On this trip to England I am staying in Jane Austen country.
Jane was born less than 10 miles away from Basingstoke in Steventon and lived there until she was 25. At the end of her life she lived about 12 miles away at Chawton.
On our way back from visiting customers today we stopped at Chawton to see Jane Austen’s house. The house is home to a museum, but it is only open on weekends at this time of year.
Jane lived here with her mother and sister from 1809 until shortly before her death in 1817. She was living here when her first novels were published and it is also where she wrote her later ones.
From Chawton we traveled on a narrow country road to Steventon. The road was so narrow that at times we had to stop while letting people come from the opposite direction. It was a very scenic road. In the picture above you can see hedge rows on both sides of the road.
While traveling along this road I imagined horse drawn wagons and carriages using it back at the time of Jane Austen. Perhaps she traveled the same way when visiting her brother at Steventon.
In Steventon we stopped to take a few pictures of the church where Jane’s father served as rector. The rectory where Jane grew up is no longer standing, but this is the church where Jane worshiped for the first 25 years of her life and also where she would visit when her brother James was the rector.
Jane wrote the drafts of her first three novels while living in the rectory at Steventon.
Here is the hotel that I am staying at in Basingstoke. The Audleys Wood Hotel was built in the 1880’s, so was not around when Jane Austen was alive. However, Jane would go shopping and attend social events in Basingstoke.
The hotel has a Jane Austen suite as well as a Cassandra suite which is named for her mother and sister.
If you are interested in some literary tourism, this hotel would be a good place to stay while you explore Jane Austen country. Although the building was built in the 1880’s it was designed to look older and you do get the feel of the 1700’s when you stay here.
It was nice to see the environment where Jane Austen lived and it will help bring more color to her books the next time I read one of them.
Have you visited Jane Austen country?
See also: A Janeite Journey
Love Jane Austen!
how amazing and a beautiful place
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