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June 2015 reviewed

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June 2015 reviewed

Thank you to everyone who attended the first “Jane Austen-The Kintbury Connection” weekend! Throughout the weekend, all events were very well attended and with your help we managed to raise an amazing 3000.00!

The weekend kicked off in style with a Book talk and signing, hosted by local author Gill Hornby, who has herself written about the life of Jane Austen in her book for children, “The Girl With The Magic Pen”.  She was joined by two eminent Jane Austen experts, firstly Maggie Lane, who explored the presentation of widows and women of an older generation within Austen’s novels, brought excellently to life by dramatic readings of extracts by Angela Barlow. In the second talk of the morning, Hazel Jones led us through an exploration of travel in Jane Austen’s time, extracts from the writer’s own diaries and contemporary writings on the subject painting a vivid picture of life on the road in Austen’s time.

The beautiful afternoon sunshine proved the perfect backdrop to a delicious afternoon tea hosted at Inglewood farm, boasting a wide range of delicacies and very much enjoyed by all who attended. We were even treated to the arrival of some very special guests in the form of the Devizes’  Regency dancers, who attended in splendid Regency Costume. 

The festivities did not end there, however, as Jane was celebrated late into the evening with a Theatrical fine dining experience, as a sumptuous three course meal was accompanied by readings of exacts from Austen’s novels, the portrayal of Emma’s Miss Bates in particular causing much amusement!

Events continued on Sunday with a Regency themed church service, led by Sue Webster, celebrating Austen’s work with the reading of extracts and bible passages that doubtless Jane would have known well, memorably culminating in a spirited rendition of “Jerusalem” from the assembled congregation.

Local historian Penny Fletcher took a packed church on a vivid journey through Regency Berkshire in her talk, “Kintbury in the time of Jane Austen”.  She introduced us to some colourful characters including the sharp witted local vicar, and friend of Jane herself, Fulwar Craven Fowle.

This was followed by “Yours Affectionately, Jane”, a dramatic reading of Jane’s letters by recent drama graduate, Ellen Lock Ireland. Accompanied by narration and explanation from Theresa Lock, audiences were treated to a rare chance to hear, in Jane’s own words, all about her relationship and memories of Kintbury and its residents, whom she knew well.

As a perfect accompaniment to Penny’s previous talk, Sue Webster then lead visitors on a historical tour of Kintbury village, contextualising some of the buildings that would have been present in Austen’s time, and providing a fascinating link to the village’s past.

The finale to the weekend was hosted by local residents Gill Hornby and Robert Harris, in their beautiful riverside garden at The Old Vicarage.  Guests were welcomed to sample a delicious range of tea and cakes whilst admiring a location that the Austens would have known well, having often visited the Fowle family who inhabited the previous incarnation of the Old Vicarage, since demolished.

Throughout the event, and indeed, the previous weeks, local residents were invited to bid in a silent auction for a portrait of the Fowle Vicarage, inspired by a contemporary illustration. The winning bid was announced at the Old Vicarage afternoon teas and we are pleased to announce that the winning bidder has generously donated the portrait back to be displayed in the church. We very much hope that you will join us to see it when it has been put on display.


“Jane Austen - the Kintbury Connection” weekend was sponsored by
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