Jane Austen's Desk

Literary Heritage in Hampshire

Share this with


Hampshire has proved a fertile ground for many celebrated writers over the last few centuries, drawn to the beauty of its countryside and heritage.

Jane Austen in Hampshire

Jane Austen is arguably Hampshire's most celebrated resident, and you can follow her footsteps around the county, from Steventon near Basingstoke where she was born, to the cities of Southampton and Portsmouth, the village of Chawton and finally to her resting place in Winchester where she died in 1817.

Jane Austen's 17th century house in Chawton where she wrote or revised her six great novels is open to the public and holds a treasure trove of memorabilia including her writing desk.

Jane Austen who lived in Hampshire for all but 5 years of her life, 2017 marked the 200th anniversary of Jane’s death. Across the county there were numerous events and special exhibitions in Winchester, Basingstoke and Chawton in East Hampshire where she lived the majority of her life.

Find out more about Jane Austen

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth in 1812, the second of seven children, and his birthplace is now a museum. Hampshire provided inspiration for several of Dicken's novels, including the notorious Victorian workhouse in Andover and Dickens returned to Portsmouth in his last twenties when researching 'Nicholas Nickleby'.

Gilbert White

Selborne was home to the Reverend Gilbert White, whose "The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne" (1789) still attracts international recognition. You can find out more by visiting Gilbert White's House & The Oats Museum.

John Keats

John Keats stayed in Winchester in the summer and autumn of 1819, during which time he produced a series of masterpieces. Visitors can follow the 'Keats Walk' celebrating his famous ode 'To Autumn', written after a walk along the River Itchen.

Edward Thomas

Poet Edward Thomas lived in the village of Steep from 1913 - 1916, taking inspiration from the countryside around him, while Flora Thompson, who came to Liphook in 1916, based her classic trilogy, Lark Rise to Candleford, on her observations of local natural history and rural life.

Other Famous Literary Figures with Hampshire Connections

Thomas Hardy

Other famous literary figures connected with Hampshire include Thomas Hardy whose novels were set in an imaginary Wessex and 'Upper Wessex' on Hardy's map is Hampshire.

Arthur Conan Doyle

Author of Sherlock Holmes, lived in Portsmouth and is buried in Minstead churchyard in the New Forest.

You can discover more about famous faces in Hampshire or follow in the footsteps of our local authors with our range of walks.