The Pemberley Post, No. 8 (Feb 18-24, 2019) ~ Jane Austen and More!

Welcome to my weekly round-up: from amorous footmen to Dickens’s shoddy treatment of his wife, the upstanding Mr. Knightley, and dieting with Jane; with further thoughts on the taxation of dogs, the Mona Lisa, dust jackets and Austen’s Sanditon – can one have a life without knowing all this??


A new journal to be launched in April: The Southampton Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research‘s enthusiastic PhD students have just launched a fabulous new online, Open Access peer reviewed journal called Romance, Revolution and Reform:


If you’ve been watching Victoria on Masterpiece (and you should be…), here’s a real-life tale along the lines of The Footman and the Duchess: “The Amorous Footman”:


Mrs. Dickens (image: TLS)

So, it’s common knowledge now that Dickens left his wife for another woman – Ellen Tiernan the actress (fabulous book on this by Claire Tomalin: The Invisible Woman – if you have not read this, go out and buy it right now) – but letters recently discovered and studied by Professor John Bowen reveal that Dickens tried, like so many other men who had strayed and wanted out, to have his wife Catherine declared insane and institutionalized…

  • and also this at the Smithsonian:

Harvard University [Image: University of York]

And more on Dickens (he loved decorating his home, worked from home, had no musical talent, etc…):


Aunt Busy Bee’s New London Cries (Image: Spitalfields Life)

Lovely images – Cries of London:


An archived Austenonly post on Mr. Knightley, Magistrate:

New book out on Jane Austen: The Jane Austen Diet: Austen’s Secrets to Food, Health, and Incandescent Happiness, by Bryan Kozlowski. See the Jane Austen VOGUE (of all places!) for an article on the author, the book, and Jane as a nutritionist! (lots of meat, lots of walking…)


Ever wonder why the Mona Lisa is so famous?? (I wonder about this every day…) – here’s the answer:

For you Bard-Lovers out there (and who isn’t?), how about starting a Shakespeare Book Club?


Into Dust Jackets? – here is an old essay in Publishers Weekly about a book on jackets from 1920-1970, published in 2017: (great covers here – even one by NC Wyeth):


A Cook Book we should all have, recently catalogued at the Lewis Walpole Library:

Smith, Mary, of Newcastle. The complete house-keeper, and professed cook : calculated for the greater ease and assistance of ladies, house-keepers, cooks, &c. &c. : containing upwards of seven hundred practical and approved receipts … / by Mary Smith …Newcastle: Printed by T. Slack, for the author, 1772.

You can read it all here:


Well, since we just got a dog (our 5th Springer Spaniel), I can’t resist passing this on from All Things Georgian – we all know of some of the ridiculous taxes imposed on the Georgians (think windows, candles, hair powder, and wallpaper, to name a few), but this one took forever to pass and was difficult to implement: Parliament going to the Dogs we could say:

Hayman, Francis; A Hound, a Spaniel and a Pug (A Portrait of a Mastiff); Norfolk Museums Service


And because we always have to end with Jane: here are the wildly anticipated first photos of the filming of Andrew Davies’ Sanditon, Austen’s unfinished manuscript giving little direction with the plot and nearly no info on the possible Hero – so from what we DO know, who are these people??

[Theo James here – do hope he is Sidney Parker, who I believe IS the Hero…] – your thoughts?? [image from]

Have a good week all – send me your favorite finds on the internet!

c2019 Jane Austen in Vermont

A Road by Any Other Name ~ Jane Austen Takes Over Worthing!

Breaking Jane Austen News!

From The Argus [Surrey, UK]:

Visitors to a new Worthing housing estate are in for a literary experience.

Three streets at the Barratt Homes development, The Fieldings  have been given names connected to celebrated author Jane Austen.

The Fieldings

The Fieldings

 [Image from the Barratt Homes website]

Austen found inspiration for many scenes and characters in her final and unfinished novel Sanditon when she visited the town in 1805.

Members of the Jane Austen Society contacted Worthing Borough Council calling for a street name in the town for the author.  [it is the JAS-Midlands Branch that spearheaded this effort under the leadership of Chris Sandrawich.]

Barratt Homes have now unveiled the street names as Austen Gate, Sanditon Way and Chawton Gate on the estate.  [There is also a block of flats called Mansfield Court.]

Society members and descendants of the author gathered in Worthing to mark the unveiling.

JAS-Midlands Branch

JAS-Midlands Branch

Barratt southern counties sales director Lynnette St Quintin said: “Where we build new homes and create new communities, it is important they are reflective of local history. The Worthing connection with Jane Austen is certainly one for everyone to be proud of.”


One wonders with “The Fieldings” so named if there might also be a Joseph Andrews Avenue or a Tom Jones Junction, or how about Bow Street Runners Boulevard … even Jane Austen would like that I think!


You might recall last year’s efforts regarding the Library Passage in Worthing: this street naming is a partial result of the JAS’s hopes to have some recognition of Jane Austen in the area.  There is more to come in a future post from Chris Sandrawich, so stay-tuned, and on your next trek to England be sure to put Worthing on your itinerary; better yet, buy a home here at Chawton Gate!

 c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont


Austen on the Block! ~ Affordable Jane

The Leslie Hindman Auctioneers sale on April 10, 2013 in Chicago: Sale 239 – Fine Books and Manuscripts  [preview starts April 6] has three items of interest to collectors and readers of Jane Austen, and this time a pleasant surprise to see them in a more affordable range…

1.  Lot 319:


* JANE AUSTEN.  Mansfield Park. London: J. Murray, 1816.

3 vols. 12mo, modern quarter morocco, renewed endpapers. Second edition. Lacks half-titles; 2-inch tear to title page vol. 2 restored; spines deteriorating and hinges cracked; otherwise the interior is in near fine condition with very little brownspotting.

Estimate $ 1,000-2,000.


2.  Lot 320:


* JANE AUSTEN.  Fragment of a Novel, written January-March 1817. Now First Printed from the Manuscript [Sandition]. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1925.

8vo, publisher’s cloth-backed blue boards, printed spine label, facsimile frontispiece. Limited edition facsimile, one of 250 copies on handmade paper. Boards lightly soiled with some loss to spine label; otherwise very good.

Estimate $ 100-200.


3. Lot 434A:


JANE AUSTEN.  Works (COLLECTED WORKS). London: Richard Bentley and Son, 1882.

6 vols. 8vo, 3/4 maroon morocco over decorative boards, title in gilt to black leather spine labels, t.e.g. Light edgewear; otherwise fine.

Estimate $ 100-200.


My note:  this last item does not offer a very comprehensive description, so I would suggest an inquiry to the auction house for more information.  This is likely the Steventon Edition that Bentley published in 1882, limited to 375 sets; size is 20.5 cm, or a small octavo (8vo), obviously rebound here; there are illustrations (those that appeared in Bentley’s original Standard Novels of 1833, and a few additional woodcuts and a facsimile of Austen’s letter to Anna Lefroy (29 Nov 1814)) – full information on the edition can be found in Gilson at D13; but again, please check with the auction house to verify that it is this edition (there was a reissue in 1886).  The interest in the Steventon Edition is that it was the last complete edition of Jane Austen’s works to be published by Bentley, her major publisher in England from 1833 to 1882, and holder of the copyrights until their various successive expiry dates.

[Images from the Leslie Hindman Auctioneers website.]

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

Jane Austen and Robert Burns

Today is the birthday of Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796).  One cannot forget those Robert Burns poems we all had to recite in high school, often our first introduction to the “romantic” poets – ‘O, My Luve is Like a Red, Red Rose’ or ‘Tam O’Shanter’ or ‘To a Louse: on seeing one on a Lady’s bonnet at church’ – and of course how often do we sing or hear ‘Sweet Afton’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne’!

