Thursday, 27 April 2017

Jane's Austen's Will - On This Day 200 Years Ago

By March 1817 Jane Austen was unable to continue writing "The Brothers", later renamed "Sanditon", as she was quite unwell. On  April 27th, probably aware of the serious nature of her illness, Jane Austen wrote her will at her home in Chawton. The beneficiary of almost everything Jane had was her dear sister Cassandra. She specified a payment of £50 to her brother Henry who had helped so much in getting her books published, and another £50 to Henry's French housekeeper Madame Bigeon who had lost all her savings when Henry's bank failed. Allowing for the payment  of funeral expenses and the two legacies mentioned, everything else she possessed was willed by Jane to her beloved sister Cassandra.It is estimated that this amounted to just under £800.
As Jane's will had not been witnessed two of her friends had to sign sworn statements that they recognised Jane's handwriting as they had known her for many years.
Thankfully the legacy of her wonderful writing has been left to all of us her readers.

Less than three months after writing her will Jane Austen died in Winchester at the early age of 41.
Eileen Collins