Jane Austen Bath
(1775 – 1817)


Born on 16 December 1775, Jane Austen was the youngest daughter in a family of eight children. Her father was the Rector of Steventon, near Basingstoke in Hampshire. She had an elder sister, Cassandra and six brothers. Jane had a very happy childhood, educated at home by her mother and enjoying a full social life.
She loved walking in the country, dancing and attending balls accompanied by her brothers and sister.
All her family were encouraged to write their own plays, books and perform in family charades. They were obviously a fun loving, creative, well read and witty group.
As was the custom of the period, the boys in the family were helped to become successful and wealthy but the girls were expected to marry for security. If they did not marry they lived with their parents.
Family moved to Bath
In 1801, when Jane was 26, her father gave the Steventon living to his son James and retired to Bath.
As was the custom, Jane and her sister Cassandra had to go with their parents even though Jane hated leaving her beloved Hampshire and all her friends. She was not happy living in the busy town of Bath and missed her relaxed country life in Hampshire. In 1805 Reverend Austen died and his widow and daughters were forced into financial difficulties, having to rely on the charity of the Austen sons.
They moved away from Bath to live in the home of an elder brother Frank and his wife in Southampton and while on holiday one time, Jane met and fell in love with a young man who unfortunately died. She was extremely distressed but later accepted a proposal of marriage from a wealthy landowner. The next day she broke this engagement and remained single until the day she died.
During the period spent in Bath and the subsequent years spent moving between her brothers’ households, Jane wrote very little. However, in July 1809 Edward offered his mother and two sisters a permanent home on his estate at Chawton in Hampshire. They moved to a small, comfortable house with a pretty garden in the country and Jane’s creative juices started to flow again.
In the seven and a half years that she lived in this home she revised and published Sense and Sensibility (1811) and Pride and Prejudice (1813). Mansfield Park came out in 1814, and Emma in 1816. Although she completed Persuasion it was not published until a year after her death, along with Northanger Abbey in 1818.
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Buried in Winchester Cathedral
In 1816 Jane contracted a tubercular disease of the kidneys for which there was no cure. In 1817 she and her sister rented rooms in Winchester to be close to her physician. Jane Austen died in the early hours of 18 July 1817 and is buried in Winchester Cathedral.
Jane Austen wrote vividly and with an acerbic wit about a world in which she lived. She had experienced everything she wrote about and this authenticity makes her novels a fascinating account of Georgian society and its fashions. Her books have recently been made into lavish and extremely successful films and TV serials.
Chawton, Hampshire
A visit to the small village of Chawton is almost a must for Jane Austen fans. There you will find a fine museum dedicated to her, located in her delightful 17th century red brick house.
Jane Austen Centre & Tea Rooms, Bath
The Jane Austen Centre aims to give an informative view of Bath during Jane Austen’s time. Here you will experience first hand the settings of her Bath novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion
Google Maps - Jane Austen Centre 


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