forthcoming publication 2016 by Deborah Charlton
Archaeology Greets  Jane Austen

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.

Serendipity ........... 'discovery of things by chance sagacity'. Horace Walpole (1754)

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Steventon Rectory Project

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  What we know about the Rectory building is drawn from historical documents and from memoirs of family descendants.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.


Last day of the dig at Stevonton Rectory

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. Those who have been involved, so far, are Archaeo Briton; Group Geophysics Leader (2007) University of Reading; Honorary Secretary of Jane Austen Society of the UK; Specialist GPR Surveyor, Arrow Geophysics; Archaeological Consultant, Minas Tirith Ltd (ArcServ); Archaeological Photography, Aerial-cam; Heritage Building & Landscapes Ltd; Marquee provider, Site & Sound Windsor; Catering supplies, Vansittart Arms Windsor; archaeology societies members of Basingstoke (BAHS), Winchester (WARG), Farnborough (NEHHAS); archaeology students from University of Winchester, Reading, Leicester and UCL London; Chairman of the historical society of North Waltham, Steventon, Ashe and Dean (NWSAD); Hampshire County Council Museum Service; Willis Museum Basingstoke; Landowner, local Farmers’ and Steventon community; family and friends. Ground Penetrating Radar survey funding was awarded from English Heritage (2008) and assistance from Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation with receiving Heritage Lottery Fund award (2011).

Jane Austen Society of the UK Minas Tirith Ltd (ArcServ) Heritage Lottery Fund Basingstoke Archaeological & Historical Society
Arrow Geophysics Aerial Cam Willis Museum BBC Online BBC South Today (Nov 2011) interview