August 14 1812: Byron Tries to Sell Newstead

On August 14, 1812, Lord Byron tries to sell Newstead Abbey by way of an auction at Garroway’s Coffee House. Byron has set a minimum purchase price of £120,000. The price is not met despite John Cam Hobhouse, who is Byron's best friend but penniless, making repeated bids to try and cause a bidding war. Hobhouse is able to drive up the purchase price but only to £113,000 which does not meet Byron's minimum. The next day Byron does receive and accepts an offer of £140,000 from Thomas Claughton for his estate. Claughton agrees to pay a £20,000 deposit and a further £60,000 in instalments by August 1815. The balance of £60,000 is to be by way of a mortgage in favour of Byron. Claughton has overpaid for the estate and will not be able to close the transaction. He will however continue to give Byron troubles until Byron is able to sell Newstead in 1812 to Thomas Wildman. Hobhouse describes the events of August 17 in his diary in this way: 
Went to Garroway’s Coffee House to the sale of Newstead Abbey by auction by a Mr Farebrother – where having first secured myself with Byron, I bid twelve times and left off at 113,000 guineas – for the large lot – which was brought in at 115,000 guineas – Byron having fixed £120,000 as the price. The second was brought in at 13000 guineas. Never having done the like before, I was, before the thing began, in a complete fever – but was told by Hanson, Byron’s solicitor, that I came off most admirably – I had just then only one pound one shilling and sixpence in the world

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