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JASNA Puget Sound Bench at Chawton House

At the region meeting on October 13, 2019 JASNA Puget Sound committed to sponsoring a bench on the grounds of Chawton House.


Cartoon picture of Jane Austen on bench viewed from behind


What is Chawton House?

Chawton House in Hampshire is “The Great House” formerly belonging to Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight, just up the road from the cottage where she herself resided for some years and which became Jane Austen's House Museum. Jane walked up to the “Great House” regularly during her years in Chawton in order to dine there with family, to spend time with her motherless nieces and nephews, to explore the gardens, and to worship at St. Nicholas church next door.

Presently, Chawton House safeguards the Knight family’s library books, a few important paintings and antiques, as well as an extraordinary collection of works by early women writers. These works were assembled during the 1990s by American philanthropist Sandy Lerner, founder of Cisco Systems, after discovering how understudied and uncollected many early women authors were. Chawton House has, subsequently, become a center for the study of the female pens that preceded and inspired Austen’s own: many scholars, bibliophiles, and philanthropists have added to the core collection. Much new scholarship has emerged from work done on site.

Why this bench?

The Need: The Austen Trail and its quotation markers have become very popular. Right now, there are not enough benches in the garden for visitors to linger. Also, existing benches are in mismatched styles and levels of disrepair. As more visitors come to Chawton House, help them to enjoy their visit in comfort, with time to sit and enjoy the views that Austen, too, admired.

The Benches: Large durable Lutyens benches, which should last for many years and fit the style of the gardens have been selected. These benches were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who also designed some terraces at Chawton House. Donations will go towards the purchase and installation of each bench, as well as towards the running of Chawton House. Sponsors will be helping both inside and out.

The Location: Puget Sound Region has committed to sponsor bench number 26 which has a lovely green vista that even includes sheep! It is at one of the outer edges of the walk where visitors will surely want to linger before returning to the house.

View from region bench


We now need to raise the funds to pay for this two-thousand-dollar promise. We collected pledges of 300 dollars at the meeting and now hope to complete the pledge and send in our donation over the next few weeks.

If you would like to donate any amount to this fund you may mail checks to:

Agnes Gawne
Regional Coordinator
JASNA Puget Sound
4903 Fremont Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103

Please make the check payable to "JASNA Puget Sound"

If you prefer you may make a donation using PayPal:

Last update: 22nd October, 2019

This page is © 2019 James Petts