If you live anywhere near Chawton House, once a home to Jane Austen, you might like to know that they are having a day of FREE entry to the Chawton House Library, as part of a national heritage scheme. It's on Saturday 8th September from 10.30am till 4.30pm.
The Chawton Estate has been closely connected with the Knight family since
the early 16th century. Chawton House was built in 1583 by John Knight and
passed by inheritance to Jane Austen¹s brother, Edward, on the death of
childless cousin, Thomas Knight in 1794. Jane, her mother and her sister
subsequently moved to a house in Chawton village, now Jane Austen¹s House
Museum. Edward himself later changed his surname to Knight.
In 1987, the house was inherited by Richard Knight, but was by then in
such a dilapidated state that radical action was required. In 1993,
following the failure of a plan to convert the estate to a country club and
golf course, the American philanthropist, Sandy Lerner, acquired a 125-year
lease for the purpose of forming a library and study centre based on her
collection of 7,000 works by women writing in English before 1830.
Following ten years of meticulous research, planning and restoration work,
Chawton House Library opened as a research library and study centre in July
Visitors will be able explore the library, the house and the gardens and
there will also be a number of activities going on throughout the day. In
particular, the Hampshire Regency Dancers will be doing dancing
demonstrations of some Blasis Quadrilles which they found in a book in
Chawton House Library. The book was published in 1830 and they may not have
been danced for over 100 years!
There will also be shire horse demonstrations, readings from Jane Austen,
live music from the Liss band and children¹s activities. Refreshments will
also be available in the Old Kitchen. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy
this special day.
To find out more, visit the Chawton website by clicking here