Robert Burns - from wikipedia

Robert Burns – from wikipedia

I had the fortune a number of years ago to visit Burns’s home in Alloway, Ayr, Scotland, and became sort of enamored with him – who can not? But what of Jane Austen and Burns? – she certainly read his poetry.  And we now know that in her music notebooks she had copied out the music notation of two of Burns’s songs: My Love She’s But a Lassie Yet, and My Ain Kind Dearie – and Gillian Dooley has recently noted that Austen had written out in her own hand Their Groves o’ Sweet Myrtle, [see the link below to this full article] where it shows that Austen had transcribed the words “Save Love’s willing fetters – the chains of his Jean” to “the charms of his Jane” – evidence perhaps that Austen secretly admired Burns after all…?! [see full text of this song below]

Burns Cottage, Ayr

Burns Cottage, Ayr

All we have of her written words as to how she may have felt about Burns appear in Sanditon, with the ridiculous Sir Edward Denham spewing forth the following:

But while we are on the subject of Poetry, what think you, Miss Heywood, of Burns’ Lines to his Mary? — Oh I there is Pathos to madden one! — If ever there was a Man who felt, it was Burns. — Montgomery has all the Fire of Poetry, Wordsworth has the true soul of it — Campbell in his Pleasures of Hope has touched the extreme of our Sensations — “Like Angel’s visits, few & far between.’ Can you conceive any thing more subduing, more melting, more fraught with the deep Sublime than that Line? — But Burns — I confess my sence of his Pre-eminence, Miss Heywood — If Scott has a fault, it is the want of Passion. — Tender, Elegant, Descriptive — but Tame. — The Man who cannot do justice to the attributes of Woman is my contempt. — Sometimes indeed a flash of feeling seems to irradiate him — as in the Lines we were speaking of — “Oh! Woman in our hours of Ease’. — But Burns is always on fire. — His Soul was the Altar in which lovely Woman sat enshrined, his Spirit truly breathed the immortal Incence which is her Due. –”

To which Charlotte replies, in what critics have assumed is Jane Austen’s voice:

“I have read several of Burns’ Poems with great delight”, said Charlotte, as soon as she had time to speak, “but I am not poetic enough to separate a Man’s Poetry entirely from his Character; — & poor Burns’s known Irregularities greatly interrupt my enjoyment of his Lines. — I have difficulty in depending on the Truth of his Feelings as a Lover. I have not faith in the sincerity of the affections of a Man of his Description. He felt & he wrote & he forgot.”

“Oh! no no” exclaimed Sir Edward in an extacy (sic). “He is all about ardour and Truth! – His genius and his susceptibilities might lead him into some Aberrations – But who is perfect?…. Nor can you, loveliest Miss Heywood (speaking with an air of deep sentiment) – nor can any Woman be a fair judge of what a Man may be propelled to say, write or do, by the sovereign impulses of illimitable Ardour.”

[from Sanditon, ch. VII]

So I leave you with these thoughts on Jane Austen and Robert Burns and a few links for further reading:

Robert Burns


Full text of Their Groves o’ Sweet Myrtle:

Their groves o’ sweet myrtle let Foreign Lands reckon,
Where bright-beaming summers exalt the perfume;
Far dearer to me yon lone glen o’ green breckan,
Wi’ the burn stealing under the lang, yellow broom.
Far dearer to me are yon humble broom bowers
Where the blue-bell and gowan lurk, lowly, unseen;
For there, lightly tripping, among the wild flowers,
A-list’ning the linnet, aft wanders my Jean. 

Tho’ rich is the breeze in their gay, sunny valleys,
And cauld Caledonia’s blast on the wave;
Their sweet-scented woodlands that skirt the proud palace,
What are they? – the haunt of the Tyrant and Slave.
The Slave’s spicy forests, and gold-bubbling fountains,
The brave Caledonian views wi’ disdain;
He wanders as free as the winds of his mountains,
Save Love’s willing fetters – the chains of his Jean.

c2013, Jane Austen in Vermont

Update: Worthing’s “Library Passage”

Dear Readers:  You might recall a post from several months ago [March 2012] alerting all to the impending closure of the twitten [called the “Library Passage”] in Worthing – a place associated with Jane Austen as she visited there in 1805 for several months – and it is very likely one of the main sources for the setting of her seaside spa in Sanditon.  See these two posts for more information:

and in this post by Christopher Sandrawich on the JAS Midlands Branch tour of Worthing and environs:


I have just heard from Janet Clarke who had spearheaded the effort to thwart the closure in hopes that the site with its literary connection would have some sway with the powers that be.  Well, sad to report, safety issues have won out over historical significance, and even the many voices of Austen fans did little to move the decision-makers.

One good bit of news from Janet however:  Stagecoach (the bus company who owns the building and wants to close the passage for safety reasons) has “agreed to make special provision for Austen fans to walk the route, provided they receive  reasonable notice.”

So, take note and if you perchance have Worthing on your itinerary [and you must!], then please take Stagecoach up on their offer – I am hoping that they will provide TEA as well – the least they could do, don’t you think?

Library Passage – Worthing

c2012 Jane Austen in Vermont

In Search of Jane Austen ~ Guest Post: A Tour of Worthing, by Chris Sandrawich of JAS-Midlands

Dear Readers: I welcome today Chris Sandrawich of the Jane Austen Society, Midlands, who has kindly provided me with the text of his essay written for Transactions 22 (2011), the JAS Midlands publication, on the subject of the group’s field trip to Worthing last October.  Worthing has figured in the press recently, as well as on a number of Jane Austen blogs [you can view my post here:  Library Passge in Worthing under Threat of Closure ], due to the attempt to close up the “Library Passage” that Jane Austen would have passed through during her stay in Worthing in 1805. [The hearing to prevent this closure has recently been heard by the City Council and all are awaiting their final decision … *]  – it would indeed be a shame to shut down this site that has so recently come to light in relation to Austen and her unfinished novel Sanditon.

But here today is Chris’s take on Worthing and environs – this is long [but worth it!] – and please do comment or ask questions and I will have Chris respond.

The Jane Austen Society Midlands:
Autumn Tour to Worthing 7th – 9th October 2011

 Friday 7th October

     Keele University– Lichfield – Corley Services (M6) –
Worthing- and a late Dinner

Worthing, West Sussex (by the sea) whose motto is, “Ex terra copiam e mari salutem” which translates to “From the land plenty and from the sea health”, was this year’s inspired Tour choice. It is considered with good evidence to be the town on which Jane Austen’s final novel, The Brothers, later becoming known as Sanditon, was to be based; and Jane herself, aged 29, visited the town in 1805. This was after Jane’s father, George Austen, had died on 21st January earlier that year and Jane was staying in Godmersham at her brother’s, Edward Austen Knight, home.  So Jane, with her mother, her sister Cassandra and their intimate friend Martha Lloyd, Jane’s brother Edward along with his wife Elizabeth and their daughter Fanny (who wrote about all this in her diary – see Note 1) and her governess, Ann Sharpe, made up the complete party going to Worthing. Friends of the Austen families were already staying in Worthing, which had a population of around 2500 at this time. The photo below shows Christine Knapman (left) and Janet Clarke in an article appearing in the Worthing Herald on 21st September 2011 written by Neill Barston. You can read the article here:

There was an additional connection with the area, apart from Sanditon, which was of interest to us concerning Jane and her family.  Edward Austen was adopted as the legal heir of Thomas Knight II, his third cousin, and his wife Catherine Knatchbull, who were childless. Thomas Knight’s mother was Jane Monk who had lived at Buckingham Park in Old Shoreham, adjacent to Worthing. So, some of Edward’s inheritance could have been linked to, or indeed be made up of, local land and farms; but we discovered nothing new on our trip, although since returning I have learned from Janet Clarke (whom I should also thank for many suggestions and corrections to my article) that we could have seen and visited, had time allowed it, Buckingham House and the Monks’ Memorial, and some property in Southwick that had belonged to Jane Monk. Perhaps next time?

Our journey included our usual bus, usual driver and usual picking-up points but not our usual cicerone and architect of this weekend’s sojourn in the deep south. An unlooked-for eye complaint had rendered our Dawn, “hors de combat” and we were left only with the framework and her notes.  Either the notes were brilliant as a script, or Jen (Walton) and Jan (Barber) are better ad libbers than we may credit them with; but we managed without any mayhem. So a big thank-you, from all two dozen plus on the trip who loved their time in Worthing, goes along with our commiserations to Dawn Thomas. The journey south was much delayed by an unwanted opportunity to see how our taxes are used to keep Britain’s roads running smoothly. It’s unfortunate that the work carried out to achieve this long-term goal has the immediate reverse effect. In consequence, we were very late getting to Worthing and both the hotel and our after-dinner-speaker were very good in accommodating the time-shifts required.

Jane may not have had an easy trip either, with eight in the party. It seems likely that they had two coaches and possibly different starting points and times, as Fanny’s letter dated 17th September 1805 lists only, “Papa, Mama, Aunts Cass & Jane” with herself, as setting off from Godmersham that day. It is not known if they were also incommoded with hat-boxes as Lizzy and Jane were with Lydia and Kitty in Pride & Prejudice. Fanny’s diary entries are very interesting and one snippet on 19th September mentions that Jane Austen won 17/- (seventeen shillings or eighty-five pence in today’s money) in a raffle, which may not sound a great deal. However, it would have been enough to buy twenty-four pounds weight in beef-steak. Now there is beef-steak and beef-steak, I suppose, and as an aid for comparison I noted that current prices from has beefsteak at £4.60 a pound. However, fillet steak is nearer £15 a pound. So Jane’s winnings have a purchasing power anywhere between £110 and £360 in October 2011 money. Jane, we are informed, was armed with “A Picture of Worthing” written by the Reverend John Evans (see Note 2) which was the first guide to Worthing.

