Special service at Winchester Cathedral to honor Jane Austen this weekend


This Saturday, May 1, 2010, there will be a special service at Winchester Cathedral to mark Jane Austen’s burial there and celebrate the opening of the new Jane Austen exhibition. Jane’s father’s Bible will be used as part of the service.

One thing in the press release we found interesting was the statement that “will also redress the fact that only four people were at her funeral and none were women.” We would like to point out that funerals at that time were usually attended only by male immediate family members, so that was not at all unusual.

Since we can’t find a link, the full press release is behind the jump.

Jane Austen service features historic centrepiece

26th April 2010. A special service to mark Jane Austen’s burial at Winchester Cathedral will feature her father’s 200-year-old bible.

The bible dates from 1793 and was used by the Rev George Austen while he served in his Hampshire parish. Readings will be taken from the bible during the service.

It is intended the May 1 event, which is to celebrate the opening of the Cathedral’s Jane Austen exhibition, will also redress the fact that only four people were at her funeral and none were women.

The celebration will see some of her descendents attending and taking part in the Evensong service. Jane remained very close to Hampshire throughout her life and the celebration at the Cathedral reflects her life story. Family from her close friend Mrs Lefroy will also be at the Cathedral for the service.

“This Evensong is the perfect celebration of the opening of our exhibition and Jane’s life,” comments Charlotte Barnaville of Winchester Cathedral. “By bringing her family descendents and supporters to her graveside, and reading from her father’s bible, we are making a wonderful connection with the past and recognising just how influential Jane’s contribution to our literary history continues to be.”

The family will be invited to process to Jane Austen’s grave in the Cathedral at the end of the service and be given the opportunity to pay their respects to one of Hampshire’s and the UK’s most famous daughters.

Winchester Cathedral will be holding a number of events to mark Jane Austen’s life and legacy this year and in the future, there will be opportunities. Events this year include:

· 16-18 July: Jane Austen Weekend (including Regency Dinner) which coincides with the Jane Austen Society AGM

· 5-6 August: Outside theatre production of Pride and Prejudice

· Extended tours which take visitors beyond the Cathedral to see Jane’s final home just beyond the Cathedral Inner Close.

In addition, those coming to Hampshire to see the exhibition are encouraged to explore Jane Austen’s county, particularly the villages of Steventon and Chawton where Jane lived and wrote. St Nicholas Church in Steventon is open for visitors throughout the year and Chawton Cottage, which is now the Jane Austen House Museum provides a fascinating glimpse into what life would have been like for Jane at such a significant time in her life.

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