Last month I had the wonderful experience of visiting Jane Austen’s home in Chawton, England, in Hampshire. Her house is on the main street in the little village of Chawton, and it was a lovely autumn day for wandering throughout her home, with costumes from recent Jane Austen films interspersed throughout the rooms. One room had an exhibit about “Jane Austen in love.” I especially loved seeing the colorful wallpaper, with shades of yellow and green, throughout the house. Outside of the house was a peaceful garden, as well as a wonderful gift shop, full of books, tea, fudge, ornaments, and even Jane Austen ducks!
We ate lunch across the street at “Cassandra’s Cup,” named after Jane’s sister Cassandra, which had teacups hanging from the ceiling, and a delicious variety of paninis.
From there we strolled up the street to Chawton House, which was owned by Jane’s brother Edward.
“Lucky Edward” was adopted into the Knight family, relatives of Jane’s family. Jane and her mother and sister often visited Edward at Chawton House, and they attended the little church nearby, St. Nicholas Church. Jane’s mother and sister are buried in the church yard there.
Chawton House houses the research library of The Centre for the Study of Early Women’s Writing, 1600–1830, using the building’s connection with Jane Austen. While we were at the house, there was a wonderful exhibit about women travel writers.
While I can’t claim to have read all of Jane Austen’s books, it was wonderful to delve into her life, and learn a lot more about this amazing woman writer, who is one of the best known and loved authors of all times.