16th December 1775 – 18th July 1817
The family moved to Bath in 1800 when her father retired and stayed there until after his death in 1805.
In July 1809, Jane moved to Chawton with her sister Cassandra and her mother. This was the beginning of the most prolific phase of Jane’s life. Sense and Sensibility was released in 1811, Pride and Prejudice in 1813, Mansfield Park in 1814 and Emma in 1815. Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were both published after her death in 1817.
The books brought her little fame during her lifetime as they were published anonymously.
Jane and her sister would, like other ladies of their class, have spent their days looking after the poor and the sick in the area, teaching the local children to read or to write, attending relatives who were sick or during childbirth, supervising servants, sewing, reading and playing the pianoforte. Jane wrote almost daily, sitting at a little table. Her writing was secret and a squeaking door gave her notice of advancing visitors, so that she could hide her work. There is evidence that Jane was relieved of some of the domestic work in order to allow her more time for her writing.
Jane Austen’s house is 11.5 miles from Langrish House. A pony and carriage can trot at 8.7 miles per hour so it would have been perfectly possible for Jane to have visited Langrish House in a day, or for the owners of Langrish House to have paid a visit to Chawton.
The drive between Chawton and Langrish is particularly pretty. The road (now the A32) winds through the Rother valley and is an example of Hampshire Countryside at its best.
With its close proximity to the homes and haunts of Jane Austen, Langrish House regularly welcomes fans of the writer from all over the world. Here we have compiled a list of some of the places that make up ‘Jane Austen’s’ Hampshire and which our guests may like to visit.
St. Nicholas Church: George Austen, Jane’s father, was rector at St. Nicholas Church, which dates back to the 1200s, in Steventon, a village in the Hampshire countryside. Jane was christened there on April 5, 1776. A bronze plaque in the church is dedicated to the writer, her elder brother’s grave and those of other relatives are in the churchyard.
The 1000-year old yew out front, in which Jane’s father used to hide the church key, still yields berries – its secret, central hollow intact.
The Rectory, where the family lived, was just down the lane from the church. Other than a towering lime tree, the offspring of one planted by Jane’s brother James, that marks the spot where the family may have stood, nothing remains at the site of the rectory today.
While living at the Rectory in Steventon Jane and her sister were invited to visit the Hansons of Farleigh House and the Dorchesters of Kempshott Park where Jane attended a New Year’s ball in 1800.
The Wheatsheaf Inn in North Waltham is believed to be where Jane used to walk to collect the family’s post.
Jane Austen’s House: The small cottage (actually not that small by today’s standards) was on a large estate owned by Jane’s brother Edward. It’s here that Jane edited or wrote all of her stories, began to be published, and celebrated the publication of Pride & Prejudice. The house is open to the public daily; weekends only during January and February.
Chawton House built c.1583-91 by the Knight family, it was owned by Edward Austen Knight and Jane’s mother and sister, Cassandra, are buried on the estate. From 1996 to 2003, extensive restoration work was carried out on the house and estate, prior to the opening of Chawton House Library.
Chawton House Library is a UK registered charity set in the home and working estate of Jane Austen’s brother. It houses a unique collection of books focusing on women’s writing in English from 1600 to 1830. Guided tours of the house and library take place every Tuesday and Thursday, March to December (Tuesdays only in January and February).
Langrish House: As one of the substantial Manor Houses in close proximity to Jane’s home in Chawton, it is likely that she and her family would have visited the house. A pony and carriage can trot at 8.7 miles per hour so it would have been perfectly possible for Jane to have made the journey in little over an hour. The drive between Chawton and Langrish is particularly pretty. The road (now the A32) winds through the Rother valley and is an example of Hampshire Countryside at its best.
It was whilst Jane was visiting her brothers Charles and Frank, both serving officers in the Royal Navy in Portsmouth, that she was influenced to write Mansfield Park.
Jane, her mother and sister Cassandra moved to Southampton after the death of her father in 1805. Jane found living in a city a challenge after her country childhood. We know from surviving correspondence that the women spent much of their time out of doors, walking along the city walls, taking excursions to the River Itchen and the ruins of Netley Abbey and traveling up the Beaulieu River to Buckler’s Hard, an 18th century shipbuilding village.
In 1817, suffering from a kidney disorder, Jane Austen went to Winchester to be close to her physician. She only lived a few weeks in a house in College Street (now privately owned). It was while at Winchester shortly before her death that she wrote the short poem Winchester at the Races in honour of St Swithun.
She died, aged just 41 years, on 18th July 1817 and was laid to rest in Winchester Cathedral. A memorial stone marks Jane’s tomb but makes no reference to her literary achievements. A brass plaque was added in 1872 to redress this. In 1900 a stained glass memorial window was erected in her memory.
The City Museum in Winchester displays a small collection of Austen memorabilia, including a handwritten poem entitled, I’ve a Pain in My Head, written around 1811.