 A pertinent comment by Louis Simond, (a well-to-do Frenchman, with an English wife, living and working in New York, and my source for English beef prices of the time) who toured the British Isles in 1810-11 (see Note 3) states that, “There is no place of any note in England which has not its printed guide”. The Reverend’s guide published in 1805 takes on more the appearance of a booklet as it includes notes on the surrounding towns too. I wonder what Jane thought when she read it. I certainly found one or two pieces of information contained within it very striking indeed.

Still finding comparisons of the price of things in different centuries fascinating I was beguiled by a remark from the Reverend Evans’ Picture that when talking to the locals he found that an acre of land at that time could be had for “half an anchor or five gallons of brandy” and my mind reeled with the ideas suggested. Firstly, why would anyone go to the trouble of cutting an anchor in half,  as they are made of such stern stuff, and moreover to what possible use could a sailor put one half of an anchor, let alone two of them? You certainly could no longer rely on only half an anchor when dropped over the side to easily fasten itself to the sea-bed. The internet is a great thing for instant information and I found a piece (see Note 4) concerning the life and ‘adventures’ of a certain Darby Doyle, that goes like this in an Irish accent,

I turned round to look at what thript me. “What do you call that?” siz I to the captin who was at my elbow. “Why Darby,” siz he, “that’s half an anchor.” “Have you any use for it?” siz I. “Not in the least,” siz he; “it’s only to fasten boats to.”

and that sums up the uses for half an anchor.

I did ponder the possibility that “half an anchor” was a reference to a sum of money. An exhaustive trawl through the seas of leopards, nobles, crowns, monkeys, ponies, and groats along with many others left me better informed but alas no wiser.  I could find no ‘anchors’ as an expression or name amongst coins, notes or sums of English money.  Secondly, that enormous quantity of brandy is suggestive of smuggling if it seems to be both readily available in barrels and used as a tradable replacement for cash.  As brandy comes from grapes it usually came to England at that time from France or Spain as they were nearest. However, bearing in mind the troubled times with constant war or political tensions then it seems that the entrepreneurship of smuggling was necessary to secure a steady flow. The Reverend as a ‘Parson’ seems to anticipate Kipling’s later poetic suggestion and that to be unsurprised by a large and ready supply of brandy was only natural for Parsons.

(Note, post publication: I am informed by my Editor, Dawn Thomas, that the problem lies in the spelling. Once you write ‘anchor’ as “Anker” then all becomes clear as this dictionary definition shows: “An´ker – a noun – A liquid measure in various countries of Europe. The Dutch anker, formerly also used in England, contained about ten of the old wine gallons, or 8.5 imperial gallons”. Mystery solved, but it does show just how important spelling is!)

A quite astonishing statement appears on page 17 of this guide about the notable Mr Luther who built Warwick House (“Trafalgar House” in Sanditon), the principal house in the Town, which stood opposite to the Colonnade Library (and at that time (1805) was owned by Edward Ogle).  Mr Luther it seems lost at one throw of the dice one hundred thousand pounds.  If we take Mr Darcy’s (a reportedly rich man’s) income of £10,000 pa from Pride & Prejudice as a comparison then at 4% interest it would be equivalent to an investment in fixed-interest securities of £250,000 at that time; and so Mr Luther was rich enough, or foolish enough – take your pick – to venture 40% of a Mr Darcy-size fortune on one throw of the dice.  Also, if we calculate a “beef-steak price index” (adjusting 9d (nine-pence in old money) up to the mid-point current price for beefsteak of £9.80 currently) applied to Mr Luther’s £100,000,  it zooms up to a quite remarkable £26,133,000 to the nearest grand.  Of course picking the price of only one basic foodstuff does not give a sound basis for comparison that would be able to satisfy economists and mathematicians. I share George Bernard Shaw’s views who claimed, “If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion”, and so I’m giving a comparison for fun, rather than on a scientific basis.  It does make reports of Mr Wickham’s gaming in Brighton look singularly tame! However, it is reported that Mr Luther, just like Wickham, gambled with money he did not have, and he only settled half of his debt.  Also, on the subject of money it seems ‘Bathing’ was not cheap. It cost adults one shilling and children six-pence to use the Bathing Machines for each and every dip, delicious (as Fanny described it) or otherwise.

I have no idea of how Dawn micro-manages these things, but coinciding with our trip an article appeared in the magazine Sussex Life October 2011, written by Anthony Edmonds. Under the headline “Jane Austen, Worthing and her ‘sweet Mr Ogle’” he says,

“Jane Austen stayed in Worthing for at least six weeks in late 1805. There she met a man called Edward Ogle, who created the modern town and inspired one of the main characters in her unfinished novel Sanditon.”

You can find out more at, or by reading the Jane Austen Society Report for 2010.  It was of course very likely that Edward Ogle inspired the character, Mr Parker who owned Trafalgar House.


       “Worthing in the time of Jane Austen” – talk given by Chris Hare

Chris Hare, a local historian, using a few slides gave a most interesting verbal tour of Worthing’s origins and history, paying particular attention to the time of Jane Austen’s visit. These notes are an amalgam of what I heard, or thought I heard, and what I thought after I heard it!

    • A Royal visit in 1798 ‘to take the air’ put Worthing ‘on the map’ by popularising a stay there for health reasons. Princess Amelia, the youngest surviving child and favourite daughter of George III, stayed at Montague Place built c 1780. Provided for the Princess’s protection, there were over one hundred soldiers from the Derbyshire Militia camped locally, and a sloop, the Fly, cruised just off shore.

      Princess Amelia – wikipedia

    • Worthing’s developers were determined to make Worthing everything that Brighton (eleven miles away to the east) was not and this is what principally attracted Princess Amelia, or more probably her father.
    • Jane, and the Austen family, would have received news of the Trafalgar action and Nelson’s victory whilst in Worthing. This would have been of especial interest as two of Jane’s brothers, Francis and Charles, who together with Cassandra and Jane made up the younger half of the Austen children, at that time were Captains in the Royal Navy and Francis was actually with Nelson’s fleet.  Sent for water and provisions Francis missed the Trafalgar action but it would have been some time before news in the combination of newspapers and private letters told his friends and relatives that he was safe, and there were very many killed and injured from all nations involved.  This decisive action was ‘very big news’ at the time and must have been much talked about. By including a Trafalgar House in Sanditon it is probable that Jane was explicitly making the connection. Both Jane’s brothers eventually rose to the rank of Admiral. Sir Francis Austen became Admiral of the Fleet, the most senior position in the Royal Navy, and he was well into his eighties when this final promotion came. So there is hope for us all, yet!
    • Bedford Row, a street typical of Worthing’s new developments, was built 1803–04 and had large bow-fronted windows to capture more light. The buildings were four storeys high, and would have included basements as well as attics in addition. W H Hudson, author and naturalist, stayed there, at ‘Huntingdon House’ No 8 Bedford Row.
    • Around the time of Jane’s visit the Chatsworth Hotel (our base for the weekend), which was initially called the Steyne Hotel (Steyne is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “stony place”), was being built, or planned by George Parsons, as it opened in 1807, and its ballroom was used as the Assembly Rooms.
  • St Mary’s Church, Broadwater, which Jane would have passed on the way into Worthing, was the principal church in the neighbourhood and Jane and family would certainly have gone there for worship.
  • Highdown Hill is close to Worthing’s coast and a windmill was sited there to make the most of the coastal winds. It also served a certain Mr Miller, who has a famous tomb we did not manage to visit, and was an infamous local ‘hero’, as a base for a signalling system to smugglers. In Jane Austen’s time the south coast was awash with smugglers and if A Smuggler’s Song by Kipling, “Brandy for the Parson, ‘Baccy for the Clerk;” is taken as gospel pretty much everyone was involved one way or another. This windmill at over 200 feet on high ground near the sea could signal to smugglers’ ships over seventeen miles out; even further, if a ship used its own crow’s nest.  Such traffic could be lurking well over the horizon in mid-channel safely waiting for the signal that the Excise men posted along the shore had gone elsewhere, and that it was safe to come in with ‘the goods’. A man of average height standing on the sands can only see a boat if it is less than three to four miles out at sea.
  • Fig Trees were a tourist attraction in Jane Austen’s time. There are still fig gardens, in South Street Tarring, open to the public on one day a year (see Note 5).  However, the large fig gardens which Jane may have visited dating from about 1745 were largely destroyed in the late 20th Century to make way for development.  West Tarring is a suburb of Worthing, and is a very old village, dating back to Saxon times (earliest ref. around 939AD). It was one of the most important trading towns in this area, and its historical importance is emphasised by having one of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Palaces there.
  • Horace Smith, poet and friend of Shelley, arrived in 1822, so he missed Jane by a distance, in a “Newton Patent Safety Coach”, and I am fascinated to find out what it looked like. Coaches of the time were notoriously top-heavy and prone to overturn. An “overturned carriage” travelling along badly surfaced roads features in the opening paragraphs of Sanditon.

