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Monument to Mary Ann Chaworth-Musters, St John the Baptist Church, Colwick, Nottingham, c 1900

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:NTGM009261
:Colwick
:St John the Baptist Church
:Monument to Mary Ann Chaworth-Musters, St John the Baptist Church, Colwick, Nottingham, c 1900
:c 1900's ?
:Ferneley, C A
:Nottingham City Council
:
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St John the Baptist was built in the 13th Century, it was located next to Colwick Hall and contains some ancient monuments of the Byrons and the Musters. It was repaired, and the chancel rebuilt, by Sir John Musters in 1684. The Musters Family obtained Colwick Hall from the Byron family in the early part of the seventeenth century, but the connection with the Byron family was vaguely reaffirmed when in 1805 Mary Chaworth, Lord Byron,'s childhood love-interest from Annesley Hall, married John (Jack) Musters of Colwick, creating the name Chaworth-Musters by which the family is still known today. Mary Chaworth was the heiress of the Annesley estate. Mary Chaworth was born in 1785. She was brought up by her mother Ann, her father George having left home shortly after her birth. The Chaworth family had owned the estate since the reign of Henry VI when George Chaworth, third son of Sir Thomas Chaworth, Knight of Wiverton, married Alice de Annesley in circa 1442. The first lord of the Annesley manor to take their name from the estate was Ralph Britto de Annesley, who died sometime between 1156 (when he founded Felley Priory) and 1161. Mary Ann Chaworth was romantically involved with the young poet Byron in 1803 and she was the sweetheart of his youth, and is known as 'Byron's Mary'. They first met when Byron was 10, Mary 12, when Byron was on holiday from Harrow School in 1803. Byron came to stay at Newstead and rode over to Annesley Hall, afterwards often staying the night. As it happened, Mary Chaworth was the Grand Niece of the Lord Chaworth who had been spitted on a sword by 'Wicked Jack' Byron, the poet's great uncle. The Byron family's solicitor, a Mr Hanson, had suggested to a younger Byron the poet that as Miss Chaworth was only a year or two older then he had better marry her. 'What Mr. Hanson', replied the well-read boy, 'the Capulets and Montegues intermarry'? But it wasn't to be. She considered him a 'lame, bashful, boy lord'. Byron later wrote 'Had I married Miss Chaworth perhaps the whole tenor of my life would have been different.' Instead, Mary Chaworth was married in All Saints church to John Musters in 1805. Her marriage deteriorated and on 23 December 1814 she started writing to Byron. He had become famous by then and was no longer interested. Mary separated from her husband on 10 April 1814 and tried to visit Byron in Hastings, but he had moved on by the time she arrived. In the following years she had became somewhat mentally unstable. In 1831, during the Second Reform Bill riots, Colwick Hall was sacked by an excited mob. Mary Chaworth Musters spent the night shivering in pouring rain with her daughter Sophia, crouched beneath the shrubbery, while the Hall was looted and partially set on fire. She died a few months later in 1832 from the shock at Wiverton Hall some four months after the riot. 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. Her memorial was later moved from Old Colwick Church to Annesley All Saints Church. The inscription reads: TO THE MEMORY OF MARY ANN MUSTERS DIED 6TH OF FEBRY 1832 AGED 47