THE MUSUEM of a house of one of Basingstoke’s best-known authors is appealing to the public to help save a precious section of one of the writer’s letters.

Jane Austen’s House Museum, in Chawton, has turned to the public to help save a section of a letter that Austen wrote in 1814, that she penned at the cottage which became the museum building.

The letter, dated November 29, 1814, was written by the author from Steventon during a visit to London, where she was staying at her brother Henry’s home. She was in London at the time to discuss a second edition of her famous book, Mansfield Park.

Addressed to Anna Austen, her niece, the letter mentions her Chawton home and includes glimpses into family detail and social history of the time.

Part of the letter pertains to family connections, reading: “I like first Cousins to be first Cousins, and interested about each other. They are but one remove from Br. and Sr.”

The letter finishes with a trip to the theatre, about which Austen quipped: “I took two pocket hankerchiefs, but had very little occasion for either.”

The museum must raise £10,000 before July 31 towards the purchase cost of this rare fragment of history for display, or it could go to private ownership.

The museum is looking to add to its collection of 12 letters written by Austen and others written by her close family circle.

If the museum is successful in in getting the letter, it would display it for the rest of the year as a part of the current ‘Making the Museum’ exhibition, which is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the opening of the museum.

So far, the museum has managed to get a proportion of the £35,000 negotiated price for the letter fragment, including £9,000 to be drawn from the Collecting Cultures grant awarded to the museum in 2015 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

For more information or to donate to the museum’s efforts, visit:


Dr Mary Guyatt, director of Jane Austen’s House Museum, said: “Thanks to the support of funders including the National Lottery Heritage Fund, we are well on our way to seeing this important item safe and secure in Jane Austen’s own home.

“We are now calling on the Museum’s loyal supporters to take us over the finish line.”