Saturday 8th October:

      Guided walk round Worthing v Solitary stroll to the museum

Janet Clarke, (partly obscured in red towards the right in the photo above) ably assisted by Sue Dawes, took our party on a guided tour of Worthing armed with a lens focused on 1805 and Jane Austen. The picture below shows Warwick Street and Stanford Cottage (known as Stanford’s Cottage in Jane’s time) is a few short strides down an alleyway just off it. Janet pointed out which buildings stood in 1805 and their function at that time. Worthing is compact, its centre easily fitting into a square mile, and contains many Georgian and Regency architectural gems; such as the Colonnade built by Edward Ogle. Changes of use for buildings can take bizarre twists and the remains of the Marine Library, which would have been a lively meeting place in Jane’s day, are now a single storey building and part of the bus station. “Libraries” to Jane and her circle did not only provide reading material, books, magazines, journals, newspapers and so on, but were alive with shops, gossip, cards (including gambling) as well as musical entertainment. This ‘discovery’ has helped me understand why in Chapter 42 of Pride and Prejudice Lydia is reported as having been to a library – the last place (as it has serious books) I would previously have expected her to have any interest in – and why she had seen some beautiful ornaments which made her quite wild! In Jane’s time many houses and buildings stood apart with fields, lawns and grazing sheep and cows in between. It is hard to visualise this in the crowded streets. 

Janet, ever helpful, was able to add a great deal to our understanding of Jane Austen’s Worthing. There are many buildings still standing which Jane would have seen, and for many of them change has occurred. The originals would have had a distinctive ‘creamy yellow’ hue as the bricks made locally from the blue clay described in the Reverend Evan’s guide when fired in the local kilns produced this colour. Regrettably almost all of the buildings have been “improved” with paint, or plaster or rendering over the last two hundred or so years.

  • The Steyne Terrace (where we stayed) although completed after Jane’s stay still has this creamy yellow hue.
  • The Colonnade Library interiors with which Jane would have been familiar were destroyed by fire in 1888 and reconstruction work carried out in 1928 sadly means the buildings would be recognisable only with difficulty by Jane and her party
  • Park House lies between the Colonnade Library and Stanford Cottage and was known as, “Williams Academy” – a link perhaps with “a most respectable Girls Boarding School, or Academy, from Camberwell”, that Mr Parker’s sister suggests in her letter may visit and stay in Sanditon
  • Bath Place took its name from heated indoor baths (long gone down the plughole of history now) built in 1798 ready for Princess Amelia’s visit
  • Montague Place No’s. 2-6 are believed to have been used by Princess Amelia and her entourage, although the Prince Regent on his short visit didn’t think the location grand enough for his sister. The Brighton Pavilion leaves nobody in any doubt as to the Prince’s idea of what is ‘grand enough’ for Royalty.
  • Great Terrace is one of Worthing’s first terraces built facing the sea, and designed as lodging houses for visitors. Jane Austen must surely have had this place in mind for the ‘Short Terrace’ in Sanditon where the academy party stayed. It becomes even more compelling if we compare the descriptions by Reverend Evans of the Terraces in Worthing with Jane’s in Sanditon.

Evans: “A little row of houses on the edge of the beach, pleasantly situated, is denominated, the Terrace, though the number of houses is scarcely sufficient to merit that appellation.”

Austen: “One short row of smart-looking houses called, “The Terrace” with a broad walk in front aspiring to be the Mall of the place.”

Also, anyone looking at the Great Terrace and its corner house can easily imagine Miss Diana Parker settling her new friends, the Miss Beauforts, into it even to the rearrangement of blinds and flowerpots on the upstairs balcony. The present Great Terrace has both a balcony and flowerpots, there for all to witness. The same flowerpots and with Mrs Mary Parker’s cuttings we wondered? 

With regard to the vexed question (at least with me as I was hoping as in the Merchant of Venice that,”truth will come to light . . . at the length truth will out” and I do hope that I am doing rather better than Sir Edward Denham at nailing quotations) of where exactly Princess Amelia stayed, I wrote to the Royal Archives but unhappily they have no information which identifies whereabouts in Worthing she stayed. All Princess Amelia’s letters are simply headed “Worthing”, and so I have nothing new to add, as I had hoped to, with the conflicting information set out below. Janet Clarke mentioned more information than appears in her own guide which suggests that she stayed both at Bedford House and Montague Place.

In D Robert Elleray’s, “A Millennium Encyclopaedia of Worthing History” he states: “Bedford House, formerly in Bedford Row erected in c 1785 as Lane’s House” which would site it right next door to Stanford Cottage, as shown in the photograph below. However, this information conflicts in part with the views of both Chris Hare (local historian) and the Worthing Museum & Art Gallery’s Website which suggest Montague Place (only) was used for the Princess’ visit. There is more conflicting information appearing in, “Worthing Parade” number one (a collection of Sussex articles by various authors, published in 1951) it is stated on page 15 that,

We cannot tell for certain where Princess Amelia stayed in Worthing. One report merely states that she stayed in two houses made into one near the beach while Dr Keate and his family occupied the next house but one. Another account states rather more precisely that she stayed first at No’s 2 – 6 Montague Place and later at Bedford House in Bedford Row (now demolished) . . . . .” 

 this same article also informs us that, “For her protection while she was here a party of one hundred and twenty men of the Derbyshire Militia, under the command of Captain Shuttleworth, arrived the following morning (1st August 1798) from their camp on Clapham (not the one in London) Common and pitched their tents in a nearby field, while at sea an additional protection was provided by the ‘Fly’ Sloop, commanded by Captain Cumberland, which remained cruising off the shore during her visit.”

Chris Hare had drawn my attention to further information about the Princess’ birthday in August and this paragraph is extracted from his writings. Worthing celebrated the event as best it could and the Sussex Weekly Advertiser reported,

“The morning was ushered in with ringing bells; the Fly Sloop, stationed here, displayed her colours, and at one o’clock fired a royal salute, which was answered by a feu-de-joie from the detachment of the Derbyshire Militia, who were marched down to the sands for that purpose. The Princess was carried on the sands in her settee chair, attended by her suite; her Royal Highness was in good spirits and seemed highly pleased with the attentions of Captain Cumberland who kept the sloop under way. The Princess gave orders that the soldiers should be regaled with a sufficient quantity of bread, cheese and ale. At nine o’clock Captain Cumberland made an elegant display of fireworks on board the sloop, which exhibited a very brilliant appearance from the shore to a vast number of spectators; at the conclusion the vessel was illuminated from her ports to her top gallants.”

I had recourse to my dictionary to look up what ‘feu-de-joie’ means and found it to be a military term meaning: “a salute of musketry fired successively by each man in turn along a line and back”, literally: ‘fire of joy’. Of course, you knew that already. However, as you may have noticed previously, I do have occasional difficulty in fully comprehending other people’s descriptions of things; and this definition leaves me perplexed. I’ve never fired a 200-year-old musket, but I understand that it takes time to reload the musket after firing. A musket ball has to be rammed down the barrel and the firing chamber recharged with gunpowder. So if the firing goes from left to right and then immediately from right to left, as the definition implies, then there would be an inconvenient pause and firing would no longer be successive. If the firing sequence was left to right and then left to right again (to give all time to reload) then firing would be continuous but it would no longer fit the definition given. I’m bemused.

Janet also gave us all copies of an excellent local guide (see Note 6), “Jane Austen’s Worthing” Janet designed this useful leaflet but had it published by Verité CM Ltd. Many pictures of sites in Worthing are available on .

For example there are pictures of Stanford Cottage (one is shown below). [You might be interested to know that the local newspaper, The Argus, reported on our guided tour – you can read their newsy article and see a photograph of our group here:

Bedford House & Stanford Cottage, 1907

Here above  is Bedford House (larger and cream faced) and Stanford Cottage, Warwick Street, photographed in 1907 (reproduced with kind permission of West Sussex County Council Library Service) which can be compared to the new Pizza Express Restaurant it has become, shown here: [behind the tree]:

Pizza Express – formerly Stanford Cottage

It takes some imagination, as so much other construction and demolition has taken place over the last century. It helps if you are also told that the view is from the front (the Pizza Express) and from the back (the 1907 photograph). You may, however, find that this does not help at all.


 Worthing, prompted by Janet Clarke, have marked Jane’s stay at Stanford Cottage with a blue plaque on the building giving salient details, and you can just see it above the window to the right of the tree in the photo above. It is shown here with more detail.

The Pizza Express has three pictures (or cartoons, as Gill Marchment suggested) inside on the first (second for any American readers) floor with quotations and it takes a feat of one’s memory to accurately place them all. I have shown them in full below and the answers to who said them and where they appear are listed at the end of this article. If you can get any one of them you are doing well and if you get all three (without looking) then can I be in your team for any Jane Austen quiz please? Unfortunately, there are no prizes except self-satisfaction.

1. “I do not want people to be agreeable as it saves me
the trouble of liking them.”

2. “One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.”

