I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves - Anna Quindlen.
Published July 30th 2012
Jane Austen, Stunning Sights and Sensational Scones
Due to being a dedicated bookworm, I enjoy exploring the environments in which famous authors have written their novels. Luckily for me my parents live in a village near Chawton, which is by Alton in Hampshire. Jane Austen lived in Chawton from the summer of 1809 until she became chronically ill. Jane Austen's House Museum offered me the chance to envisage the lifestyle Jane Austen was accustomed to whilst writing the novels that have become a huge part of my literary education.
I visited the House with my Mother, who is also a fan of Jane Austen. If you are interested in the life of Jane Austen then I fully recommend taking a visit to this museum. You are able to see the table Jane Austen wrote her novels on, learn her family history and take a tour around the house she lived in. You can take the tour at your own pace and in whatever order you find preferable. I think this is a bonus as my mother and I could take as long to look over things as we wanted as well as discussing facts for as long as we wished.
In each room there is information on either what the room is used for, what Jane Austen's relevance to the room is and/or family history in terms of her siblings and/or parents. You get a lot of information in each room and there are also references to her books along with quotes in various places. What I found interesting is that there were 'fish' on display that were used for gambling. Jane Austen mentions 'fish' lot in her books which I must have previously misunderstood, so I actually learnt something in terms of her novels. Fun fact for the day!
As well as this, I learnt about Jane Austen's strong friendship with her sister Cassandra. I had not previously learnt much about the author's personal life so this was something I enjoyed learning about. As a fellow writer, I was delighted to see that many of Austen's themes of sister relationships could be shown to have been transmitted from her own personal experiences.
Currently I am reading 'Pride and Prejudice' and I am wondering how similar Jane and Cassandra's relationship is to the characters of Elizabeth and Jane. I often find that when I write stories I have the tendency to transfer my own experiences into the plot without realising it; this revelation almost gave me a tip from the author that you should write about what you know best.
On that note; an added advantage to visiting Jane Austen's House is the necessity for a cream tea in Cassandra's Cup across the road! I am an experienced scone critic, after working in a Tearoom myself, and I can give Cassandra's Cup a five star rating for their confectioneries. The price range is reasonable. You can get hot and cold drinks, cakes, sandwiches as well as fruit and cheese scones. It is the perfect stop after viewing Jane Austen's House.
Jane Austen's House also has a book store that you can visit when you are finished or even before you start the tour. You can buy different editions of Jane Austen's novels as well as books for academic studies. There are Jane Austen mugs, notebooks and more. You can also shop online if you were interested in seeing what the store has to offer without visiting the location.
Chawton also has more to offer if you were wishing to make your trip there worthwhile. Chawton Church is a very pretty sight to see for those of you that are interested. There are also many cottages in Chawton that you can view at your own leisure.
As well as this, there are a few walks that you can explore. Behind the car park by Cassandra's Cup you can follow a route through some woodland. This is an interesting route to take if the weather is accommodating. It is also fascinating to imagine that these may have been the scenes that Jane Austen described in her books. This walk also allows you to see the fields which may have inspired various walks taken by some of Jane Austen's famous heroines. Another bonus is that all of these walks are free. In reference to the location, there is also free parking for those of you that are driving to Chawton.
Chawton could be a care free day out for any age range. Jane Austen's House is a must for any of you that enjoy her literature. Cassandra's Cup and sights are just an added bonus to this unique experience.
The Jane Austen House Museum is set up as a fraud to deceive the public into believing that Jane Austen wrote the novels that bear her name. As Nicholas Ennos shows in his recently published book "Jane Austen - a New Revelation" the novels were in fact written by her cousin, Eliza de Feuillide. Eliza could not publish them under her own name as she was the secret illegitimate daughter of Warren Hastings, the Governor General of India. The novels were not published from this house, as is falsely claimed on a plaque on the house, but from the home of Eliza de Feuillide in London. There is no evidence that the poorly educated Jane Austen wrote the novels. All of the manuscripts were destroyed and most of Jane Austen's letters and all of Eliza's letters were destroyed by the Austen family to conceal her authorship. What is told to you at the museum is little more than a fairy tale