hen Jane’s brother Edward inherited the Chawton manor house from childless relatives, he offered a nearby cottage on the estate to his mother and two sisters.
Jane would spend the most productive years of her literary life there. She regularly came and went along the road between her cottage (now Jane Austen’s House Museum) to the Elizabethan property she called the ‘Great House’, where she dined with her family and happily ‘dawdled away’ much of her time.
The ‘Great House’ is now a fast developing visitor attraction complete with Austen family heirlooms, as well as a world-renowned research centre for early women’s writing. In 2018, the foundation that has funded us for many years is focusing its funding on other projects, and we are facing a shortfall of 65% of our income. We know Jane Austen’s ‘Great House’, should be a major historic literary landmark but it does not currently have the facilities to reach its full potential.
We have ambitious plans to create a cultural literary destination within the wider grounds of the ‘Great House’, offering larger and more extensive visitor facilities and providing an enhanced experience of the Chawton estate that was Jane Austen’s home throughout the final, productive years of her life.
The reimagining of Jane’s ‘Great House’ into a more recognised, commercially viable destination will help secure the house, the wider estate, and also our unique collection of early women’s writing and books we know Jane Austen read in her brother’s library. Our treasures include an original manuscript in Jane Austen’s own hand, first and early editions of all of her novels, and also works by important women writers who inspired her, and whom she inspired.
We need your help to turn this vision into reality. Please help see us through to the next chapter by donating to our appeal or by getting involved in our fundraising.