John Byron (British Army officer)

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John Byron
Lord Byron's father, Captain John "Mad Jack" Byron
Born7 February 1756
Died2 August 1791(1791-08-02) (aged 35)
Other namesMad Jack
Alma materWestminster School
Catherine Gordon
(m. 1785)
ChildrenAugusta Leigh
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron
Parent(s)Vice-Admiral The Hon. John Byron
Sophia Trevanion
RelativesWilliam Byron, 4th Baron Byron (paternal grandfather)
Military career
Allegiance Kingdom of Great Britain
Service/branch British Army

Captain John Byron (7 February 1756 – 2 August 1791) was a British Army officer and writer, best known as the father of poet Lord Byron.


Byron was the son of Vice-Admiral Hon. John Byron and Sophia Trevanion[1] and grandson of William Byron, 4th Baron Byron of Rochdale. He was educated at Westminster School.

He gained the rank of Captain in the Coldstream Guards.[2] Captain John Byron also went by the nickname of "Mad Jack."


In 1778 he eloped with Amelia Osborne, Marchioness of Carmarthen, daughter of Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness, to Europe and they married after she obtained a divorce from her husband the Marquess of Carmarthen, who in 1789 became Francis Osborne, 5th Duke of Leeds.[3] Byron married Amelia on 1 June 1779 in London, and had a daughter, Augusta Maria Byron. Amelia Osborne died in 1784.

Byron then married Catherine Gordon, heiress of Gight in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, daughter of George Gordon and Catherine Innes, on 12 May 1785. She was the mother of George Gordon Byron, who would early in his life become the 6th Baron Byron.[4] In order to claim his wife's estate in Scotland, Captain Byron took the surname Gordon.[5] After he had squandered most of her fortune and deserted her, Mrs. Byron took her infant son to Aberdeen, Scotland, where they lived in lodgings on a meager income.

"Mad Jack" died in 1791 at age 35, at Valenciennes. Later, Lord Byron would tell friends that his father had cut his own throat. It is more likely he died from tuberculosis or an overdose.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Bibliotheca Cornubiensis: A Catalogue..."
  2. ^ Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003), Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 1 (107th, 3 volumes ed.), Wilmington, Delaware, USA: Genealogical Books, p. 630.
  3. ^ Jeremy Black, "The British and the Grand Tour" (1985), p. 113.
  4. ^ Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003), Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 1 (107th, 3 volumes ed.), Wilmington, Delaware, USA: Genealogical Books.
  5. ^ Eisler, Benita. "Byron: Child of Passion, Fool of Fame" (Knopf, 1999), pp. 10-11.