Edward John Trelawney blue plaque in Usk

Edward John Trelawney
1792-1881
Author, adventurer, friend of Shelley and Byron, was in Usk for twelve years. He lived in this house (built 1839), before himself building Twyn Bell and later Cefn Ila.

Edward John Trelawny (13 November 1792 – 13 August 1881) was a biographer, novelist and adventurer who is best known for his friendship with the Romantic poets Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron. Trelawny was born in England to a family of modest income but extensive ancestral history. Though his father became wealthy while he was a child, Edward had an antagonistic relationship with him. After an unhappy childhood, he was sent away to a school. He was assigned as a volunteer in the Royal Navy shortly before he turned thirteen.Trelawny served on multiple ships as a naval volunteer while in his teen years. He traveled to India and saw combat during engagements with the French Navy. He did not care for the naval lifestyle, however, and left at nineteen years of age without becoming a commissioned officer. After retiring from the Navy he had a brief and unhappy marriage in England. He then moved to Switzerland and later Italy where he met Shelley and Byron. He became friends with the two poets, and helped teach them about sailing. He enjoyed inventing elaborate stories about his time in the navy, and in one he claimed to have deserted and become a pirate in India. After Shelley's death, Trelawny identified his body and arranged the funeral and burial.Trelawny then travelled to Greece with Lord Byron in order to fight in the Greek War of Independence. Byron and Trelawny split up near Greece and Trelawny travelled into Greece to act as the agent of Lord Byron. After Byron died, Trelawny oversaw the preparations for the funeral and the return of his body to England. He also wrote his obituaries. Trelawny joined the cause of the Greek Warlord Odysseas Androutsos and helped to provide him with additional arms. He also married Odysseas' sister Teritza. After Odysseas fell out of favour with the Greek government and was arrested, Trelawny took control of his mountain fortress. During this time, Trelawny survived an assassination attempt. After leaving Greece, he divorced Teritza and returned to England. In England he was well received by members of London Society. He then wrote a memoir titled Adventures of a Younger Son. After the book was published he travelled to America for two years before returning to England. He then became politically active but soon remarried and moved to the English countryside.He then lived the life of a country squire for 12 years and raised a family with his third wife. They eventually separated and he moved back to London with a mistress. He then wrote a well received book about Shelley and Byron. He soon became friends with several prominent artists and writers in London. He was able to share his firsthand experience with Romantic Era writers with the leading Victorian writers of the day. He later retired to Sompting where he led an ascetic lifestyle. He died in Sompting at the age of 88, having outlived almost all of his friends from the Romantic era.

Source: dbpedia

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