JANE Austen, author of six novels including Emma and Pride & Prejudice, lived at Chawton Cottage between 1809 and 1817. The property belonged to her brother, Edward, who resided at Chawton House nearby and was gifted to Jane, her mother, and her sister, Cassandra. The women’s friend, Martha Lloyd, also lived with them.
In a previous incarnation, Chawton Cottage was a pub, the New Inn, but problems arose with its reputation after it was the scene of two murders. It had also previously been used as farmers’ lodgings and was again converted for this purpose following Cassandra’s death in 1845. A little over 100 years later, the house was sold out of the Knight family (it having been inherited by Edward on the proviso that he change his last name to Knight to continue the name of the childless previous owners) and bought by Thomas Carpenter, who turned it into a museum dedicated to Jane Austen. He did so in honour of his son, who was killed in World War II, and gifted the completed museum to the British people in 1949.
Upon moving to Chawton Cottage, Jane had completed drafts of three of her six novels, all of which were published while she was living there. Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion were fully written at the house. The desk at which she worked remains part of the museums collection, along with furniture and possessions belonging to the Austen family, pieces of Jane’s jewellery, and manuscripts and first edition copies of her novels.
2017 is a year of particular significance for the Jane Austen House Museum, as it is the bicentenary of the author’s death. Events will be held throughout the year, including the 41 Objects exhibition which links 41 objects from the museums collection (one for each year of her life) to stories of Jane Austen’s life and work.
Physical address: Chawton Cottage, Winchester Road, Chawton, Hampshire
Phone number: +44 1420 83262
Business hours: March to May: 10:30 – 16:30; June to August: 10:00 – 17:00; September to December: 10:30 – 16:30. Closed 24, 25, 26 December. Last entry 30 mins before closing.
DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you buy something after clicking our link to the retailer, we make a small commission on the sale. You can read our full disclosure policy here.
SHARE THIS POST