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             Friday 3 July 2024

    A chance to step back in time two hundred years to the era of Jane Austen….


    Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy are giving a Ball at the Great House.....

    Two hundred years since Jane Austen took up residence in the village of Chawton, a Regency Ball was held at Chawton House or the ‘Great House’, the scene of numerous Austen family gatherings.  This intimate, truly authentic costume Ball took place on the evening of 3 July when guests danced to traditional Regency music in the Great Hall and wandered through the house and the eighteenth century gardens and grounds.

    There was a sumptuous Regency supper, with dishes prepared by Chef Cyrille Pannier, of the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, using recipes taken from the Chawton House Library collection of eighteenth-century cookery books, served on the magnificent mahogany table at which Jane and her family dined.  Edward Austen Knight’s silver will be on display as will the dinner service which Jane helped her brother to choose on a visit to London in 1813.

    Walking by candlelight through the house adorned with flowers, gossamer swags and ostrich feathers, the guests entered the world of Elizabeth Bennet and Darcy. Those unfamiliar with cotillions, quadrilles and country dances were guided by professional Regency dancers with dance master, Ellis Rogers, prior to and during the Ball.  Green Ginger played the music for the dances and there was much to see and do during the evening with music, singing and words of the Regency period, including a rare opportunity to view Edward Austen’s suit and the Jane Austen ‘Sir Charles Grandison’ manuscript.

    Guests met and were invited to dance with the Darcy's (in the form of David Rintoul and Elizabeth Garvie) as well as direct descendents of Edward Austen Knight.

    The days before and after the Ball the guests immersed themselves in the world of the Austen's - private visits, lunches, talks, walks and entertainments were arranged at the houses and places in Hampshire that the family knew well and loved. This also included a private viewing of the Jane Austen House Museum, which had recently undergone significant renovation.There was lunch at Ibthorpe House home of Mary and Martha Lloyd, Mary Married Janes's brother James Austen. Together with the guide, Elizabeth Proudman (Official Wessex Tourist Guide), who conducted an exclusive tour of Winchester. The day after the ball there was a Jane Austen tour with Phill Howe of Hidden Britain Tours, to see the houses and landscape that the Austens' knew well, and were kindly be allowed entry into establishments not normally open to the public.


            Reception 7 o'clock          Carriages 1 o’clock


    This was a very special event held to raise funds for the Chawton House Library Education Programme. 

    For further information please contact -

    Susie Grandfield: on +44 (0) 1420 541010
    or email:  



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    Regency Ball

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    Dancing the quadrille

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    Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul in coversation

    ©BBC pictures

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