Chaworth, Mary Ann

BORN 27 Dec 1785, Annesley, Nottinghamshire - DIED 6 Feb 1832, Wiverton, Nottinghamshire
GRAVE LOCATION Annesley, Nottinghamshire: All Saints' Church, Annesley Cutting

Mary Chaworth was born at Annesley, not far from Mansfield, on the borders of Sherwood Forest. She was a niece of Lord Byron and related to the Chaworth that was killed by the Fifth Lord Byron in 1765. She was also the first woman Byron fell in love with, when he met her during a vacation at Southwell (2 August-9 October, 1803). He wrote many poems for her, but Mary didn't care for the "lame, bashful, boy lord" and married John "Jack" Musters in August, 1805. They had seven children.

Mary seperated from her husband on 10 April 1814 and started writing Byron. He was famous by then and no longer interested. She tried visit him in Hastings, but he ran off just in time to prevent a meeting. She returned to her husband in 1816. After Byron's death in 1824 she was visited by Thomas Moore, who was writing a biography. When it was publised in 1830 it contained some poems that Byron had written for her. She read them for the first time.

In 1831 riots in the Nottingham area forced her and her servants to leave their home Colwick Hall. Several fires were started and they had to hide in the fields. She was already in bad health at that time and she died a few months later.

There's a memorial in the Annesley All Saints Church at Southwall for her, being the last of the Chaworths. This church also has panels painted by Sofia Musters, John's mother (originally for Old Colwick Church). Her son, Volunteer 1st Class Musters, died of malaria in Brazil in 1832 during a voyage with the ship The Beagle, shortly after he had become a new friend of Charles Darwin.

Related persons
• has a connection with Byron, George Noel Gordon

• Chapman, John S., Byron and the Honourable Augusta Leigh, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1975
• Quennell, Peter, Byron, The Years of Fame - Byron in Italy, Collins, London, 1974

Chenavard, Claude-Aimé

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 20 May 2023