Chawton House Library

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A view of Chawton House Library taken January 2008
A view of Chawton House Library March 2008

Chawton House Library is located at Chawton House,[1] Chawton, Hampshire.

The Library is now The Centre for the Study of Early Women's Writing, 1600–1830.

Opened in 2003, it has a collection of over 9,000 books together with related original manuscripts. It is set in 275 acres (1.11 km2) of Hampshire countryside, and is used for conferences, filming and more recently as a venue for weddings. The Library works in partnership with the University of Southampton, and provides an important resource for the university's MA in 18th Century Study.[2]

Women Writers[edit]

Below is a list of some of the female authors whose works are to be found at the Library.

Novels on-line project[edit]

The Novels On Line project [3] makes freely accessible the full-text transcripts of some of the rarest works in the Chawton House Library collection. These texts explore broad-ranging themes as satire, slavery, marriage, witchcraft and piracy. In bringing these little-known novels to a wider audience, it is hoped to stimulate interest in these works amongst a new generation of readers. The texts are completely unedited, and have been copied from the originals as accurately as possible. Even printer errors have been retained. This is an ongoing project with more novels and texts being made available on line.


Events are held regularly at the library; these include Open Days, Fellows Lectures and Heritage Open Days.[4]

Knight Collection[edit]

The Library also houses the Knight Collection, a private collection of books belonging to the Knight family who owned and lived at Chawton House for 400 years. This collection of books was once owned by Edward Austen Knight, the brother of Jane Austen, and it is known that she used this collection of books. The library was started by Sandra Lerner, co-founder of Cisco Systems and philanthropist.[5]

Visiting the Library[edit]

Chawton House from the driveway

The house and Library can be visited by the public by prior appointment. Tours of the house are undertaken Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 2.30pm.

The Library can be visited at any time, by appointment. However, first-time visitors are required to bring some form of identification.[6]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°07′42″N 0°59′19″W / 51.1282°N 0.9885°W / 51.1282; -0.9885