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The will of Jane Austen showcased at National Archives for Jane Austen 200 anniversary


The National Archives at Kew is showcasing the will of author Jane Austen, as part of commemoration for the 200th anniversary of the death of the popular novelist, on 19 July.

The will, which is on display in the Keeper's Gallery at National Archives until October 2017, is dated 27 April 1817, three months before the author's death at the age of 41. With the exception of a few small legacies, including £50 to her brother, Jane left "everything" to her sister Cassandra. The will reads:

I Jane Austen of the Parish of Chawton do by this my last Will & Testament give and bequeath to my dearest Sister Cassandra Elizth everything of which I may die possessed, or which may be hereafter due to me, subject to the payment of my Funeral Expences, & to a Legacy of £ 50. to my Brother Henry, & £ 50. to Mde Bigeon–which I request may be paid as soon as convenient. And I appoint my said dear Sister the Executrix of this my last Will & Testament.”

Jane Austen 200th anniversary event

The National Archives is hosting a free talk and document display on 18 July 2017, the bicentenary of the author’s death. University of Oxford Professor, Fiona Stafford, will pay tribute to Austen’s genius with a talk on her life and work. 
Caroline Ottaway-Searle, Director of Public Engagement at The National Archives said: 'We are thrilled that 200 years after her death, we are able to display Jane Austen’s will. It allows us a view into her world and provides a connection over the centuries to one of this country’s most iconic and famous authors. Many people are familiar with her characters, this gives us a view on Jane herself and what was important to her. I encourage everyone to visit us and see this fascinating document for themselves.'
For more on the National Archives, visit their website.

(Image copyright The National Archives)

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