Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Jane in Southampton

The Dolphin Hotel, a short walk from Castle Square where Jane lived for a short while. Jane attended balls in the ballroom, situated on the first floor between the two bay windows. Netley Abbey just outside of Southampton. Jane and her family and friends would row along Southampton Water and have picnics in the grounds of this idyllic ruin.

The medieval walls of Southampton. Janes house in Castle Square, backed on to these walls.
The house she lived in is situated where the mock Tudor pub, The Bosun's Locker now stands.
The Bosun's Locker. Jane's house in Castle Square, stood on this site. Castle Square today.
A print of All Saints Church where Jane attanded services. Dr Mant, an eminent preacher, was the vicar at the time. Jane would have knew him well.The church was bombed in the war and demolished afterwards. A charity shop now stands on the site.

Jane Austen lived at Castle Square, Southampton, from 1806 to near the end of 1807. She lived in a house rented from the Marquis of Queensbury, with her mother, sister Cassandra, friend Martha Lloyd and her brother Frank's wife, for almost two years. She didn't write or edit any of her novels while living in Castle Square but all the evidence points to her enjoying her stay in Southampton more than she had ever done in Bath.Perhaps the impermanence of her stay in the house didn't lend itself to her being settled and secure enough to devote time to her novels. She did write a lot of letters while there and we have a detailed description of her time in Southampton.

Jane attended dances at the Dolphin Hotel, she visited the theater, attended church at All Saints, in the High Street, becoming friends with the vicar, Dr Mant.An insight into Jane's waspish temperament is that she used to tease Martha Lloyd about having an imagined affair with Dr Mant. He had been a respected headmaster in the town and was a respectable married man. She went on rowing trips on the River Itchen and had picnics at Netley Abbey.

Here are a few photographs of some of the sites mentioned in Jane's letters from Southampton. The house she lived in in Castle Square, no longer is standing. On the site is a pub called, The Bosun's Locker.

1 comment:

  1. It was interesting to have a glimpse into the milieu where Jane lived in Southampton. Shame, though, that most of the buildings haven't survived. Do think think that the Dolphin Hotel looks as it used to or has it been reconstructed? The abbey certainly looks like a place that Jane and her family would have loved to spend time, picnicing and walking around. She must have enjoyed the sea air and naval spirit of Southampton, too!

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