Byron, Allegra

(ENGLAND)
BORN 12 Jan 1817, Bath - DIED 19 Apr 1822, Bagno-Cavallo (near Ravenna)
REAL NAME Byron, Clara Allegra
GRAVE LOCATION Harrow, Middlesex: St. Mary's Parish Church (churchyard, presumably near the entrance of the church)

Daughter of Lord Byron and Claire Clairmont, the stepsister of Mary Shelley. Allegra was the result of a short liaison and Byron had become fed up with her mother before she was born.

Claire initially called her daughter Alba, but Byon overruled her and chose Allegra. Byron promised to take care of Allegra in Italy on the condition that Claire wouldn't show up anymore. In the interest of her daughter Claire reluctantly agreed. Allegra was raised in a cloister, but there she contracted a fever and died at the age of five. Byron was devastated and according to his mistress Teresa Guiccioli he never said her name again.

Byron sent Allegra's body to England and John Murray tried to arrange a funeral at Harrow Church. He had written an inscription for a plague, that read

"In memory of Allegra, daughter of G.G., Lord Byron, who died at Bagna Cavallo in Italy, April 20, 1822, Aged Five Years and Three Months,-'I shall go to her, but she shall not return to me.'-2 Samuel, xii, 23"

Because of his reputation, Byron's wishes were denied by the rector and Allegra was only buried near the entrance of the church after it was agreed that there would be no plaque. The funeral was conducted by Byron's friend Henry Drury in the churchyard.

When Byron died himself exactly two years later he was refused at Harrow as well as Westminster Abbey. Only in 1980 the Byron Society was allowed to place a memorial for Allegra.

Allthough many young children died in Italy in those years Claire blamed Byron for the death of her child and would hate him for the rest of her life. In later years Claire (who had never been a very stable woman) even doubted if her daughter had really died.

Family
• Father: Byron, George Noel Gordon
• Mother: Clairmont, Claire
• Sister: Byron, Augusta Ada, Lady Lovelace

Events
1818/8/17: Shelley travels to Venice with Claire Clairmont
Claire wanted to visit het daughter Allegra who was with the fatherm Lord Byron. Mary Shelley stayed in Bagni di Lucca.

Sources
• Blunden, Edmund, Shelley, Collins, London, 1946
• Bernheim, Cathy, Mary Shelley, Qui Ítes-vous?, La Manufacture, Lyon, 1988
• Roe, Ivan, Shelley: The Last Phase, Hutchinson & Co, London, 1955
• Marchand, Leslie A., Byron: a Biography, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1957
• Gordon, Armstead C., Allegra, the story of Byron and Miss Clairmont, Methuen, London, 1927

Images

Plaque for Allegra Byron near the spot of her grave in front of St. Mary's Church, Harrow.
Picture by Androom (29 May 2014)

 

Plaque for Allegra Byron near the spot of her grave in front of St. Mary's Church, Harrow.
Picture by Androom (29 May 2014)

 


Byron, Augusta Ada, Lady Lovelace

Published: 1 Jan 2006
Last update: 1 Jun 2014