Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Jane Austen House.

IMG_1731Today I was in Chawton for the Jane Austen Society Annual General Meeting. (More on that in the next post). The highlight of the visit was touring the Jane Austen House Museum, also known as Chawton Cottage. IMG_1768This is Chawton Cottage from the back. from the road it looks like a large square building but I had always wondered what the back was like. Here you can see it is more ‘L’ shaped. The upstairs window on the far left is Jane’s room.


I can’t tell you how it feels to take a curve in the road and suddenly be looking at a place that I have longed to see for years. Chawton Cottage is where Jane wrote or revised all of her novels.

IMG_1757The quilt on display was made by Jane, Cassandra, and their mother, from clothing pieces. IMG_1752This was Jane’s bedroom up until the last few weeks of her life when they stayed in Winchester to seek better medical help for her.IMG_1750

IMG_1760This is the view from Jane Austen’s bedroom window out the back of the house toward the bakehouse.

IMG_1745That precious little table is where she sat composing some of the greatest writings in the English language.

IMG_1749The stairs she walked up, the doorframes she passed through, the window sill she leaned against, all touched me with her spirit.

IMG_1723The surrounding countryside is beautiful. The land here is more heavily wooded than I supposed, with meadows and farmland. IMG_1764The area around her home is a lovely low walled garden, serene and beautiful. It is not hard to imagine what it would have looked like then.

IMG_1746200 years ago Jane would have been composing the ending chapters of Mansfield Park, my favorite of her six novels. Was she already feeling weary from the illness that would claim her? As tragic as her destiny was, I can see that she must have found peace in the lovely garden and the ever changing verdure of the countryside she loved.

In some respects this was a pilgrimage for me. After reading her novels, juvenalia, letters, and several biographies, the people in them begin to seem like friends and neighbors. I know they say everyone who loves Jane Austen thinks they know Jane Austen. I feel I know her more closely now after visiting this place that was so important to her.

It was a lovely day.


P.S. I must say something about my dear husband today. As some of you know he is deployed oversees. Today was his birthday and he didn’t have the best day. And here I am having the time of my life traveling etc. I just want him to know I was thinking of him often…….. Jon, I love you with all my heart and I can’t wait until we are together again. So many times I wish you would have been with me to smile, make me laugh, give me a little hug, or just share in the moment.

Love always, Lynnae


  1. I love this post - as someone who has never seen Jane's home and wants to badly, it was almost like being there! Thank you!

  2. Dang, I got all teary there at the writing desk. What a great post.

  3. I added in another picture I had left out. What is now the second picture shows Jane Austen's house from the back yard. I'd wondered about that.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing! You have taken my dream trip, you lucky-duck!

    I'll be back when I have more time to drink it all in.


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