OVER the years, much has been written about Jane Austen, the novelist, but a new book, that has just recently been published, has a unique story to tell about this young talented lady.

Written by Rupert Willoughby, who lives at Sherborne St John and has already produced several other books on local matters, the story describes the association that Jane Austen had with The Vyne, at Sherborne St John, during the latter part of the 18th century.

Jane Austen was a vicar’s daughter who lived a quiet life at Steventon village, near Basingstoke, and was the sixth of seven children.

In 1795, at the age of 19, she wrote her first novel, Eleanor and Marianne, but the book was not published until 1811, when it appeared anonymously under the title Sense and Sensibility. Her authorship was not made public until after her death in 1917, when she was 41 years old.

Jane’s association with The Vyne was through her elder brother, the Rev James Austen, who was the vicar of Sherborne St John for 28 years and a close friend of the Chute family, who lived in the large mansion.

The Vyne is a fine example of a Tudor building, which originally was the residence of Lord Sandys, who was a popular figure with Henry VIII.

In later years, the Chute family took over the mansion and its estate, and it was during this time that Jane Austen used to visit the house with her brother.

When William John Chute took over the lordship of the estate, he neglected the house and the land.

Upon his death in 1824, his successor, William Wiggett Chute, changed the estate into a more thriving community, which included establishing a school in the village.

Rupert Willoughby thoroughly researched his subject to produce his book, Sherborne St John and The Vyne in the time of Jane Austen, which has many interesting facts about the characters who lived locally during that time.

The book is on sale at most local bookshops at the price of £9.95.