3. “Everybody likes to go their own way – to choose their
own time and manner of devotion.”

The term “Twitten”:

So, what of Worthing the place? It is clear that the town is struggling through the doldrums given the number of estate agents’ signs over empty shop fronts, but it is pleasant enough to stroll through, and you can always find something of interest. For example, the history of English is varied and fascinating and along with so many new words we have some that are very old, and still in use. Worthing has an interesting old Sussex dialect word, twitten (see Note 7), said to be a corruption of ‘betwixt and between’ although the on-line Oxford Dictionary suggests it is an early 19th Century word (unbelievably!) perhaps related to Low German twiete ‘alley, lane’, used for a path or an alleyway. It is still in common use in both East and West Sussex, and oddly enough in Hampstead Garden Suburb. As tussen, steggen or steeg in the Netherlands has a similar meaning it would be all too easy to assume that source as the derivation. Such pathways between buildings have other names around the world, but elsewhere in England twittens are called variously, twitchells (north-west Essex, east Hertfordshire and Nottingham), chares (north-east England, especially Newcastle), ginnels – which can also be spelt jennels or gennels – (Manchester, Oldham, Sheffield and south Yorkshire), opes (Plymouth), jiggers or entry (Liverpool), gitties or jitty (Derbyshire and Leicestershire), snickleways or snicket (York), shuts (Shropshire) and are called vennels in Scotland; but it is not known what our Jane called them, but it is very likely she may have called the “Library Passage” [shown below] a twitten as Jane used it with her family to get from Stanford Cottage to Stafford’s Library, as well as the sea front.

 This fine example of a Worthing twitten is just off Warwick Street, and only a lady’s baseball (see Northanger Abbey) throw from Stanford Cottage. Janet Clarke informed me that this twitten is currently under threat from a bus company, Stagecoach, who owns the land and wish to “stop it up” permanently. [link to post] This twitten now runs from Warwick Street into the bus depot. Of course, anything being an ancient historic “right of way” for the ordinary people of England and Wales does not put off Companies from making such proposals whenever it suits the moment. Look at it again, while you have the chance, and if this twitten through your half-closed eyes and with some imagination resembles a footpath through dense woodland; then, there you have it.

      Broadwater – ‘Old Sanditon’ to visit St Mary’s Church

A short bus-ride from the hotel took us all along to St Mary’s Church, Broadwater, shown just below. The Reverend Evans’ guide describes it as a pleasant one-mile walk across the fields in fine weather but too far for the old and infirm. Therefore, he supported the proposal to build, by public subscription, a Chapel of Ease in Worthing. Jane and her family are bound to have worshipped at St Mary’s, as there was no other suitable church in Worthing at that time. Most of Worthing’s current churches, just like Brighton’s, are non-conformist. Worship has taken place in this beautiful Broadwater church for over 800 years and during restoration work carried out in 1939 a Saxon doorway in the south wall of the chancel was uncovered. A Saxon church on this site is mentioned in the Domesday Book.

We were met very warmly by Christine Colthurst and Helen Craft, Parish Wardens, who gave us a tour of the church and posted a welcoming message on the LED screens in the church. We were also addressed by Councillor Ann Barlow, Mayor of Worthing, who is also a Reader at St Mary’s Church, and she explained the developments which have transformed the inside of this old church with the massive funding required being raised locally from parishioners. The many LED screens giving a continous cycle of information and images on PowerPoint about the church gave a very modern feel to the message of Christianity and we were left wondering, as we often do, what our Jane would make of it all. I gained a few pounds from the plates of biscuits, flapjacks and other mouth-watering dainties that went with the coffee and tea on offer. These lovely ladies can bake for England!

Acting on my own initiative I approached the Lady Mayoress with two suggestions:

(1)  I had noticed from a Worthing Street Map that many English novellists and poets had been honoured by having thoroughfares named after them. We have Shakespeare, Browning, Longfellow (you just cannot keep Americans out), Chaucer, Cowper, Shelley (stayed at 23 Warwick Street), Byron (visited Worthing in 1806), Wordsworth and Milton all with roads named after them. I pointed out that they were all men and the time was ripe for Ladies to have a turn starting with Jane Austen, should any suitable development offer that opportunity.

(2)  St Mary’s Broadwater could display a prayer composed by Jane Austen to commemorate her period of worship there. I commended,

Incline us oh God! to think humbly of ourselves, to be severe only in the examination of our own conduct, to consider our fellow-creatures with kindness, and to judge of all they say and do, with that charity which we would desire from them ourselves.”

that had been discovered amongst Jane Austen’s papers. St Nicholas’ Church Steventon, where Jane Austen worshipped, has an extract from one of Jane’s other prayers on display. Both her father and elder brother James were of course Rectors at St Nicholas. I even offered to pay the costs should my Society decline to foot the bill!

At this early stage both ideas have been merely noted.

      Bramber – St Mary’s House (see Note 8)
(which was built in 1470 and is featured in Simon Jenkins’ book England’s Thousand Best Houses) and Gardens

St Mary’s, again? It can only be the popularity of the name. Any other connection with our previous visit escapes me. Bramber, set in the West Sussex Downlands, is four or five miles inland to the north of Shoreham-by-Sea, which itself acts as a buffer between Worthing and Brighton. Ribbon development in England along connecting roads does tend to blur the boundaries between places. Just one more change since Jane Austen’s time that we need to take into account, as progress remorselessly grinds on. On the way there in the coach we travelled along the Old Shoreham Road and passed ‘The Red Lion Inn’ which, as a Coaching Inn, stood in 1805, and who can say if Jane’s party went in for refreshment. We didn’t have time either! We saw close by a beautifully preserved single-lane wooden bridge (no longer used for vehicles) which Jane and her party would have certainly crossed by coach, and paid a toll, in getting over the River Adur on their way to Worthing. There was no other quick way.

Our party was welcomed by the owners: Peter Thorogood, author and composer, and Roger Linton, curator and designer, who stressed that St Mary’s was still a lived-in home, and has been continuously for over 600 years. We were all given leaflets (Louis Simond is again proved correct about leaflets), that confirms their website as being and it is well worth a visit. St Mary’s is a fine example of a late 15th Century timber-framed house, and is a Grade I listed building. The photo [above] is of some of our troupe going in.

The land was originally owned by Lord Bramber; and his wife had connections with Hay-on-Wye. Barbara Erskine has written a book about The Lady of Hay. You can find out more about the original Lady herself and how Lady Bramber built the castle at Hay-on-Wye in a single night. Isn’t myth wonderful? You may wish to visit Wikipedia to find out more by going to

There are mysteries literally buried at St Mary’s as, because of flooding, some cellars previously giving access to rooms and tunnels under the house are now sealed off. Those who knew what these rooms were used for and just where those tunnels might lead to, perhaps to the church of  St Botolph’s, have now taken their secrets to the grave. There was so much information available to absorb I could not write fast enough. The buildings were owned at one time by the Knights Templar, and became a Benedictine Monks’ Inn at the time St Mary’s was a priory. The Inn was often used as a stopover by pilgrim travellers coming north through France on their journey to St Thomas à Becket’s tomb in Canterbury. After St Mary’s, pilgrims would have travelled on to Lewes, and then Eastbourne and Hastings, before journeying north over the downs towards Ashford and then Canterbury. One wonders if Jane Austen coming south-west from Godmersham (between Ashford and Canterbury) would have shared much of the same roads, at least as far as Hastings. According to her niece Fanny, we know that they stopped at Battle (or Battel as she spelt it) near Hastings, obviously! As the total journey was over eighty miles, and at winter speeds and over many undulations, they could have made only six miles an hour, at best, most of the way. At Battle they could not find lodgings and so diverted north to Horsebridge where they slept overnight. Then they went on to Brighton and Worthing.

I snapped this picture of part of our group, in situ in the Warden’s Room, before my attention was drawn to a notice right behind me requesting we refrain from using the camera. Too late by then! We are in the room with a “Dragon Beam”, (out of sight above my head), which means diagonal, and judging by size it must be bearing quite a lot of the structural forces. The room we are seen going into was the reception room, and was once featured in an episode of Dr Who. The BBC carpenters made a model of the doorframe and door leading to the outside and gardens, presumably of something like balsa wood as in the episode the actors in a tussle crash their way through it. Peter Thorogood said they still had the wrecked door left to them up in the attic, after the carpenters ‘made good’ the original doorway. There were no parties expressing any interest in viewing the remains, but he did not seem too disappointed! Peter was a mine of information. The sea and ships came right up to St Mary’s, which was on a broad tidal estuary, 800 years ago, and he complained that their cellars still flood from time to time, as ‘tongue-in-cheek’ he claimed St Mary’s is ‘built on water’ and the surrounding land at that time was mainly salt marshes and oyster beds. There was a 13th Century ‘stone’ bridge close by and tolls were paid for crossing. Peter claimed the bridge was made from pressed winkles. I assume the builders ate the poor winkles first, although from the winkles’ point of view that is scant consolation.

