Welcome to my blog!

News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
or on Mastodon @balkandave@mastodon.scot, or Threads @davewatson1683

Wednesday 3 April 2024

Lord Byron and Newstead Abbey

 On my way to the football yesterday, I visited Lord Byron's home at Newstead Abbey, just north of the city. It is a fine site with extensive gardens, and while Byron was forced to sell the property, the focus of the exhibits within the house itself is understandably on its most famous resident. 

Byron is most famous as a romantic poet, but my primary interest is his role during the Greek War of Independence and his earlier visit to the Balkans. This included his meeting with Ali Pasha, which provided a valuable primary source I used in my bookThe Frontier Sea.

In 1823, Byron travelled to Greece to offer his support. He used his funds to finance the Greek cause and became involved in the conflict. He arrived in Greece in 1824 and settled in the town of Missolonghi, which was a centre of the Greek resistance. Byron contributed not only financially but also personally to the cause. He organised funds, supplies, and medical aid for the Greek forces. He even formed his own military unit, which he equipped and trained at his own expense. Despite his lack of military experience, Byron was determined to fight alongside the Greeks. However, his efforts were cut short when he fell ill with a fever and died on April 19, 1824, at the age of 36.

His Balkan connections are reflected in a few exhibits in the house. 

This is the helmet he had designed for the conflict and was laid on his coffin.

The military jacket worn by Byron in Greece.

This helmet was made for Byron's friend Count Pietro Gamba. The legend on the plate features 'Hellas' in Greek characters.

The house itself is worth a visit. There are plenty of portraits.

Byron's library

His bedroom, which saw plenty of 'action' with both sexes.

His study

Even if the house doesn't interest you, the grounds alone make a pleasant afternoon walk. 


  1. I imagine, if Byron had been around in Europe in 1936, he would have been a volunteer in Spain.

    1. Yes, Greece was the Spain of his time. He was pretty radical. Probably the only member of the House of Lords to make a speech defending the Luddites.