Jane Austen’s House in Chawton

Have you ever cried because of a house? In public? Maybe your first house or a dream house,  but what about a house that is not yours and never will be? I am talking about a house that is not yours and never will be? I am talking about a house that is over 200 years old. It creeks in several places and it is always needing repairs. The bricks have different colors and some rooms have been re-purposed to accommodate the museum. Well, I did cry. A lot. I remained stuck in time and space for what seemed a long, but actually was a short time. I could not stop the tears streaming down my face. Embarrassing. Do you think I cared? Not one bit.

It took me completely by surprise. I went to Chawton for the first time last December (2015) and was excited to see the house but never imagine I would start crying just by looking at it. The house was still closed and my dear friend Cass Grafton and I had to take some tea at Cassandra’s Cup waiting for it to open. But it was hard to move. I was magnetized, mesmerized, touched to no end, and just plain frozen.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that every Janeite dreams of visiting Chawton Cottage, the Jane Austen’s House Museum where she wrote Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion. (Northanger Abbey was published in 1817 but it was Jane Austen’s first novel and was written between 1798 and 1803). So there I was imagining our dear Jane writing by the window, watching the road and taming her furiously intelligent and active mind. I went back in time for a minute and felt I was there when she was writing her novels. What a sight to behold.

Have you been there? Please share your experience the first time you saw this precious location. I would like to know I am not the only one a bit crazy. LOL.

Autenesque regards,

Rita Watts

 

 

18 thoughts on “Jane Austen’s House in Chawton

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    1. It was. I went there two days in a row. I was in a daze the first day. Didn’t even remember to take pictures. I took only a few after the visit. The next day I was dressed up in Regency and all kinds of pictures for my page. Now I will start posting them here. Sign up to receive emails so you don’t miss a thing and you shall be prepared for when you can visit. 🙂

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  1. I have never been there but I do hope I will next January! I’m Argentinian and love Jane Austen. I actually believe you because I cried when I went to Jane Austen’s museum in Bath!!! I felt I was so near her!
    Regards, Gabriela

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    1. You were lucky to go toBath first because after Chawton I felt a bit disconnected from her. You are in for a treat. Her presence in Chawton is almost palpable, all over the house. Write me after your visit and tell me if I’m wrong. Meanwhile, if you need any tips let me know. You can send me a message via Facebook or email me @ ritawatts@hotmail.com
      XOXO

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing! I had no idea this existed! I’m in Loa Angeles, but will be spending 3 days in Bath and the rest in London in just a week! I’ve now added this to my itinerary!

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    1. I’m so glad! Let me know if you want more tips! Like where to stay and eat. She lived in Bath for a few years at 4 Sidney Place which is now a hotel and spa. You can actually sleep her very room!!!

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  3. I’d never been at Chawton House but I visited Balzac house at París, Dante’s at Florence, Cervantes’s at Alcalá de Henares, Horacio Quiroga’s at Misiones, Victoria Ocampo’s at San Isidro and it was a wonderful experience mixed with tears ! I hope I’ll go to Chawton someday although I ‘m rather old now to do it! Lovely article, thanks you.

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  4. I was there in 2000 before they put the plexiglass around her desk and the back of my hand “accidentally” touched her writing desk. 🙂 it was a dream come true, seeing every nook and cranny and walking the grounds…..

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    1. Oh… my hand also touch her desk “accidentally” EVEN with the plexi glass…hahahaha! One one Janeite can understand the “feels” when in that magic place. Thanks for commenting. All the best! XOXO,
      Rita

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  5. I feel honoured to have been with you on your first visit. I’ve been many times, but it never fails to move me. It’s the one place where I can feel Jane all around me, never more so than inside the house.

    If you’ve never been and you’re a Jane Austen fan, you must add it to your bucket list!

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    1. I am the one that felt honoured. Can’t wait to be back! I felt her presence the entire time in the house, in the garden, walking to Chawton House, pretty much everywhere around it, but I am sure it was even more intense because of your knowledgeable comments and your company. I couldn’t have had a better one!

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  6. I am so jealous! I haven’t had the chance to visit yet (luckily I went to the museum in Bath but her house must be a totally different experience!). However, I sooo understand how you felt… have you seen Jane’s writing desk at the British Library? I recollect that tears were almost shed…

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