The coastal drift meant that Bramber and Rye just like Hythe (one of the original Cinque Ports) as with many other places on the Kent coast appeared to gradually move inland. The North Atlantic drift bringing warm water and air from the Caribbean up towards the Arctic and so keeping Murmansk inside the Arctic circle ice-free all year around necessarily causes colder water to come south into the North Sea (German Ocean in Jane’s day). The only easy way out for these billions of gallons is via the English Channel and back into the North Atlantic. People in Worthing say that the east to west (left to right as they view it) flow makes the waters at times look more like a river going past than the sea. It may leave lots of deposits, such as shingle, but in other places it also carries a lot of sand away, despite or because of the groynes, leaving now only pebbles and shingle to walk on. According to Fanny’s diary, she and Aunt Jane walked along ‘the sands’ on Jane’s first evening in Worthing. I suspected poetic licence, because I saw only shingle. We were told that at low tide there is still sand out there, but they would say that, wouldn’t they.

St Mary’s has engraved wood panelling and marquetry everywhere. It would take all day just to view the walls properly. There is an octagonal dining room containing over 80 English costume dolls from different centuries. They also have an Elizabethan trompe l’oeil Painted Room, and a “secret” Victorian music room arranged in a way that Jane and Cassandra could have been well used to. Peter mentioned that the house has other literary connections. Oscar Wilde’s play, The Importance of Being Earnest, which was written in Worthing in 1894, has many names in it associated with St Mary’s, such as one famous owner Hon Algernon Bourke and his wife Gwendolen. ‘Bracknell’, “A handbag!” also figures as Algernon’s cousin Lady Queensberry lived at Bracknell. Her husband, The Marquis of Queensberry and their son, Lord Alfred Douglas, also loom large in Oscar Wilde’s history, but that as they say, is another story. There is also a connection with Sherlock Holmes and The Musgrave Ritual, as St Mary’s was once owned by the wealthy socialite Alfred Musgrave who, it is said, was the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel, which involves a body found in the cellar. They also fancy that Charles II fleeing to France stayed at St Mary’s, and they have named the King’s Room in his honour.

They have five acres of stunningly beautiful gardens which includes in the ‘Terrace Garden’ a Ginkgo Biloba ‘living fossil’ tree, which is the world’s oldest species of deciduous tree, some amusing animal topiary, and a Victorian ‘Secret’ Garden that has a massive 140-foot fruit wall with original heated pineapple pits and store-house. As if this was not enough, they also have an unusual circular English Poetry Garden and Rural Museum, along with a Jubilee Rose garden. It was difficult to take it all in.

      View St Nicholas Church – Old Shoreham

Sad to relate, we were so busy “not taking everything in” at St Mary’s that there was insufficient time to go to St Nicholas Church and take anything in…

[Ed. note: I have added this picture of the unvisited St. Nicholas in Old Shorehan, from wikipedia!]

“Regency Brighton, an alternative view” – talk given by Geoff Mead (University of Sussex) Geography teacher and local historian

Geoff Mead, a local historian, using a few slides gave a most interesting talk on Brighton’s origins and history and linked information pertinent to the time of Jane Austen’s visit. These notes are also an amalgam of what I heard, or thought I heard, and what I thought after I heard it!

  • Brighton had a population of 25,000, about ten times the size of Worthing. The oldest building dates from 1650. It was always a marine port and having no sand-bars or rocks presented the local boats with easy access for trade.
  • West Brighton housed the rich with the poor to the east. However, the East had a common and the only place to ‘promenade’ in style and the rich and famous did so with three paid musicians in place playing gentle airs. It was vitally important in the society of the time to both “see” and to “be seen” and to be in the height of fashion doing it.
  • In the Prince Regent’s time Brighton became the biggest resort in Europe, but he only visited four times when King.
  • The original town was surrounded by five large fields called, oddly enough, ‘lanes’, and to the west they were larger and so housed the elegant squares.
  • Marine Pavilion was redeveloped by the Prince to become the Royal Pavilion.
  • London with its pollution, smoke, smog and filth, and its teeming multitude (Louis Simond’s Journal, a mine of information, quotes the 1802 census as finding there were 9,706,378 people in England and Wales, with 899,459 living in London) were only 50 miles away. As the idea of taking the sea air for health gathered pace then Brighton boomed, most of it happening 1811-21. This rapid growth produced large numbers of jobs, and needed more growth to accommodate the builders first, then servants second, with 95% of the seasonally fluctuating population being in rented accommodation. Local flint and countless tons of cobbles from the beach were used in construction. There are also fish in the sea and lamb on the downs, as ready food sources.
  • Typical south coast boats were called “hog boats” or “hoggies” as they were short and fat and had flat bottoms so they could run on to the shingle beach unharmed and float off on the next tide. Although great for loading/unloading they wallowed in rough seas. Sailing in choppy waters must have required careful balancing of both cargo and crew.
  • Up-ended damaged boats along the seashore housing the poor were a common sight. There are 19th Century prints of them in Brighton. Dickens describes one such in David Copperfield with Peggotty, Little Em’ly, Ham and Mrs Gummidge all living in an upturned boat on the beaches in Great Yarmouth. These boats are thought to be the origin of “net shops” on the beach at Hastings. Not to be confused with NetShops the on-line retail store based in Nebraska. How language has changed since Jane’s day!
  • West Street’s reputation suffered at Geoff’s hands when he described it as having, “every species of immorality encamped” and the town of Brighton was notorious for crime as well. Geoff mentioned a quote from Jane Austen which runs, “Here I am once more in this scene of dissipation and vice, and I begin already to find my morals corrupted.” which she wrote from Cork Street (London) in August 1796 to Cassandra. Geoff seemed to suggest that Jane Austen could have said much the same, and possibly more, about Brighton. She did not record it if she did, other than through Mr Bennett’s aversion to Brighton and Lydia (and Mrs Bennett’s) enthusiastic desire to go in Pride & Prejudice, and Lydia’s eventual elopement with Wickham and fall from grace.
  • Overcrowding was a big issue. Often each house contained at least two families with an official health report revealing 96 families were dwelling in 40 houses visited. There was no sewage system or drains anywhere with cesspits being employed to take all the waste. House building for the poor stretched outwards from the water-cut valleys or bournes and up in terraces towards the downs. The cesspits, of course, allowed seepage through the chalk outwards and downwards. A nightmarish thought, but inevitably fever in Brighton was a way of life, and death.
  • We know Jane and her party spent some time in Brighton; it would have been odd if they had not, but what they did there is shrouded in mystery for me at least.

Sunday 9th October

      Tour of Brighton Pavilion

Many have said this before, but only a visit really gets across just how much of an assault on the visual senses Brighton Pavilion is; especially, the unique interior. It’s typical of European arrogance of the time, however, to design almost everything based on Chinese art and culture but with only Chinese artefacts to go from. None of the artists, builders and creators had actually been to the Far East, let alone were oriental! We had a wonderful tour with a very well-informed guide and I would not be alone in recommending everyone to visit. I am not sure who that is going in carrying the red bag, or even if they are from our party.

                  The Thistle Hotel for lunch; then free time in Brighton
and finally Homeward Bound

We had lunch here (above] – and it seems somebody erected a pillar right in front of me just as I took the photo), and even if the outside is uninviting, the food and service were excellent and our table on the first floor offered a splendid view of the sea. Over an aperitif in the lounge Hil (Robinson) and I met a couple of jovial ladies wearing wonderful red hats with strange items and objects stuck in them. It turns out that there was more than one Literary Society in Brighton on that day.

These ladies were from a Red Hat Society and they seemed just the right sort of people to evoke the ideas set out in Jenny Joseph’s Warning. It’s a pity we missed the rest of them as they seemed such fun. Oh how I too long to have just the right kind of stick to run along public railings, and I’m already hoarding pencils; perhaps I should also get a red hat that doesn’t go! Pointless really as the only way for me, a mere man, to get into The British Red Hatters involves more changes than I am ready for. The ‘free time’ was uneventful for me as I found somewhere to sit

“The Author ~ Waiting & Reading with George IV”

(here I am on the right as Bob and Pam Vincent snapped me resting under the statue of George IV, dismiss any thoughts about, “like patience on a monument”, if you would be so kind) and while away the time reading books, describing the Pavilion and the extensive gardens, purchased from the Pavilion shop. At this stage in the yomping stakes my knees were no longer speaking to me. Gill (Marchment, who I believe you can just see over my left shoulder, in a manner of speaking), Suzanne (Williams) and Alison (Prescott) willingly gave up their own free time to scour Brighton’s shops in search of a ‘consolation present’ for Dawn Thomas as a “Get Well Soon” from us all and came up with a wonderful framed old print of a ‘View of the Great Terrace and Little Terrace’ on the front in Worthing. The view is either from the pier (built well after Jane’s time) or from a boat as suggested in “Aquatic Excursions” by the Reverend Evans. His judgement of distance seems not to be as sage as his fellow fictional future cleric, Edmund, in Mansfield Park. Edmund when walking in Mr Rushworth’s grounds and woods, with Fanny and Mary Crawford in attendance, responds to Mary Crawford,

“ ‘Not half a mile,’ was his sturdy answer; for he was not yet so much in love as to measure distance, or reckon time, with feminine lawlessness.”

