isn't the best but I was operating without a flash!

Here is the area of the abbey that the monks used as a mortuary.  However, the ever irreverent Byron used it as a swimming pool!!  It must have been freezing!

And here is the ancient exit from the abbey into the gardens.

And here is the chapel located nearby.

So after we had taken the tour I hung back and asked the tour lady why we had not seen Byron's bedroom.  She said it was locked and asked if we had come a long way to see it.  I told her we were from Florida and after exclaiming that WAS a long way the three of us got a private tour!!

So here is the infamous bedroom of Lord Byron!!!

All of the furnishings are original and belonged to Byron himself. 

Byron transported his bed to Oxford when he attended college with his bear.  Yes, I said bear.  Oxford didn't allow dogs so bad Byron brought a bear instead!! 

If this bed could talk, the tales it would tell!!!!

Before we left, our guide had one more surprise for us.  She took us into the adjoining room where Byron saw the ghost that haunts the abbey, the Grey Friar!!

Although not the largest house or most famous, or most elegant, it is the most special.  It is elegant in its simplicity and without a doubt, the most romantic.  No wonder Byron loved it so. I do too.

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