Lord Byron was born in London, January 22, 1788. His father was Captain Byron, the scion of an ancient family which had come to England in the eleventh century with William the Conqueror. His mother was Catherine Gordon, whose name he took, owing to the will of a maternal ancestor. Until the time of his maturity he was always called George Gordon.
The boy was born with a club-foot, which throughout his life caused him serious pain and made him very sensitive. Captain Byron soon spent most of his wife's fortune and then disappeared. Thereupon, the mother moved with her child to Aberdeen, Scotland.
When the son was five years old, he was sent to a private school in Aberdeen where he remained for a year. Then for a time he was placed in charge of a tutor, a clergyman, for whom Byron always kept an enthusiastic admiration. Later he went to school at Harrow.
At Harrow, Byron became a leader among the boys. Passionately fond of out-of-door sports, especially cricket and swimming, he represented his school in a cricket match with Eton and acquired a skill in swimming which he retained throughout life. He was not industrious in his studies, but he read extensively, became proficient in speaking and in writing verse, and formed many lasting friendships.
By the death of his great-uncle, Lord Byron of Newstead Abbey, he inherited the estates and the title by which to-day he is commonly known.
In 1805, at the age of seventeen, Byron went from Harrow to Trinity College, Cambridge.