Chawton House Library

Chawton House Library, Chawton, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 1SJ
01420 541010

Welcome to Chawton House Library, a registered charity based within the South Downs National Park in Hampshire, UK. Concentrating on education and heritage, the charity holds a unique collection of early women’s writing circa 1600 – 1830.

Registered Charity No. 1026921

With over 400 years of history, Chawton House is a rich blend of architectural styles and features, set in idyllic Hampshire countryside. Jane Austen’s brother, Edward, who became the heir of the childless Knight family relations, inherited the estate in 1794. He settled his mother and sisters, Jane and Cassandra, in a cottage in the village, where Jane began the most prolific period of her writing career. Jane loved the “great house”, as she described it, and she often visited and dined here whenever she could and especially when her brother was in residence.

The estate remained in the ownership of the Knight family until the 1990s, when it was acquired under a long lease and then meticulously restored, thanks to the generosity of American philanthropist, Sandy Lerner. A new charity – Chawton House Library – was formed in 2003 when it opened to the public.

Concentrating on academic research, educational outreach and heritage, the charity is home to a unique collection of early English women’s writing from 1600 – 1830. We offer academics, scholars and the general reader the chance to research and engage with a wealth of texts in the inspiring setting of Chawton House, where the historic literary location and rural tranquility contextualise and complement the material. The charity’s remit includes conserving the house and the 275 acre estate being managed along late 18th and early 19th century lines.

A warm and friendly welcome and a memorable experience awaits all our visitors. From the opportunity, quite literally, to walk in the footsteps of Jane Austen to seeing the notable art and literary collections, and from enjoying the stunning views with the estate’s shire horses in the foreground to strolling through the gardens, there is much to do, admire and reflect upon. There is also a regular and varied programme of events throughout the year, including guided tours of the house and gardens, international conferences, music recitals, open air theatre, children’s holiday activities, literary events – including book launches, workshops and much more.

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Visitor Information

Location, Contact and Booking
Chawton House Library
GU34 1SJ

Transport Information

By car: From London/NE, take the A3/A31via Guildford/Farnham. Chawton is clearly signposted from A31/A32 roundabout nr Alton. From the SW follow the A31 from Winchester to Alton. Chawton House Library is near the church.

By train: Trains run regularly from Waterloo to Alton and taxis can be found at the station.

Booking Information

Visit our website for details