Chawton House Library
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Chawton maintains a huge library of women's English writing, spanning the years 1600 to 1830. There are over 7000 books in the collection, which naturally includes works by Austen herself. There are portraits of family members, as well as many women writers. The Chawton Library has a mission to promote research into and appreciation of early women's writing in England.
The Chawton estate dates to at least the late Saxon period. After the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror granted the estate to Hugh de Port, and Chawton remained a de Port possession for over 300 years. Henry III and the future Edward I were frequent visitors during the 13th century.
The estate passed down through the male line for 3 centuries, then passed through the female line for another two centuries until, in 1551, it was sold to John Knight, whose family had been tenant farmers at Chawton for centuries. John's son, also named John, replaced the medieval manor house with the attractive Elizabethan building we can see today.
One of the historic mementoes of the early Knight presence at Chawton is a commemorative fireback awarded by Elizabeth I to John Knight after the family donated Â£50 to Elizabeth's war effort against the Spanish Armada.
The house is set in parkland that was laid out in the 18th century, and near the house is a walled kitchen garden created by Edward Austen Knight. The estate is also home to a number of shire horses, who are like working members of the Chawton estate family.
Chawton has appeared in several film features, including an adaptation of The Borrowers.
About Chawton House Library
Address: Chawton, Alton, Hampshire, England, GU34 1SJ
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: Parking on the main road at the bottom of the drive. Although Chawton is a member of the Historic Houses Association, members of the HHA will have to pay full admission fee.
Website: Chawton House Library
Phone: 01420 541010
Historic Houses Association
Photo Credit: Colin Smith, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.
Historic Time Periods:
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13th century (Time Period) - 18th century (Time Period) - Edward I (Person) - Elizabethan (Architecture) - Henry III (Person) - Jane Austen (Person) - Medieval (Time Period) - Norman (Architecture) - Saxon (Time Period) - Spanish Armada (Historical Reference) - William the Conqueror (Person) -
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Jane Austen's House Museum - 0.3 miles (Museum)
Selborne, St Mary's Church - 2.9 miles (Historic Church)
Gilbert White's House and Oates Museum - 2.9 miles (Museum)
Colemore, St Peter's Church - 4.1 miles (Historic Church)
Privett, Holy Trinity Church - 6.6 miles (Historic Church)
Preston Candover, St Mary's Church - 7.1 miles (Historic Church)
Petersfield, St Peter's Church - 8.9 miles (Historic Church)
Northington Grange - 9.1 miles (Historic House)
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