The Reverend Evans claims, “At a distance of three or four miles on the sea, Worthing appears to advantage; its new buildings glisten in the eye . . .“ After all the business with ‘half an anchor’ (as well as his claim that there is lots of sand on the 14 miles of beaches around Worthing even though there are many other sources backing both him and Fanny on their claims about golden sands), I’m beginning to have serious doubts about both the Reverend and his Guide. At that distance passengers in a boat, without powerful telescopes, when viewing Worthing would see no more than a distant smudge on the horizon, if indeed land was still in view. If he claims Worthing appears to advantage then this may be his idea of a ‘practical joke’ as if he did indeed not think much of Worthing after all. It could also be that he has no realistic notions about distances or the curvature of the earth. I reckon the latter, but I’ll leave you to judge for yourself. The picture [below], shows a few of the group boarding the bus for the north-west and home. If some of them look less than sprightly it’s because we packed a lot into a wonderful weekend walking tour of Worthing and its surrounds. You can make out the exterior Pavilion Garden Wall to the left.



1. I am grateful to Francis Short who has extracted entries from Fanny Knight’s diary September 1805, from records held in the Centre for Kentish Studies Maidstone, including Catalogue Ref. C104/6

2.  A Picture of Worthing, John Evans A.M. , Amazon, ISBN 9 7811790023 47

3.  Louis Simond’s book is available as a digital copy on Google and is called, “Journal of a Tour and Residence in Great Britain during 1810 and 1811.”

4.  Extract from The Dublin Penny Journal Volume 1 Issue 1 by Philip Dixon Hardy see

5.  Website:

6.  Jane Austen’s Worthing – A Local Guide, Janet Clarke, 2011, Verité CM Ltd. I am grateful for all Janet Clarke’s help and research.

7.  Website:

8.  St Mary’s Bramber A Sussex House and Gardens, Peter Thorogood, The Bramber Press, 1998, ISBN  0 9526786 40 and St Mary’s Bramber A Pictorial Souvenir, Peter Thorogood, The Bramber Press, 1998, ISBN 952 6786 67


Answers to the ‘Cartoons’ in the Pizza Express (formerly Stanford’s Cottage): how well did you score?

[1] Taken from Jane Austen’s letter to her sister Cassandra on Monday night December 24th 1798. “Miss Blackford is agreeable enough. I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.”

[2] Taken from ‘Emma’ Chapter 9: with Emma in conversation with her Father. “That is the case with us all, papa. One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.”

[3] Taken from ‘Mansfield Park’ Chapter 9: with Miss Mary Crawford directing her remarks to Edmund, and with Fanny in attendance, “At any rate, it is safer to leave people to their own devices on such subjects. Everybody likes to go their own way – to chuse their own time and manner of devotion.”

By Chris Sandrawich – Membership Secretary
Jane Austen Society Midlands
October 2011.


Thank you Chris for allowing me to publish this! Do hope that people are now putting Worthing on their “Jane Austen must-sees” itinerary – hoping the city shall be overrun and the Library Passage shall be left as it is – how Jane saw it…

[West Sussex, England – wikipedia]

*The Library Passage: this update from Chris on what you can do re: the Library Passage closure: write to any of the key players in the  UK Government involved in Transport:

1. Rt Hon Justine Greening MP – Secretary of State for Transport
2. Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP – Minister of State for Transport
3. Norman Baker MP – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport {who is, I notice, the MP for Lewes in East Sussex, so there is a local connection we might be able to use}
4. Mike Penning MP – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport 

Their address is:
Dept for Transport, Great Minster House,
33 Horseferry Road,
London SW1P 4DR

alternatively you can write to them at:
House of Commons, London. SW1A 0AA

Copyright @2011 Chris Sandrawich, Transactions 22 (2011): 41-63. [all photographs courtesy of Chris Sandrawich; other images as noted]

@2012 Jane Austen in Vermont

Guest Post: Jane Austen’s Sanditon ~ A Talk by Eric Lindstrom for JASNA-Vermont

Gentle Readers: I welcome today Theodora Ziolkowski, * a student at the University of Vermont, who attended our JASNA-Vermont event on April 15, a talk on “Jane Austen’s Sanditon” by UVM Professor Eric Lindstrom.

Theodora wrote a piece for the UVM student newspaper The Cynic, and I append it here with her permission.  Always joyful to see young people at these events, and Theodora brought her friend Dan Bishop along as well – a young man with an interest in Jane is not an everyday occurance, so we were all doubly pleased to have them both in attendance!

The day started off with what is every organizer-of-an-event’s worst nightmare:  a major misspelling in the sandwich board signage that announces the talk on the street [on three corners of the campus] – I did not at first notice the signs while I was busy setting up for the day, but it was pointed out to me by some early-birds, and the inital shock of realizing my error of giving signage info over the phone rather than by email hit home hard – so

 “Jane Austen’s Sanditon”

was broadcast to the world as

 “Jane Austen’s Fanditon”

– that old “S” and “F” confusion over the phone, now permanently in print for all the world – and thankfully here photographed by one of our members – it did of course end up being the hit of the day – people thinking we had a full fan-fest in the works!  – and now I am thinking it would make for a great title for such an all-day event!

[Courtesy of Sarah at Two Girls Fishing]

Now on to Theodora’s essay on the talk, with thanks for her insightful commentary!:


Jane Austen’s “Sanditon”  –  A Talk by UVM Professor Eric Lindstrom for the Jane Austen Society of North America, Vermont Region – April 15, 2012.

by Theodora Ziolkowski 

Soft chamber music, peppermint bonbons, cucumber sandwiches and steaming cups of English breakfast tea: all means of transporting a community of Jane Austen fans to rural nineteenth century England.   

On Sunday, April 15th, the Hauke Conference Center at Champlain College held yet another event for the Vermont chapter of “JASNA,” the Jane Austen Society of North America. “Janeites,” or declared Austen enthusiasts, gathered in the Champlain College building to celebrate a shared admiration for a beloved writer.

The sunny afternoon event began with students and JASNA members filling up their plates and mugs for the talk.  Many milled about the tables of Austen memorabilia items for sale, including calendars, paper dolls, bookmarks and notecards.  Others stood in tea-drinking circles to speak with fellow Austen enthusiasts. 

Deb Barnum, JASNA-Vermont Regional Coordinator, introduced the event, the novel and UVM Professor Lindstrom, the event speaker.  Lindstrom’s talk, “How to Love ‘Sanditon’” revolved around Austen’s last and unfinished novel.  The [twelve]-chapter manuscript was first published by editor R. W. Chapman in 1925, many years after Austen’s death in 1817. 

Eric Lindstrom

Lindstrom began his talk sharing internet clips of Austen-related interviews and pictures, including a photograph of a Peep diorama entered for the competition held by the Washington Post

Peep Show – Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

 [image from Jane Austen Today]

Lindstrom also showed a watercolor of Austen painted by her sister, Cassandra, in which Austen is seen only from the back.  The “history and mystery” of this faceless Jane, Lindstrom said, contributes to the appeal of this visual representation of the novelist. 

For a novel boasting a brief fifty pages, “Sanditon” offers an unavoidable contrast to the marriage plot typical of Austen novels.  The absence of the marriage plot leaves room for readers to study Austen’s temperament, Lindstrom contended.     

In “Sanditon,” we find a more ironic vision—a “book that might leave Austen readers cold,” Lindstrom said in his opening remarks.  In the novel, two towns echo one another, a trait indicative of the changing English national character, Lindstrom said.  “Sanditon” can thus be considered a “condition of England novel,” or a storyline where housing and the quest for perfect health exist at its heart.   

The novel’s characters themselves are caricatures, and the thematic obsession with illness and the decaying body can be seen as contributing to what Lindstrom depicted as the “menacing” mood of the novel.

Lindstrom described “Sanditon” as understanding beyond its limitations of England. Even the name, “Sanditon,” suggests an “un-foundational” place –   Austen, he pointed out, is discreet in the novel: she had to pretend the world was better than it was at the time. 

The Vermont branch of JASNA hosts many events throughout the year, including talks and an annual birthday tea. 

[This article also appeared in the online version of The Cynic here.]


