Friday, April 30
Jane Austen Evensong, Winchester Cathedral, May 1
Winchester Cathedral’s Canon Precentor Michael St John-Channell preparing for tomorrow’s Jane Austen Evensong with the Rev George Austen’s own Bible (normally kept at St Nicholas Church, Steventon). Austen family descendents will be attending the service on 1st May, including female relatives. At Jane’s funeral only four were in attendance, all men.
30th April 2010. A special service to mark Jane Austen’s burial at Winchester Cathedral will feature her father’s 200-year-old bible.
The bible dates from 1793 and was used by the Rev George Austen while he served in his Hampshire parish. Readings will be taken from the bible during the service.
It is intended that the May 1 event, which is to celebrate the opening of the Cathedral’s
Jane Austen exhibition, will also redress the fact that only four people were at her funeral and none were women.
The celebration will see some of her descendents attending and taking part in the Evensong service. (Usually celebrated in the late afternoon or evening. Most often the service is rendered chorally). Jane remained very close to Hampshire throughout her life and the celebration at the Cathedral reflects her life story. Family from her close friend Mrs Lefroy will also be at the Cathedral for the service.
“This Evensong is the perfect celebration of the opening of our exhibition and Jane’s life,” comments Charlotte Barnaville of Winchester Cathedral. “By bringing her family descendents and supporters to her graveside, and reading from her father’s bible, we are making a wonderful connection with the past and recognizing just how influential Jane’s contribution to our literary history continues to be.”
The family will be invited to process to Jane Austen’s grave in the Cathedral at the end of the service and be given the opportunity to pay their respects to one of Hampshire’s and the UK’s most famous daughters.