George Byron

Born: January 22, 1788
Died: April 19, 1824,

Occupation: Poet and Politician

Challenges overcome: Club Foot (Talipes Equinovarus)

Successes, Achievements & Awards:

Commonly known as Lord Byron, George was an English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement. George Byron is regarded as one of the greatest British poets, and remains widely read and influential. Among Byron’s best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems Don Juan and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and the short lyric  “She Walks in Beauty, She Walks in Beauty”. He travelled all over Europe especially in Italy where he lived for seven years and then joined the Greek War of Independence fighting the Ottoman Empire, for which Greeks revere him as a national hero.

Often described as the most flamboyant and notorious of the major Romantics, Byron was both celebrated and criticised for his aristocratic excesses, including huge debts, numerous love affairs with both sexes, rumours of a scandalous liaison with his half-sister, and self-imposed exile.

Byron first took his seat in the House of Lords 13 March 1809, but left London on 11 June 1809 for the Continent. A strong advocate of social reform, he received particular praise as one of the few Parliamentary defenders of the Luddites: specifically, he was against a death penalty for Luddite “frame breakers” in Nottinghamshire, who destroyed textile machines that were putting them out of work. In another Parliamentary speech he expressed opposition to the established religion because it was unfair to people of other faiths. These experiences inspired Byron to write political poems such as Song for the Luddites (1816) and The Landlords’ Interest, Canto XIV of The Age of Bronze.

Byron wrote prolifically. In 1832 his publisher, John Murray, released the complete works in 14 duodecimo volumes, including a life by Thomas Moore.

Challenges Overcome

He was extremely self-conscious about his foot from a young age. He often wore specially-made shoes in an attempt to hide the deformed foot, he refused to wear any type of brace that might improve the limp. However, he refused to let his foot prevent him from taking part in any usual activities that schoolboys engaged in. Byron fell ill in 1824 whilst in Greece and doctor’s used blood letting to treat his illness. This worsened his condition and most likely lead to an infection and his death. His body was returned to England and he was buried in a family vault in Newstead.

Disability Definitions

Club Foot (Talipes Equinovarus)

A clubfoot, also known as club foot, congenital talipes equinovarus (CTEV), or talipes equinovarus (TEV) is a congenital deformity (present at birth) in which the affected foot appears rotated internally at the ankle – the foot points down and inwards and the soles of the feet face each other.  Approximately 50% of patients with club foot have bilateral club foot (both feet are affected).

The tendons on the inside of the leg of people with club foot are shortened, the bones have an unusual shape and the Achilles tendon is tightened. If left untreated patients often appear to walk on their ankles or on the sides of their feet.


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Information sources:

Please click on the information links below to find out more.

Lord Byron. (2015, March 27). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:33, April 2, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lord_Byron&oldid=653692190

Jerome McGann, ‘Byron, George Gordon Noel, sixth Baron Byron (1788–1824)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2015 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/4279, accessed 1 July 2015] – Please note that you will require library subscription or a library card to access the content on this site.


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