Published: May 2017

Archaeology Greets Jane Austen

by unearthing her birthplace and first home

Although the location of Steventon Rectory is "universally" known its disappearance from the landscape has been long lamented. This publication reveals the outcome of the Steventon Rectory Project to the present date.

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Steventon Rectory Papers: Whispers, Shadows & Facts

The Austen family moved into Steventon Rectory in 1768.  Jane Austen was born there on 16th December 1775.  It was to be her home for the next 25 years, and it was there that she penned the drafts of Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility and Northanger Abbey.  What we know about the Rectory building is drawn from historical documents and from memoirs of family descendants. Jane’s brother, James, and his family took over the Rectory in 1801 and, subsequently, her brother Henry for a short time before the house disappeared from the landscape.  It is, therefore, left to the visitors' mind's eye, with the aid of sketch drawings, to conjure up an imaginary structure within the empty scenic meadow.

The Rectory was home to the Austen family for approximately 54 years but very little is known about the building or their time there. The Steventon Rectory Project brought together a multi-skilled community team comprising voluntary individuals, academic and professional organisations from a wide variety of areas, with the objective of exploring below ground surface remains to gain an insight into the Austen home and their lifestyle.




Please note that the Rectory location is private land with no public access.
Anyone entering without Landowner permission will be trespassing and breaking UK law.

The archaeological excavation of Steventon Rectory reached completion at the end of February 2012 and the area has returned to meadow. The project findings and continuing research are compiled as the Steventon Rectory Papers (SRP): Archive and Corpus - copyright D. Charlton.

Jane Austen Society of the UK