Sunday, 27 April 2014

On this Day ~ Jane's Will be Done

On this day, April 27th, Jane Austen wrote her last will and testament. She was ill with what is now thought to have been Addison's disease, a rare hormonal disorder. Just days later, she moved to Winchester to be nearer to her doctor. She died on 18th July 1817 and was buried in the cathedral at Winchester.

Her total assets were valued at under £800 and she left everything, to her beloved sister Cassandra, with the exception of two bequests of £50. One was to her brother Henry, who had done so much to help Jane to get her books published. The other was to Henry's French housekeeper, Madame Bigeon, who had lost all her savings when Henry's bank, in which she had invested, failed.

Unfortunately, the will was not signed by witnesses. In order for it to be proved as hers, two friends had to swear in a written statement that they had known Jane Austen for years and recognised her handwriting.Her wonderful legacy of the written word has, thankfully, been made available to all of us to enjoy.