Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire, is the house where Jane Austen lived and wrote. It is the most treasured Austen site in the world.
It was here that Jane’s genius flourished and where she wrote, revised and had published all her major works: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
Jane lived at what is now Jane Austen’s House Museum for the last eight years of her life. She moved here in 1809 with her mother, sister Cassandra and friend Martha Lloyd after a period spent living in lodgings. The house was owned by Jane’s brother Edward, who had been adopted by the wealthy Knight family and had since inherited the Chawton Estate. The house – a 17th century building – was offered to the women rent-free for life.
In May 1817, after a period of ill health, Jane Austen left the village to seek medical treatment in Winchester. She died two months later on 18 July 1817. Jane’s mother and sister continued to live at the house for the rest of their lives. In 1845 the house was split into three dwellings to provide homes for staff on the Chawton estate and the building remained in this state until it was put up for sale in 1947.
After an appeal by the Jane Austen Society, the house was bought by Mr. T.E. Carpenter who turned it into a Museum dedicated to the life and works of Jane Austen, opening to the public in 1949.
Today, Jane Austen’s House Museum is a Grade I listed building and one of the most important literary sites in the world, attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year. The Museum holds an important collection of objects associated with Jane Austen, including letters written by Jane and personal effects belonging to her and her family. Particular highlights include her jewellery, first editions of her books, furniture, textiles and the table at which she wrote her much loved novels.
Visitors to the Museum can freely explore Jane’s home and beautiful cottage garden whilst learning about her life through exhibitions and displays. Hands-on activities for all ages can be found alongside in-depth information panels and family objects, housed in the rooms that Jane would have known. Then, once visitors have had their fill of the enchanting atmosphere, the Museum shop with a large selection of souvenirs is well worth a browse. Schools and colleges are welcome too, with a dedicated Learning Officer ready to inspire and transport classes back to early 19th century Hampshire.
Jane Austen’s House Museum has Accredited Museum status under Arts Council England’s Accreditation Scheme and is a registered charity in receipt of no regular public funding. If you would like to support us by making a donation to the Museum, please visit our Support Us pages.