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