John Byrom 1692 - 1763

Local man, physician, amateur poet and inventor.

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John Byrom

A short biography of a famous son of Byrom Hall, Lowton.

picJohn Byrom was born into a prosperous merchant family of Byrom Hall, Slag Lane, Lowton, Leigh, a talented inventor and amateur poet, writer of the Christmas carol “Christians Awake”. He wrote the words of the carol as a Christmas present for his daughter in 1745, it was set to music by John Wainwright of Stockport (1723 - 1768) and performed for the first time in Stockport parish church in 1750 to the tune “Yorkshire”. Byrom was born in what is now ‘The Old Wellington Inn’ in Manchester, in 1692, where there is a plaque commemorating his birth. He was descended from a wealthy Lancashire family, with business interests in textiles, who owned Byrom Manor, Lowton near Leigh and other properties in Salford (Kersal Cell), Bolton and Ardwick Manchester, his parents came to Manchester from Lowton.
        The family’s wealth enabled him to access education at some of England’s finest institutions, including The King's School, Chester, and Merchant Taylors' School in London. He later studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, achieving a fellowship there in 1714 and an MA in 1716 before leaving to study medicine in Montpellier. After settling in London on his return from France he abandoned medicine in favour of earning a living teaching a system of shorthand he had developed which was becoming widely adopted. Elected a member of the Royal Society in 1724 whilst Sir Isaac Newton was its president, he died on September 28th 1763 and is buried in Manchester Cathedral.
        Byrom's poems were written for his own amusement and never intended for publication, but they were published posthumously in two volumes in 1773 and revised later in 1814. He lived at his ancestral home, Byrom Hall in Slag Lane, Lowton from time to time but seems to have largely resided in a town house in Manchester and at Kersal Cell in Salford. Byrom Manor in Lowton dates back to the thirteenth century, the house at one time featuring a moat, crossing rights of the River Mersey and two priest holes. The current Grade II listed Hall was constructed during the 1700s. Byrom had several children, but he wrote ‘Christians Awake’ for Dorothy his favourite, the original manuscript is appended with the heading “Christmas Day for Dolly”. He is also credited with having coined the phrase “Tweedledum and Tweedledee later used by Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland. His books and manuscripts were donated to Chetham's Library in 1870 by a descendant Eleanora Atherton. 
Palfreyman - 12th September 2017

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picFarthingale Publications: ..... Is a hobby web site containing articles of local interest to Lancastrians, some favourite walking and cycling routes, selected words and poetry, and some writings of more general nature as well as the authors own picture gallery. Access is available via the homepage and menu at the head of the page or via one of the direct links below.


picLocal Interest: A Cricket Calypso; Dust Upon God's Fair Earth; God's Choir; Isaac Watts 1674 - 1748; It's a Funny Life; John Byrom 1692 - 1793; John Lancaster Wigan MP; Jubilee Park Memorial, Ashton in Makerfield; Little Ships at War 1918; Mind Your Language; Not Much of a Warrior; Peveril of the Peak; Private Thomas Whitham VC; Richmond Hill Dairies; Scot Lane School Wigan; The Brocklebank Line; The Holy City Liverpool; The Lindsays of Haigh; The Nurburgring 1960; Thomas Aspinwall Miners Agent; Thomas Aspinwall Obituary; Thomas Linacre School Wigan; Upholland Telephone Exchange; Wigan Advertisements 1960; Wigan Old Bank 1792; Wigan Soldier Missing in Action.
Walking & Cycling: Abbey Lakes to Coppull Moor; A Lancashire Linear Walk; Blackrod or Bust; Chorley Ice Cream Walk; Cycle the Monsal Trail; Cycle the Sankey Valley; Douglas Valley Dawdle; Freshfield to Crosby; Haigh to Borsdane Wood; Irwell Valley Trail (Bury to Rawtenstall); Irwell Valley Trail (Bury to Salford); Moss Eccles Tarn; Three Counties Cycle Ride; Wigan Circular by Bike.
Words & Poetry: A Lancashire Mon; A Legend of Montrose; Aw've Turned me bit O' Garden O'er; Boat Song; Calm is the Sea; Classic Poetry; Dombey and Son; Dover Harbour; Dust upon God's Fair Earth; God Bless these Poor Wimmen that's Childer; Hymn Before Action; Jeff Unsworth's dialect poetry; King Cotton; Martin Chuzzlewit; Martyrs of the Arena; Mind Your Language; Only a Cranky Owd Foo'; On Th' Hills; Poet's Corner; Redgauntlet; Rogue Herries; The Antiquary; The Bride of Lammermoor; Th' Coartin' Neet; The Darkling Thrush; The Fair Rosamond; The Fair Rosamond Comic; The Family Man; The Glory of the Garden; The Heart of Midlothian; The Pickwick Papers; The Rolling English Road; The Wreck of the Hesperus; Toddlin' Whoam; When Winds Breathe Soft; Wisdom.
Wallgate Chronicles: Adolphe Adam; A Tale of Two Cities; A Walk in the Hills; Barnaby Rudge; Bookcase; Cat Bells; Desert Island Discs; Eay Times Uv Changed; Fidelio; Fun with Trigonometry; Hard Times; Hugo Boss comes to Wigan; In the footsteps of the Manchester Rambler; Ivanhoe; Little Dorrit; Lohengrin; Rob Roy; Romance on a Budget; Semele; Surprise at the Philharmonic; The Battle of Solferino; The Bohemian Girl; The Fair Maid of Perth; The Force of Destiny; The Getaway Car; The Marriage of Figaro; The Old Curiosity Shop; The Ravioli Room; The Spectroscope; The Switchroom Wigan; Travels in Time 1960; Travels in Time 2010.