Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)
Pioneer of computer software
One Hundred years before the first electronic computer Ada Lovelace wrote the first programme, and predicted a computer imitating human creativity. She was the last Byron buried here in the family vault.
The only legitimate daughter of Lord Byron, her interest in mathematics was defined by the bitter separation of her parents. Her mother pushed her into the logical world of science to prevent Ada developing the ‘madness’ of her father.
In 1834 she met Charles Babbage, who was working on his ‘Analytical Engine’; a mechanical computer. While he was working on the hardware he asked Ada to deal with mathematical problems which might be solved using the engine. She produced an algorithm; a computer programme, the world’s first piece of software.
She remained fascinated by the father she never knew; describing herself as a ‘poetical scientist’. This spiritual aspect led her to contemplate a future where computers did more than crunch numbers. She suggested a computer could produce music. Her ideas would influence Alan Turing’s theories of Artificial Intelligence.
She died of cancer aged 36 and requested to be buried with her father in our church.
You can find out more about Ada in church and see her last resting place, beneath the chancel.