The themes John Byrom wrote about


John Byrom or John Byrom of Kersal or John Byrom of Manchester FRS was an English poet and inventor of a revolutionary system of shorthand. He is also remembered as the writer of the lyrics of Anglican hymn Christians Awake, salute the happy morn.

Early Life

John Byrom was descended from an old genteel Lancashire family. A Ralph Byrom came to Manchester from Leigh in 1485, and became a prosperous wool merchant. His son Adam acquired property in Salford, Darcy Lever, Bolton and Ardwick (though his wealth did not prevent his mentally ill daughter from being accused of witchcraft). Edward Byrom helped to foil a Royalist plot to seize Manchester in 1642.

Byrom was born at what is now The Old Wellington Inn (part of the Old Shambles), Manchester, in 1692, (The property was then used as an office for market tolls, with accommodation on the upper floors.) The Wellington Inn is now a major tourist attraction, and his birth is commemorated by a plaque in the bar area. However, some sources claim that he was born at Kersal Cell in Lower Kersal in the township of Broughton, near Salford just outside Manchester. According to Bailey he was one of the tallest men in the kingdom.

His privileged background enabled him to obtain an excellent education, including The King's School, Chester, Merchant Taylors' School, London. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, becoming a fellow there in 1714, and subsequently travelled abroad and studied medicine at Montpellier in France.

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