WINCHESTER Cathedral – Jane Austen’s final resting place – has pulled out all the stops in this special commemorative summer.
Visitors from far and wide have long made the literary pilgrimage to the Hampshire writer’s grave in the north aisle, and there are now so many more ways they can pay their respects.
Two centuries to the day after her death, on July 18, there will be a free Anniversary Evensong at 5.30pm, with music sung by the choir and invited guests.
Then on the anniversary of her burial, on July 24, Austen enthusiasts are invited to join a Commemorative Funeral Procession at 8.30am from her former house in College Street to her grave. This will include moments of reflection, readings from her novels and excerpts from letters. Places are limited and tickets cost £5.
Sitting with Jane is a bench installed in the grounds, shaped like an open book, allowing visitors to take time out. It has been designed by artist in residence Amy Goodman of the University of Winchester and is in situ until July 31.
Inspired by the Word is sculpture and letter carving around the cathedral drawing on Austen’s writings.
Enthusiasts will no doubt delight to the sounds of the Jane Austen Trio as they perform at a recital on July 18, at 1pm. This offers music Jane would probably have heard, on period instruments.
And ‘Janeites’ are invited to dig out their most beloved books and share in the joys of everything Austen at a sumptuous tea in Cathedral Close on July 23, at 1pm. Tickets are £35.
How a comparatively obscure at the time spinster came to be buried in the cathedral alongside Saxon kings, saints and bishops, is explored in a talk by Professor Michael Wheeler on July 21, at 3pm, in the Wessex Learning Centre at the cathedral. Tickets are £10.
Visit www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk for more.