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Boatswain and Lord Byron

Lord Byron was a great animal lover and owned various animals including cats, horses, monkeys, parrots and a bear. His beloved dog was Boatswain, a newfoundland born in 1803. The dog used to accompany the post boy into Mansfield. Unfortunately rabies was rife in England during this time, and Boatswain was bitten by a rabid dog. When Boatswain contracted rabies, Byron nursed him without any fear of becoming bitten or infected, as the dog retained his gentle nature to the last.
In November 1808 Byron wrote " Boatswain is dead. He expired in a state of madness on the 10th after suffering much, yet retaining all the gentleness of his nature to the last, never attempting to do the least injury to anyone near him"
Although deep in debt Byron commissioned a marble monument for his beloved friend at Newstead Abbey his ancestral home since 1540. He penned one of the most famous and poignant epitaphs "To mark a friends remains these stones arise,
I never knew but one and here he lies"
In 1811 Lord byron executed a will, requesting to be buried in the tomb at Newstead Abbey, with Boatswain.
Lord Byron died in 1824 and this request was denied by the new owners of Newstead Abbey.
In November 2008, on the 200th anniversary of Boatswains death, Newfoundland owners gathered at the memorial with their dogs at Newstead Abbey.


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