Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Pigot, Elizabeth Bridget

PIGOT, ELIZABETH BRIDGET (1783–1866), friend and correspondent of Lord Byron, born in 1783, probably in Derbyshire, was daughter of J. Pigot, M.D., of Derby, by his wife Margaret Becher (d. 1833) (cf. Thoroton, History of Nottinghamshire, p. 16). She had two brothers, Captain R. H. H. Pigot, who fought at the battle of the Nile, and Dr. John Pigot, a correspondent of Byron (cf. Letters, Nos. 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7). Miss Pigot lived at Southwell, with which place her mother's family was connected, nearly all her life. In 1804, when sixteen years old, Byron and his mother arrived there, and occupied a house, Burgage Manor, opposite her mother's on Burgage Green. The Pigots ‘received Byron within their circle as one of themselves.’ The first of Byron's letters which Moore prints was written to Miss Pigot. Byron, whom she described as a ‘fat, bashful boy,’ was ‘perfectly at home’ with her (Moore, ed. 1832, i. 99), and of an evening would listen to her playing and sing with her. In 1805 Byron left Southwell for Cambridge, but paid Miss Pigot occasional visits till 1807, and regularly corresponded with her till 1811. When he was at Southwell she acted as his amanuensis (Moore, i. 132). Byron addressed her in his letters at first as ‘My dear Bridget,’ and afterwards as ‘Dear Queen Bess.’ She nicknamed him her ‘Tony Lumpkin.’ To her Byron addressed the poem beginning ‘Eliza, what fools are the Mussulman sect!’ About 1807 Miss Pigot was engaged to be married; but on the same day she happened to write two letters, one to her lover and the other to Lord Byron. By some mischance she enclosed them in the wrong covers, and the lover, receiving the letter intended for Lord Byron, broke off the engagement. During the rest of her long life Miss Pigot amused herself and her friends with narrating the minute incidents of her intimacy with the poet, and presented to his admirers many scraps of his writing. A competent amateur artist, she decorated the panels of her doors with landscapes; and long before the Christmas card was invented used to send to friends cards which she had painted. Miss Pigot died at her house in Easthorpe, at Southwell, 11 Dec. 1866, and was buried, aged 83, on the 15th. A packet of Byron's letters was said to have been buried with her. Much of her correspondence with Byron appears in Moore's ‘Life.’ In 1892 a manuscript parody by Miss Pigot, entitled ‘The Wonderful History of Lord Byron and his Dog Bosen,’ was sold by a London bookseller to Professor Kolbing of Breslau.

[Private information; Dickenson's History of Southwell; Moore's Life and Poetical Works of Lord Byron, vol. i.]

M. G. W.