With over four hundred years of history, Chawton House is a fascinating blend of architectural styles and features. Among the many owners to have made their mark is Jane Austen's brother, who was adopted in the 18th Century by the childless Thomas and Catherine Knight who succeeded as Edward Austen-Kinght in 1797. In 1809, he offered a house in Chawton village to his mother and two sisters, Cassandra and Jane, and it was there, now the Jane Austen's House Museum, where Jane began the most prolific period of her writing life.
The estate remained in the knight family until the 1990s when it was sold on a long lease to the newly-formed charity Chawton House Library, so that it could be fully and meticulously restored. A unique organisation, the charity has a rare collection of women's writing from 1600-1830 and offers readers the chance to experience these text in the inspiring setting of Chawton House, which brings their context to life and features paintings of some of the authors. As well as promoting women's writing, the charity preserves the house and manages the estate using traditional farming methods.
Guided tours of the library take place every Tuesday and Thursday at 2:30pm and include a thorough guided tour of the house and library. There are limited places on the tour so it is advisable to book ahead.
Visitors can explore the gardens on a self guided tour from Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm.
Please note that wheelchair access is to the ground floor only which includes the Great Hall and ground floor of the library.