Allegra was the result of a brief liason between Lord Byron and Claire Clairmont, the step-sister of Mary Shelley. On her birth, Byron is said to have remarked: "Is the brat mine? I have reason to think so." During their soujourn in Geneva, Shelley had given Byron the nickname of Albe; therefore Claire wanted to name the girl Alba, but Byron overruled her and she was baptised Clara Allegra Byron. When Allegra was four, Byron arranged for her to be educated at a Capuchin convent near Ravenna in Italy; but, a year after that, she died of a fever. Her corpse was sent back for burial in Harrow, where Byron had gone to school (see: John Peachey), but such was his Lordship's reputation that the vicar of St. Mary's refused to allow a service to be held within the church, or to erect the memorial which Byron had requested. This was to have born the words from II Samuel, Chapter 12, Verse 23 : "I shall go to her, but she shall not return to me." Instead, a ceremony was held in the churchyard, and she was buried in an unmarked grave. It was not until 1980 that the Byron Society gained permission to place the tablet at the foot of the right-hand side of the South porch. Some time after Allegra's death, Lord Byron said to Lady Blessington: "While she lived, her existence never seemed necessary to my happiness, but no sooner did I lose her than it appeared to me I could not live without her." Two years to the day after his daughter's death, Byron himself died of a fever, at Missolonghi in Greece.
Bio by: Iain MacFarlaine