The 200th Anniversary of Jane Austen’s Death

Jane Austen, one of the world’s most famous authors, was born, lived and died in the historic and beautiful county of Hampshire.  Its houses, countryside and people provided the inspiration for many of her novels and she now rests in the north nave aisle of Winchester Cathedral.

Winchester Cathedral will be marking the 200th anniversary of her death, and 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 and listed below, we honour Hampshire’s favourite author with a series of concerts, lectures, tours, exhibitions and services.

Many of the events are free but, if tickets are required, the links are below.

There is also a colour leaflet that you can download with full details of all of the activities between now and July.

This will form part of a Hampshire-wide celebration of Jane’s life and work.  For more information please visit the website.


The Jane Austen Story

The exhibition was installed in 2010 to mark the bicentenary decade of Jane Austen’s publications, the exhibition is situated beside her grave and tells the story of Jane’s life in Hampshire: her birth and childhood in Steventon, her writing and life in Chawton and her final few weeks and death in Winchester.

This summer only (from mid-May to end-September), an additional display in the Cathedral focusses on the less well-known details of her faith and courage during her sickness, the tender care of her sister Cassandra, and the quiet burial attended by her grieving brothers. It will include a poem in her own handwriting, several first editions of her books, and in June and July, the burial register containing her name.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the rest of the Cathedral’s treasures during their visit. Cathedral admission fees apply.

If making a special visit please check the Cathedral website for closures.

Book of Memories: A lasting legacy

Available to inscribe from mid-May – end-September 2017.

As a lasting legacy to the 200th anniversary of Jane’s death, the Cathedral is inviting visitors to record their personal thoughts of what Jane Austen’s life and work has meant to them. This special Book of Memories will become a record of those who visited her grave in this year and a lasting addition to the Cathedral’s own collection of Jane Austen artefacts. It is fitting then that book binders, Tim and Pete Wiltshire, from P & G Wells Bookshop & Bindery on College Street, just two doors from the house where Jane died, have produced this initial loosely bound Book of Memories for visitors to inscribe this summer. Once complete, the book will be returned to them to be hand stitched and leather bound before finally returning to the Cathedral.

A donation is kindly requested from those who wish to inscribe the book.

Jane Austen Tours with Coffee and Cake

First Saturday of each month (excluding May), 10am.

Our team of expert volunteer guides offer visitors an intimate and often amusing insight into her life and connections with the Cathedral. The tour will include a walk through the Cathedral’s historic Inner Close to the house on College Street where Jane and Cassandra stayed during their time in Winchester.

Tours take place on the first Saturday of each month up to November – booking is essential due to the high popularity of this special experience.

Tickets: £12.50 (plus 75p per ticket booking fee, capped at £5) Includes tea or coffee and cake taken in the Cathedral Refectory after the tour, available online or by phone on 01962 857275. Tours last approx. 1 hour.

Special group tours of 15 people or more are also available to book, subject to availability. Email

Book Here

Exhibition: Inspired by the word

8th June 2017 - 30th September 2017.

Inspired by the Word' is a multi-venue visual arts exhibition by contemporary artists celebrating the literature of Hampshire writers - Jane Austen, Edward Thomas and Gilbert White. The theme chosen for Winchester Cathedral’s exhibition is Jane Austen and artists who have been inspired by both the author and the Cathedral setting.

The exhibition will showcase sculpture, letter carving and works in other media. Visitors will come across the works as they explore the building, prompting moments of reflection about the author.

Admission fees apply.

Sitting with Jane

15th June – 31st July 2017 – Outer Close.

‘Sitting With Jane’ is a Jane Austen inspired sculpture trail. The sculptures are all benches – each shaped like an open book, every design is unique and hand-painted by a professional artist in a style inspired by Jane Austen’s life and times in Basingstoke, Steventon and the surrounding area.

A bench designed by Winchester University Artist in Residence, Amy Goodman, will be on exhibit in the Cathedral grounds this summer. The trail and the associated app will give the opportunity to explore (and sit in) places and landscapes that were important influences on Jane’s life and work – often undiscovered by visitors. Jane was born in Steventon, and Basingstoke was her local town for more than half her life. This trail will help to reconnect visitors with where she grew up and began her writing career. Sculptures will be auctioned for a local charity leaving a lasting legacy in the area.

There will be 24 BookBenches and the dedicated website and app will guide you around as you visit some interesting places, linking them together to give an insightful tour.

All BookBenches have free access, and the app is free to download from the website

Lunchtime Recital - The Jane Austen Trio

Tuesday 18th July 2017, 1pm – Cathedral Nave.

All are welcome to this very special lunchtime recital, on the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. The performance will include music heard during Jane Austen's life.

The recital, performed by The Austen Trio, features a Soprano, Harp and Piano (actually a square piano), and it’s sure to be a fitting tribute on this special date.

This concert is free but a retiring collection is taken to defray costs. Please note seats are un-reserved, on a first come first served basis.

Jane Austen - An Anniversary Service

Tuesday 18th July 2017, 5.30pm – Cathedral Nave.

On the anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, Tuesday 18 July, a special service of Evensong will be held at 5.30pm. It will be led by the Dean and Chapter with contributions from invited guests and sung by the Cathedral Choir.

All are welcome to attend this special service although you will need to obtain ticket(s) in advance through the Cathedral Box Office.

Unreserved nave seating - Please be seated no later than 5.15 p.m.

Tickets are Free but limited to four per household. They are available from the Cathedral Box Office on 01962 857257.

Book Here

Jane Austen and the Glories of Winchester Cathedral

A talk by Professor Michael Wheeler Friday 21st July 2017, 3pm – Wessex Learning Centre.

Why, when this comparatively obscure spinster died in 1817, was she buried in a Cathedral which houses the bones of Saxon kings and saints?

Professor Michael Wheeler, author of Jane Austen and Winchester Cathedral, addresses this question in an illustrated talk which begins with a look at the memorials and the associations between the Austen family and the diocese of Winchester. Michael then traces the life and times of Jane Austen herself, and shows a series of images illustrating the glories of the Cathedral that she knew and loved.

Tickets: £10, available from the Cathedral Box Office. Book Here

Funeral Procession

Monday 24th July 2017, 8.30am

Join our Head Jane Austen guides for this very special retracing of Jane Austen’s funeral procession.

Participants are invited to meet on College Street, outside the house where Jane Austen died and lay until her funeral. Then at the same time, exactly 200 years later, walk as her brothers and nephew did from the house through the Inner Close and into the Cathedral. Her sister Cassandra wrote that she watched from the window as her dear sister left her forever as the procession turned the corner to enter The Close.

As you walk through the Cathedral grounds listen as the bells toll 41 times, one for every year of Jane’s life. The procession will stop for a moment of reflection and a short reading before entering the Cathedral where you will be able to pay your respects at Jane’s grave before being seated for readings from her final poems and letters.

Tickets: £5, available from the Cathedral Box Office. Numbers are limited due to the nature of the event.

Book Here

Jane Austen's Cultural Afterlife

From ‘What Katy Did Next’ to ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ - Professor Alison Milbank Thursday 27th July, 7pm, Wessex Learning Centre

‘What Katy Did Next’ is an American children's story in which Katy and her family visit Austen's grave at Winchester and are shocked no-one English visits it or values it. Fortunately this is far from true. This lecture explores how Jane Austen’s legacy lives on worldwide, even in the half-light of zombie culture!

Alison Milbank is Associate Professor of Literature and Theology at the University of Nottingham, and Priest Vicar at Southwell Minster.

Tickets £5, are available from the Cathedral Box Office.

Book Here