We went to see Lord Byron

Okay, I acknowledge that the Lord Byron died in 1824.

Lord Byron

We’re off work this week and hope to have some day-trips out. I also plan on doing some serious writing as I haven’t done much in April.

Anyway, Monday we thought we’d have a run out to Rufford Country Park and walk around the grounds and the lake. You know, take in the heavy rain that had been forecast!

We missed our junction off the motorway, even though we’ve been enough times to know the way, and decided to see what else there was to see.

Enter the AA Days Out App for the iPhone.

I do like this App. You search your current location and it shows you all the local interesting places to visit.


One of the options was Newstead Abbey, once home (albeit briefly) to Lord Byron and family. My wife, Joanne had been before, but a long time ago. I’ve never been, so why not?

The App told us it was open from Friday – Monday and it was Monday, so we drove down to check it out. Like you do.

The drive into the grounds is where you have to pay. Our money was ready.

The house was CLOSED!

They only open the house on a SUNDAY. Where was that on the App? Right load of rubbish 😀

In this lovely age of austerity they only open the house to paying visitors one day a week and we missed it by 24 hours.

So what do you do? Drive away and go somewhere else? No, we paid to go and have a look around the gardens. It was lunchtime and we had a picnic to eat. It was a little too cold and drizzling with rain to eat on the grass. So we sat in the car.

The gardens were lovely. The rain stopped and we had a nice walk around the different areas. Once of the main places to visit is the monument to his beloved dog, Boatswain, who died of rabies in 1808. The monument is bigger than his own and there is an inscription of Byron’s poem Epitaph to a Dog.

The poem reads:

When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown by Glory, but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on – it honors none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one – and here he lies


As we drove away, I still haven’t really been to Newstead Abbey. Maybe next time we’ll go on a Sunday.

Thanks for reading.

About Pete Denton

I'm a writer working my way through the redrafts of a British crime novel. I also write short stories, flash fiction and some screen writing. Check out my blog for more.
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11 Responses to We went to see Lord Byron

  1. robincoyle says:

    I wrote a poem just like that for my dog Rosie.

  2. subtlekate says:

    I am so glad you didn’t drive off and had lunch there.

  3. Such a shame you didn’t get to see the house Pete but at least there were still the grounds. You have more than the touch of a poet in your writings albeit not quite in the tempo we’ve come to expect.
    I spent Saturday wandering round Skipton Castle (yes, open all week) and trying to imagine being in the only Royalist Castle in the North during the Civil War. I’m amazed it’s still standing.
    On Sunday I wandered around Hawarth to see if I could pick up the vibes of the Bronte family for my writing but despite sitting in Bramwell’s chair all I collected was a humungous meal from the carvery at the Black Bull where he used to sit.At the Apothecary I read how the incumbent issued Bramwell with laudanum until his death which left me thinking I wonder if that was the cause of his death. These days she’d be in the dock charged with murder probably. It’s a beautiful village but I had to laugh when one of ‘The Cousins’ said “I’m surprised they didn’t move out with all the cafes and shops here.” as though they were there then.
    The UK has a wealth of places to visit and I won’t tire of them. I hope you persist and eventually manage to get to Newstead Abbey on a Sunday so you can report on that.

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks, David. It is much better to visit places that are open 😀

      I must admit to having never read anything by Lord Byron until we were in the grounds at the monument to his dog. I felt compelled to include his poem in the post. You know, add a bit of culture to my blog 🙂

      You’re right about there being so many great places to visit. We will venture out that way again, on a Sunday!

  4. LOL. That sounds like my entire time in Italy. Nothing was open when the guidebook said. Or what would be considered normal hours. Even if a place posted hours they were open, there was no guarantee it would be. Everything was truly at the whims of the owners.

    I love that he put together a monument to his dog. I know of no truer friend than my dog. 🙂

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks, Kourtney. It can be annoying when you’ve traipsed somewhere that should be open and they’re not. My experience of Italy was really long queues for everything and pouring rain. Not much fun either! The monument to his dog was impressive.

  5. EllaDee says:

    The gardens look a-maze-ing, pity the weather was dodgy. Thank you for sharing the poem.

    • Pete Denton says:

      They were very nice and made up for not being able to go round the house.

      My wife told me about the poem he wrote to his dog. I had no idea until we went there, but I had to include it 🙂

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