Percy Bysshe Shelley was born in 1792 near Horsham in Sussex. He was educated at Eton and later at Univesity College, Oxford. However, he was expelled for promulgating atheist views via a pamphlet jointly written with others.
He died in 1822 while living in Italy. He was out sailing and was drowned.
A self-declared atheist from the age of 19, it is often thought that Shelley's remains were cremated on the beach as a result of his unconventional views. In fact, local laws dictated that any remains washed up from the sea must be burned and his cremation was overseen by local authorities.
The event was grisly and friends described the stench as unimaginable. The primitive techniques used meant much remained of the body after cremation.
His wife Mary Shelley, author of the classic novel Frankenstein, was presented with his unburned heart as a keepsake. His ashes were buried in Rome.