Theodora and Dan

Theodora Ziolkowski, an English major and Film and Television Studies minor, will graduate in May from the University of Vermont (UVM). Theodora has served her four years as an undergraduate as an editor for Vantage Point, the student-run arts and literary journal at UVM. She recently began writing for The Cynic, the UVM student newspaper, for which she writes reviews and a poetry column for the Arts pages. A lover of writing, books and good coffee, Theodora wrote a manuscript of poetry for her senior honors defense. Her love for Jane Austen began in high school when she became enchanted by Elizabeth Bennet and her world of sisters, elegant dances, piano-playing, and romance.

[Theodora tells me that her first date with Dan was watching the DVD of her favorite Austen novel – Emma Thompson’s adaptation of Sense and Sensibility! ]

Copyright @2012 Jane Austen in Vermont 

JASNA-Vermont ~ “How to Love Jane Austen’s Sanditon” ~ April 15, 2012


You are Cordially Invited to JASNA-Vermont’s April Meeting

 ~ How to Love ‘Sanditon’ ~



  Eric Lindstrom* 

A celebration of Jane Austen’s last unfinished work: Many readers find it difficult to “love” Sanditon. Critics and readers alike can find it alternately boring, bitter and uproariously wild, either likening it to her juvenilia or seeing only the morose shadow of her impending death. Join us as UVM Professor Eric Lindstrom helps us relate to and learn to love this text, even though it does not offer the typical Austen marriage plot. 


Sunday, 15 April 2012, 2 – 4 p.m. 

 Champlain College, Hauke Conference Center, 375  Maple St Burlington VT  

Free & Open to the Public
Light refreshments served 

For more information: 
Please visit our blog at:


*We are honored to welcome Eric Lindstrom, an Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont where he teaches courses primarily on Romantic Literature and Critical Theory.  He is the author of Romantic Fiat (2011), and is currently working on a study of Austen’s canny relation to philosophical developments since her time, tentatively titled “Jane Austen and  Other Minds.”

Eric Lindstrom

Please Join Us!


**Upcoming in 2012 ~ see blog for details and mark your calendars!**

ne 3: Brooklyn College Professor Rachel Brownstein on her book Why Jane Austen?
Sept. 23: Author Elsa Solender on her book Jane Austen in Love: An Entertainment
Dec. 2: Annual Birthday Tea with Paul Monod of Middlebury College on
                “The Royal Navy in the Age of Nelson, 1775-1815”


I will be shortly posting more information on Sanditon – its publishing history and criticism, and the continuations, and various links.  But please try to read this short fragment for the meeting – we promise lively discussion, but thankfully no quizzes! – think about how Austen might have completed this last work – who is the heroine, the hero? what was she trying to convey about the seaside? – many thoughts to consider, so bring your questions and ideas!

Copyright @2012 Jane Austen in Vermont

The “Library Passage” in Worthing Under Threat of Closure ~ How You Can Help

I have just heard from a friend of mine, Chris Sandrawich, membership secretary of the Jane Austen Society Midlands Branch, and his concern about the threat to the “Library Passage” in Worthing.  This path is termed a “twitten” – an old Sussex dialect word said to be a corruption of “betwixt and between.” Jane Austen stayed in Worthing in the fall of 1805 after the death of her father, and there met Edward Ogle, Worthing’s leading citizen. Austen was there with her mother, friend Martha Lloyd, and sister Cassandra [and why we have no letters!], and they would have used this “twitten” as a short-cut by-way to both the sea-front and the Library.    

[You can read more about Austen’s connection with Worthing and Mr. Ogle in this October 2011 article in Sussex Life.   [[and note that the full-text of this article is in the JAS Report for 2010, “Edward Ogle of Worthing and Jane Austen’s Sanditon.”] 

The importance of Austen’s stay in Worthing and her meeting Mr. Ogle? – the town is very likely the model for Sanditon, and Mr. Ogle the inspiration for Tom Parker.   

The former Library is now a bus station and the bus company wants to close this passage off for what they say are safety reasons – this connection to Jane Austen is at risk of disappearing. The house in Warwick Street where Jane Austen stayed was called Stanford’s Cottage – it is now a Pizza Express, but proudly displays a plaque on the wall commemorating Austen’s stay. 

Mr. Sandrawich visited Worthing last year on a tour with his Midlands group – he has written an essay on this tour which will be published in their journal Transactions this year – and I append here, with his permission, an extract from his article on this twitten:  [and I append a map here in the event you haven’t a clue where Worthing actually is…]

West Sussex - wikipedia

So, what of Worthing the place? It is clear that the town is struggling through the doldrums given the number of estate agents’ signs over empty shop fronts, but it is pleasant enough to stroll through, and you can always find something of interest. For example, the history of English is varied and fascinating and along with so many new words we have some that are very old, and still in use. Worthing has an interesting old Sussex dialect word, twitten , said to be a corruption of ‘betwixt and between’ although the on-line Oxford Dictionary suggests it is an early 19th Century word (unbelievably!) perhaps related to Low German twiete ‘alley, lane’, used for a path or an alleyway. It is still in common use in both East and West Sussex, and oddly enough in Hampstead Garden Suburb. As tussen, steggen or steeg in the Netherlands has a similar meaning it would be all too easy to assume that source as the derivation. Such pathways between buildings have other names around the world, but elsewhere in England twittens are called variously, twitchells (north-west Essex, east Hertfordshire and Nottingham), chares (north-east England, especially Newcastle), ginnels – which can also be spelt jennels or gennels – (Manchester, Oldham, Sheffield and south Yorkshire), opes (Plymouth), jiggers or entry (Liverpool), gitties or jitty (Derbyshire and Leicestershire), snickleways or snicket (York), shuts (Shropshire) and are called vennels in Scotland; but it is not known what our Jane called them, but it is very likely she may have called the “Library Passage” shown on the right a twitten as Jane used it with her family to get from Stanford Cottage to Stafford’s Library, as well as the sea front. This fine example of a Worthing twitten is just off Warwick Street, and only a lady’s baseball (see Northanger Abbey) throw from Stanford Cottage. Janet Clarke informed me that this twitten is currently under threat from a bus company, Stagecoach, who owns the land and wish to “stop it up” permanently. This twitten now runs from Warwick Street into the bus depot. Of course, anything being an ancient historic “right of way” for the ordinary people of England and Wales does not put off Companies from making such proposals whenever it suits the moment. Look at it again, while you have the chance, and if this twitten through your half-closed eyes and with some imagination resembles a footpath through dense woodland; then, there you have it.


Mr. Sandrawich is looking to muster support from all of us who have an interest in Jane Austen, asking us to voice our concern for the loss of this pathway, so What can we do

Here is the text of the letter that the Midlands Branch has sent to Janet Clarke of Worthing, who is spearheading this effort to halt the closure:

                                                       The Jane Austen Society Midlands

A Worthing twitten, and right-of-way, known as “Library Passage” 

We understand that you are seeking support to prevent the present owners of the land including the ‘Library Passage’ from permanently stopping it up and at one stroke preventing future use as a short-cut and right of way, and also removing an historical connection between Worthing and Jane Austen. 

As you know, in 1805, at the time of the Trafalgar and Nelson’s famous victory Jane Austen and her family stayed at Stanford’s Cottage, adjacent to this twitten, and would certainly have used this short-cut known as the ‘Library Passage’ to gain direct access to both the sea-front and the library. The library in those days was the focal point of social gatherings to meet, discuss and converse as well as to see and be seen and take refreshments whilst perhaps reading papers, magazines and books. In their months staying in Worthing Jane Austen and her family probably used this route on a daily basis.

This very library has changed its use and now forms part of the administrative buildings for the bus depot, where the twitten ends. 

Sir Walter Scott is famous for his fulsome praise of Jane Austen but Anthony Trollope also praised her work and wrote, “Miss Austen was surely a great novelist. What she did, she did perfectly. Her work, as far as it goes, is faultless.” and many other examples in praise of her genius can be found placing Jane Austen at the forefront of great British novelists. 

The connection between Worthing and Jane Austen has only comparatively recently come to light and our Society visited Worthing in October last year, and we were very interested to see the twitten known as the ‘Library Passage’ and to understand its connection with Jane Austen’s stay. We feel sure that our Society’s visit to Worthing will be only one of many, as other Societies all around the world learn of this Austen connection, and any Jane Austen fan would be very pleased to see the twitten, she must certainly have used, remain open and unaltered and would be equally dismayed to see it lost forever. 

We, the Committee of The Jane Austen Society Midlands, fully support the view that the twitten known as ‘Library Passage’ should remain open and its connection with Jane Austen made more widely known. 

Yours sincerely  
Chris Sandrawich, Membership Secretary

and Jennifer Walton, Chairman                                                                                                                  


Written submissions have to be in before March 28th and the actual hearing is on April 25th at the Chatsworth Hotel in Worthing.  If you would like to have a voice in this, please comment here and I will let you know who and where to send your letter of support.

 Thank you all! – this is your chance to be proactive and do something to save this important connection to Jane Austen’s life and her writing of Sanditon.

Copyright @2012 Jane Austen in Vermont