Lord Byron FRS, 36, (1788-1824) Poet

new stood Abbi today one of the great stately homes of England rooms over spilling with splendid furnishings intricately decorated with oak carvings family portraits peering down at you everything you want in a stately home but there was a time when this place fell far short of the term stately it was down to two visionary families to rescue this place but first I want to find out why it fell into such a parlous state like any good soap opera the Byron family had their ups and downs over their 300 years here counting bad debt insanity and even manslaughter amongst the family sagas so by the time the poet Lord Byron inherited the house Newsted was what one friend described as an extensive ruin by the age of 21 Byron had moved in with small means but a whole host of his buddies he treated knew stood as his bachelor pad maintaining a few rooms for himself while leaving other rooms for his caprices in fact this room the Great Hall he used as pistol practice and this room was empty but he still put it to good use for fencing and boxing practice like any red-blooded 18th century Lord would do but it was an expensive place to run while he may have been a debt with words he was not good with money in 1818 Byron was forced to sell the house to his great longtime friend Thomas Wildmon Wildmon immediately realized that the massive purchase cost of ninety four thousand five hundred pounds wasn't just buying him a house it was buying him something far greater a duty to preserve and protect the Byron legacy now there's something I want to show you in this cabinet it's a letter from Byron tawildman written in 1818 and in it Byron gives him his blessing it really is quite touching and it reads something like this the extract from the bottom I trust that Newsted will being yours remain so and then it may see you as happy as I'm very sure that you will make your dependence you can see he really is letting God he's saying come on love this house like I have that really is quite sweet with a big thumbs up from buyer and wildmen spent a small fortune on a makeover that transformed the house now I love little documents of social history which give us a window into the past and we know what we see on bits of paper and photographs but surprisingly here you've got it on beautifully decorated serve plates this is gorgeous look at this these are images of Euston Abby just prior to three years before wildmen got his hands on the property because once he did look one went demolished this staircase that you can see there but the wall of understood an awful lot to this house to turn it into what we see today a proper family a comfortable family home but these plates were painted by Wildman's sister Maria who was a talented amateur porcelain painter in her day and it's because of her we've got this document of the past Waldman had put his stamp on this place while being faithful to Byron's wishes and the Byron fans flocked here to see where the great poet had lived and loved when Wildmon died it could so easily have fallen into the hands of someone who had no interest in the Byron legacy now by luck or by good fortune the next family to arrive in 1861 were keen to celebrate Byron here at Newsted now that is a portrait of William Webb a wealthy landowner his wife Amelia was keen to keep the byron tours going here at the house so keen that she even took tours of visitors around herself leading her children to tease her that she was Byron's caretaker she methodically carried on Wildman's buying spree collecting back Byron's personal effects furniture and pictures the cabinet's here in the library are filled with Byron's things most of them Byron left here but the wildlands and the Webb's have added to it returning things to their rightful place which is absolutely marvelous now we've been given special permission to open these cabinet doors so just so you can get a better look he can tell they have been open for a long time that's an old door creaking but look Byron's boxing gloves he was a keen fighter he followed the sport a good fighter as well there's a dog collar belonging to one of Byron's dogs beautifully inscribed on Lord Byron best thing I like though is this section of tree which has been cutting down look it's got Byron he carved that in and with quite a crude knife Byron an Augusta his half-sister on the 20th of September 1814 lovely here it is look in the cabinet which I'm just about to show by the 1870s Byron's Newsted was really on the map and was said to be on the top ten list a Victorian favorite country houses to visit but like the Wildman's the family put their own personal stamp on the house too one of the many treasures that the Webb family introduced to this house with this incredible Florentine Center table it dates back to the 18th century now you may be forgiven for thinking that this top it's just decoration that's painted on but it's not I've not seen work like this in my life before this is known as pho Judah which means painting and drawing in stone it is literally set in stone this image is there forever each individual piece each individual color is a different piece of marble or semi-precious stone mined from the quarries in Italy this is a specimen top table and it is incredibly rare and incredibly expensive this is done by a master of the genre a chap called Zaki in his Studios in Florence it's dizzying and it's really really incredible and this is one of their greatest legacies the Japanese room created by daughter Geraldine sort of circa late 1890s she bought these wooden panels back with her and on them they depict scenes of pine trees oak trees and cranes all very symbolic to Japanese culture I think it's absolutely incredible and I love these painted images of bhava as well this is gold leaf on paper look at the cranes fabulous this is a touch of the Orient coming to not English much of the house today is as both families left it and it's now in the safe hands of Nottingham City Council what is so amazing about the Wildman's and the webs is they felt a real sense of duty to preserve this place Newsted not just for their generation to pay homage to byron but for future generations so people like us could come here and enjoy it

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