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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 8.djvu/27

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THE

LETTERS OF LORD BYRON.


CHAPTER I.

1788-1805.

CHILDHOOD AND SCHOOL.

Catherine Gordon of Gight (1765-1811), afterwards Mrs. Byron, and mother of the poet, was descended on the paternal side from Sir WiUiam Gordon of Gight, the third son, by Annabella Stewart, daughter of James I. of Scotland, of George, second Earl of Huntly, Chancellor of Scotland (1498-1502), and Lord-Lieutenant of the North from 1491 to his death in 1507. The owners of Gight, now a ruin, once a feudal stronghold, were a hot- headed, hasty-handed race, sufficiently notable to be commemorated by Thomas the Rhymer, and to leave their mark in the traditions of Aberdeenshire. In the seventh generation from Sir William Gordon, the property passed to an heiress, Mary Gordon. By her marriage with Alexander Davidson of Newton, who assumed the name of Gordon, she had a son Alexander, Mrs. Byron's grandfather, who married Margaret Duff of Craigston, a cousin of the first Earl of Fife. Their eldest son, George, the fifth of the Gordons of Gight who bore that