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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Jane Austen in Southampton

Following her father George's death in January 1805, Jane Austen, her mother and sister Cassandra eventually settled in Southampton, where they stayed until mid-1809.

In March 1807 they took a house in Castle Square, on the site of the Juniper Berry pub (images left and below). Jane attended at least two dances in the Dolphin Hotel (images right and below) in a ballroom on the first floor (behind the bay windows).

Sadly, many of Southampton's historic buildings were lost owing to bomb damage in WW2, including All Saints, the church where Jane worshipped, on the high street.

The City of Southampton Society has published a free heritage trail leaflet so that you can follow in Jane's footsteps.



All photos (c) Sue Wilkes.
Engraving of Southampton High Street in the 1890s from Our Own Country, 1898. Author's collection.

The Dolphin Hotel can be seen on the right hand side of the street in the illustration.


  1. Happy New Year Sue. Using the letters she wrote from Castle Square you can follow a Jane trail in Southampton
    In the Tudor House Museum just down the road from castle Square there is a painting showing the only, probable, view of the house in caslte Square. Until i saw the actual picture i always thought it was a small distant view howvere the painting is quite lareg and shows the house close up.

    In the letter she wrote describing a ball at The Dolphin she mentions the Lance daughters. The Lance's lived in Bitterne Park and there are two roads named after the Lance family. Also Netley Abbey just outside of Southampton to the East,where the Austens often picnicked is also worth a visit.

  2. There is a small stone medieval shelter next to the River Itchen on the town side where passengers for the Itchen Ferry would sit if it was raining. Jane must have used it.. She took her nephews , Edward's sons, rowing on the river from here and she crossed the Itchen when she went to visit the Lance family at Bitterne. (Bitterne gets its name from the Bitterne bird that used to be common in the area.)

  3. I notice you mention All Saints Church, Sue. Jane mentions Dr Mant in her letters.. Dr Mant was the ,"intellectual," vicar of All Saints who had problems with the ladies. Jane gets quite scandalous in her comments about him. And, poor Martha Lloyd her best friend gets stick over Dr Mant.

  4. Thanks very much for all your comments Tony! Yes, I have visited Netley Abbey - it is a very romantic spot - and will do a blog post in the future when I have more time - book deadline is imminent!

  5. I have had a close look at your picture of 18th century Southampton. The two churches which are evident are first on the right Hollyrood Church which stilll exists in ruins. It has a wonderful Titanic memorial inside its precinct. The next church with a steeple as you go towards The Bargate at the end of the street is St Lawrence. There is no evidence for that left. You can just about see the portico entrance of All Saints. It was close to The Bargate. It had a Greek columned portico entrance and didn't have a steeple like the others.The top part of its entrance is just to the right of The bargate if you look very closely. The very first flag on the right seems to come out of its roof..

    Have a Great New Year, Tony (My old history teacher did a lot of research on Neltey Abbey by the way and in his retirement gives talks about it.)

  6. Hello again Tony, yes, we saw the Titanic memorial at Holy Rood church while we were there. Happy New Year to you, too!