Jane Austen 200 Events at the Cathedral

April 25, 2017

Categorised in:

Winchester Cathedral has today released full details of events and activities throughout the 200th Anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, who was buried in the north aisle of the Cathedral on 24 July 1817, making it a focal point for activities around the county this year.

As they say in the introduction to a special leaflet (attached), released at the same time and available online at www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk, ‘Visitors are welcome to come and pay their respects to this much-loved author, whose work has inspired people from all across the world, generation after generation. Through a programme of special events held throughout the year the Cathedral honours Hampshire’s favourite author with a series of concerts, lectures, tours, exhibitions and services.’ There are full details in the leaflet and online, but here is a synopsis of activities, including some which you might not expect!

The Jane Austen Story is a permanent exhibition which was installed in 2010, telling the story of Jane’s life in Hampshire, her time in Steventon and Chawton and, ultimately, the final few weeks in Winchester before her death. This summer only (mid-May to the end of September), an additional exhibition will be added displaying beautiful artefacts from Jane’s life including poems and first editions and, in June and July, the burial register containing her name.

The Cathedral will also be taking part in Inspired by the word, a multi-visual arts exhibition by contemporary artist celebrating the literature of Hampshire in venues across the county. Needless to say, the Cathedral will be focusing on Jane Austen amongst others. Visitors will come across sculpture, letter carving and other exhibits as they explore the building, prompting moments of reflection about the author.

The sculptures in Sitting with Jane are all benches – each shaped like an open book – which will also be located at venues across Hampshire. The uniquely designed bench by University of Winchester Artist in Residence, Amy Goodman, will allow visitors to ‘sit with Jane’ from 15 June to 31 July.

Talks are by two Michaels. The Rev’d Michael Kenning (27 June, 7pm), a life-long Austen fan who was also Rector of Steventon, Jane’s father’s own church, from 1992 – 2010. Entitled ‘Regulated and Checked by religion’ he will use a quote from Sense and Sensibility to explore how the Christian Faith played an important part in Jane’s life. Professor Michael Wheeler (21 July, 2.30pm), author of the Cathedral’s guide Jane Austen, will look at how a comparatively obscure spinster came to be buried in a Cathedral which houses the bones of Saxon kings, saints and bishops. Both talks are in the Wessex Learning Centre in the Cathedral Inner Close and tickets are £5 and £10 respectively from the Cathedral Box Office. Michael Wheeler’s book will be re-released during May and be available to purchase from the Cathedral Gift Shop.

There will be various performances along the way with a Jane Austen theme. Pride and Prejudice needs no introduction, and will be performed in the Cathedral Close by acclaimed outside theatre company, Illyria, who make a welcome return to Winchester. Performances are on 28, 29 and 30 June at 7.30pm (picnics welcome!). Tickets are £14 from the Box Office. A lunchtime recital on 18 July at 1pm offers music which Jane would probably have heard on period instruments (including a square piano) performed by the appropriately named Jane Austen Trio.  A similar concert on a rather larger scale will take place at 7pm on Friday 21 July as part of the Southern Cathedrals Festival, when music will include part-songs and glees from the jane Austen Part Books along with piano music played on a 1795 Broadwood.

Of course the climax of the events surrounds the Jane’s death and burial. On the actual anniversary of her death, 18 July, there will be a special Anniversary Evensong (at which she would have been a regular attendee) with music sung by the Cathedral Choir and contributions from invited guests. Free tickets are from the Box Office. Then, on the anniversary of her burial, Monday 24 July, there will be a Commemorative Funeral Procession which will leave the house from whose windows her sister Cassandra saw as ‘her dear sister left her forever as the procession turned the corner to enter The Close’ to her grave in the Cathedral, a place of ‘pilgrimage’ for many of the Cathedral’s visitors from far and wide. Places are limited and £5 tickets are available from the Box Office. Throughout the period from mid-May to the end of September, there will be a Book of Memories, in which visitors will be able to contribute to a last legacy to the anniversary with personal thoughts of what Jane’s life and work has meant to them.

A rather more upbeat event will round off the proceedings in the Cathedral Close on 23 July at 1pm, when a sumptuous tea invites ‘all Janeites’, in the words of the guide which started off this article, to ‘Grab your treasured copy of Pride & Prejudice, the copy of Emma you take everywhere, or that dog-eared, but loved, Sense & Sensibility, whatever your favourite bring it along and share in the joys of everything Jane Austen!’ Tickets £35 are from the Box Office.

Details of these and all events at Winchester Cathedral are available at www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk .



mid-May to end September
This includes the addition of various additional items to the permanent exhibition for a limited period. Admission is by Cathedral entry charge.

BOOK OF MEMORIES: A Lasting Legacy
Available to inscribe from mid May to end September 2017
A donation is kindly requested from those who wish to inscribe the book.

First Saturday of each month (excluding May), 10am
Tickets: £12.50 from the Cathedral Box Office

8th June 2017 – 30th September 2017
Admission is by Cathedral entry charge.

15th June – 31st July 2017 – Outer Close

A talk by Revd Michael Kenning
Tuesday 27th June 2017, 7pm – Wessex Learning Centre
Tickets: £5, available from the Cathedral Box Office

28th, 29th & 30th June 2017, 7.30pm – Cloisters Garth, Inner Close
Tickets: £14.50, available from the Cathedral Box Office

Tuesday 18th July 2017 1pm – Cathedral Nave
Admission free with retiring collection.

Tuesday 18th July 2017 5.30pm – Cathedral Nave
Tickets are Free but limited to four per household. Available from the Cathedral Box Office

A talk by Professor Michael Wheeler
Friday 21st July 2017, 2.30pm – Wessex Learning Centre
Tickets: £10, available from the Cathedral Box Office

Sunday 23rd July 2017 1pm
Tickets: £35, available from the Cathedral Box Office

Monday 24th July 2017 8.30am
Tickets: £5, available from the Cathedral Box Office.  Numbers are limited due to the nature of the event.

Cathedral Box Office
01962 857 275 and www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk