Milbanke, Anna Isabella

BORN 17 May 1792, London - DIED 16 May 1860, London: St. George's Terrace
CAUSE OF DEATH bronchitis
GRAVE LOCATION London: Kensal Green Cemetery, Harrow Road, Kensal Green (087/IR (15958))

Annabella Milbanke (11th Baroness Wenthworth) married the notorious Lord Byron on 2 Jan 1815, after refusing his first proposal of marriage in 1812. Byron called her his princess of parallelograms because of her interest in mathematics. She tried to reform him, but her efforts were in vain. Byron treated her badly and amost certainly had an incestuous affair with his half sister Augusta (possibly he was the father of one of Augusta's children). With the help of her parents Annabella obtained a divorce in 1816. By that time, their daughter Ada Augusta was just a few months old.

Later in life Annabella claimed that Byron would have returned to her if he had not died in Greece in 1824. After twenty years, she met Byrons half sister Augusta once more in 1851. Annabella wanted a confession from Augusta, but Augusta just wanted a reconciliation and their meeting failed.

Annabella held progressive (some say radical) views and sponsored an industrial and agricultural school at Ealing Grove (1834-1848). When she was ailing, she told Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1856 her version of the story of her marriage to Lord Byron. She lingered on until 1860 and was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery. Beecher Stowe published the story in 1869 and seriously damaged Byron's reputation by stating his incestuous relationship in writing.

• Daughter: Byron, Ada, Lady Lovelace
• Husband: Byron, George Noel Gordon (1815-1816, Seaham Hall, Durham) (divorce or separation)

Related persons
• was a friend of Beecher Stowe, Harriet
• has a connection with Byron, Augusta Mary
• supported Carpenter, Mary

12/10/1812Annabella Milbanke refuses Lord Byron's proposal for marriage. Byron had his proposal brought to her by Lady Melbourne. Annabella refused him, because she was afraid that Byron would never be the 'object of strong affection which would make me happy in domestic life'. She saw good things in Byron but she thought that his good qualities were hidden 'from the strangest perversion that pride ever created'. Byron wrote to Lady Melbourne: 'She deserves a better heart than mine. What shall I do - shall I advertise?' [Byron, George Noel Gordon ]
9/9/1814Lord Byron proposes marriage to Annabella Milbanke. He had been turned down by her in 1812 but this time she would accept him. [Byron, George Noel Gordon ]
15/9/1814Lord Byron receives Annabella Milbanke's acceptance of his proposal of marriage [Byron, George Noel Gordon ]
29/10/1814Lord Byron leaves for Seaham to visit Anneballa Milbanke [Byron, George Noel Gordon ]
24/12/1814Lord Byron leaves London for his marriage to Annabella Milbanke at Seaham [Byron, George Noel Gordon ]
13/1/1816Lord Byron is so angry that his wife Annabella fears for her life. He was cruel to Annabella, who had given birth to their daughter Ada shorty before. Two days later she left him with Ada. [Byron, George Noel Gordon ]
14/1/1816Annabella sees her husband Lord Byron for the last time. She left him the next day. [Byron, George Noel Gordon ]
15/1/1816Annabella Milbanke leaves 13 Picadilly, London. She left her husband Lord Byron and took their baby girl Ada with her to Kirkby Mallory, Leicestershire. They would never meet again. [Byron, George Noel Gordon ]
27/2/1816Ralph Milbanke informs Lord Byron that his daughter Annabella wants a divorce. This surprised Byron, because she had sent him several friendly letters after she left him. He suspected that her parents and her former governess lady Clermont had set her up against him. [Byron, George Noel Gordon ]
19/4/1816Lord Byron signs the separation from Annabella Milbanke. He was forced to sign in order to avoid a court case in which he might be accused of homosexual relations and of incest with his halfsister Augusta Leigh. [Byron, Augusta Mary][Byron, George Noel Gordon ]
8/4/1851Last meeting between Lady Byron and Augusta Leigh. They met at the White Hart, Reigate Town. They hadn't seen each other for twenty years. Annabella expected a confession from Augusta that Byron had never returned to her because of Augusta. Augusta had not long to live and only wanted a reconciliation. Annabella detested Augusta although she pretended to act in her best interests. The meeting failed. On 26 April Augusta wrote once more to Annabella that she had never set up Byron against her. [Byron, Augusta Mary][Byron, George Noel Gordon ]


The grave of Annabella Milbanke at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.
Picture by Androom (08 Feb 2012)


The grave of Annabella Milbanke at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.
Picture by Androom (17 Aug 2017)


• Chapman, John S., Byron and the Honourable Augusta Leigh, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1975
• Gunn, Peter, My dearest Augusta, Bodley Head, London, 1968
• Nicholson, Andrew (ed.), The Letters of John Murray to Lord Byron, Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, 2007
• Pierson, Joan, The Real Lady Byron, Robert Hale, London, 1992
Paths of Glory, The Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery, London, 1997
• Quennell, Peter, Byron, The Years of Fame - Byron in Italy, Collins, London, 1974
Winkler Prins Encyclopedie (editie 1909), 1909
The Atlantic | September 1869 | Stowe

Milde, Hans Feodor von

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 27 Apr 2024