Winchester Cathedral – Jane Austen’s Final Resting Place
When you enter the impressive Cathedral your eyes are first drawn up to its massive height and intricate ceiling. Maybe that was the intention when it was built – to make you look up in reverence to the Heavens above. We shall explore that another time. Today I would like just to share my experience in such an astounding place. I had just come back from 8 College Street, the small house where she spent her last days. I was already in quite an alarming heightened state of awe and sorrow. Thank goodness my heart is very healthy and kept beating touched, but steady. You can see the quaint house I mention in the video below. It is quite short because a jogger stomps by unaware of my emotions and ruins the footage. But the point is not to make you sad so it is better that is quite quick.
So after making such a visit and imagining the short walk her brothers did carrying her from the house to the Cathedral (women did not attend funerals so Cassandra had to stay at the house) I walk around inside the vessel not sure if I wanted to find her tomb but knowing I had to. I took a picture by the beautiful golden plaque (placed many years later) but my face was quite distorted by emotions so you shall be spared. Why so emotional, you might ask. The majesty of her life and work meeting the simplicity of the carved stone on the floor is extremely touching, that is why. It is a striking dichotomy of her life. Other several dichotomies follow her wherever she is mentioned. A noble creature or a simpleton spinster? A witty and ingenious writer or a confined chronicler of busy nothings? An inspired detective of the souls or just a lucky guesser? There will always be naysayers but he or she who can experience the places where she wandered and the lives that she changed will always be touched. I promise you.
Right below the word Redeemer you should see my hand but I did not manage to take a decent picture with one hand on the phone and one on the ground. Even better, you can imagine your own because I am sure you will be tempted to do so. It is the closest you can get to her human form and for that I am really, really grateful to have made this trip. A special thank you to Cass Grafton (The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen) for her warm and insightful company and my husband who doesn’t quite grasp the idea why I had to go see a grave of a dead author in another country but did not raise too much of a fuss. Tee hee!
For more interesting reading about causes of her death visit:
For more details about her life and death (Non-Fiction):
- Jane Austen, Her Life and Letters A Family Record by Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh and William Austen-Leigh
- Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin
For great fun and a curious reading experience (Fiction):
The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen