The last few days of Regency Week went fairly quickly! Caroline Jane Knight gave another talk–this time in the great hall of Chawton House, which was interesting. She spoke of her memories of the house and had fun stories to share of her family.
Tuesday, my daughter and I didn’t have much planned so we decided to drive out a little and check out some things around the area. Our first stop was The Vyne, which looks to be an amazing house. The Vyne is a 16th century manor home in Hampshire near Basingstoke and still has the original Tudor style chapel that was the cornerstone of the tour when we went as it’s said Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn used the chapel during their visit.
They were staggering people through the house so we wandered the gardens until we were supposed to be at the door for our turn inside the house. They have a formal garden and a Summerhouse that was meant for having tea with a scenic view. We went and took pictures of the duck by the river that flowed in front and by the time we’d done that, it was nearly time for us to go in the house.
Unfortunately, due to recent replacement of the roof, the tour is very abbreviated. Everything from upstairs had been boxed up and moved. Parts of the house that were likely a part of the tour were roped off with crates behind the ropes. We basically circled a portion of the downstairs before we ended up back outside in the gardens. Disappointed, we decided to walk back to the car a different way and let the sat nav/GPS take us this crazy roundabout way to Steventon.
Driving through Steventon was like walking back in time. There isn’t much in the way that looks new and you could almost imagine it looking the same when Jane Austen walked about as a young woman. The roads are all one lane carriageways so it’s not the fastest drive since you never know when someone will round a corner, but it’s a beautiful area!
Our first stop was the Church of St. Nicholas where George Austen was rector and later her brother James. We wandered through the inside and read the plaques and inscriptions all pertaining to the Austens and then wandered in the graveyard and looked for James’ grave. We weren’t looking for a flat marker and my daughter ended up finding it on the Find a Grave website, which helped us track it down.
Afterwards, we drove around Steventon a good bit in the hopes of finding where the original Steventon Rectory once stood. A friend had given me a map but another friend claimed it was in an entirely different place than the map. I think we found the field, but I won’t swear to it whatsoever. It was still a fun day!
That evening was the open house at Jane Austen House Museum. I do enjoy going to the museum whenever I can so we joined Cass Grafton and walked down and sat in the garden for a while. Eventually, we walked over to the Greyfriar for a glass of wine!
Wednesday was sad because it was our last morning and we had to pack our belongings and drive home. I always love going to Regency Week and this year was no different. I have to thank Joan and St. Mary’s Hall for the amazing room and breakfasts while we were there!
Next up . . . Hitchin Lavender farm and Audley End