SOME DISTINGUISHED CHARACTERS AND INTERESTING PLACES
SIR RALPH MILBANKE
Sir Ralph Milbanke was not a member of this Chapter but was a regular visitor to Sea Captains’ Lodge for there were strong links between it and Marquis of Granby Lodge, Old Elvet stretching back for many years.
He later became a joining member of Sea Captains Lodge and as such will have been well acquainted with the members of this Chapter at that time.
Sir Ralph’s daughter, Lady Ann Isabella Milbanke better known as Annabella, was married to Lord Byron at Seaham Hall on 2nd January 1815.
John Cam Hobhouse, a good friend of Byron, travelled from London with him to arrange the marriage settlements and to act as a sort of ‘best man’. He gives a detailed account of the marriage, which took place in the upstairs drawing room at 11 am.
He reports that the little bells of Seaham Church struck up after the ceremony concluded and half a dozen men fired muskets in front of the house.
The marriage was a failure but it did produce a daughter, Lady Ada Lovelace, who excelled at mathematics and became famous for assisting Charles Babbage (the father of the computer) with his Analytical Machines a century before the computer, as we know it today, was invented.
She invented a system of punch cards and many acclaim her as the first computer programmer - certainly the American Defence Dept. named their new computer language Ada in 1980 to honour her pioneering work.
Sir Ralph became Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Durham in 1799.