Friday, 10 August 2012


In the shadow of the tallest spire on Harrow On The Hill lies the Peachey tomb and its neighbouring Elm, clustered on a terrace amid numerous time-tested graves slipping into ruin down the slope. Lord Byron declared this "spot of my youth!" in St Mary's churchyard his favourite place, throughout his childhood at Harrow school he'd wile away his time sitting in the chequered shade looking out towards Windsor on the horizon and making initial drifts into poetry. A slab installed by Sir George Sinclair (the son of Byron's schoolfriend) stands alongside the tomb bearing Byron's wistful 'Lines Written Beneath an Elm in the Churchyard of Harrow' from 1807. When his daughter Allegra died in Italy, aged just five years old, Byron sent the body to buried near the tomb, where it resides today in an unmarked plot.

Today you can still see the Thames crawl its way through the distant landscape. The tomb itself, now cracked with weeds and falling into disrepair, slumps in a black iron cage, whilst Byron's Elm towers (despite several lightning strikes) magnificently into the sky, glistening with cobwebs, bark greened with lichen, arms outstretched above an undergrowth of discarded beer cans and dead leaves.

"Take, while thou canst, a lingering last farewell!"

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