Newstead Abbey and Lord Byron
Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire began as a monastic house (priory) in the 12th century and was converted to a domestic home after the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. The priory was rebuilt and extended several times prior to its conversion into a country house in the 1500s. The house was inherited by the poet Lord Byron at the age of 10, having belonged to the Byron family for several generations. Byron spent some time at Newstead Abbey on and off between 1808 and 1814 and the Abbey now houses a museum including artefacts from Byron's life.
The Abbey was in a poor state of repair when it was inherited by Byron; the fireplace above is housed in a room which Byron used for pistol practice because he couldn't afford to refurbish it. Apparently, Dr Livingstone banged his head on this fireplace during a game of Blind Man's Buff.
This is Byron's bed, which he brought with him from his undergraduate rooms in Cambridge.
Byron apparently dressed in a manner designed to evoke the romantic heroes from his works. Visitors are given the opportunity to try on different items of clothing in styles favoured by Byron. I tried on a really heavy velvet cloak (seriously, it weighed a ton) which reminds my mum of Scottish Widows but reminds me somewhat more of this. I make an unimpressive romantic hero to say the least.
These three dresses are from the 1840s. The red one in the centre is actually a wedding dress, and they are all ridiculously tiny. I am always surprised by how much smaller people were in the past; the short beds and low doorways look so different to what we're used to now.
Newstead Abbey: 1, 2