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“See the Country Beautifully”: Mapping Jane Austen’s vs. the Brontë Sisters’ England


Hello, dear readers! We hope you’re enjoying JASP’s Austen vs. Brontë season. So many of our favorite novels—Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Wuthering Heights, to name a few—include such beautiful descriptions of Austen and the Brontë sisters’ home country that it’s no wonder fans across the world flock to Great Britain every year for a taste of the novelists’ sublime landscape.


To learn more about the corners of England Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters inhabited during their lifetimes, check out the maps below.


 

Jane Austen's England


“What are men to rocks and mountains? Oh! what hours of transport we shall spend!” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

MAP NOT TO SCALE

Color Key


Dark Green: Steventon. Here, Jane Austen is born on December 16, 1775, and lives with her parents and siblings for the first half of her life.


Light Green: Oxford. Jane and her sister Cassandra are sent to school in Oxford in 1783 but sent home after a typhoid fever outbreak. They return to school at Reading Abbey in 1785.


Blue: Bath. In 1801, the Austen family moves to Bath, where Jane finds it difficult to write. When Jane’s father dies in 1805, Jane and her mother and sister return to Bath, moving into a flat at 25 Gay Street.


Red: Godmersham. Harris Bigg-Wither proposes to Jane in 1802. She initially accepts his offer but withdraws the next day, fleeing his country estate with Cassandra.


Pink: Southampton. The Austen women move to Southampton to live with Frank and Mary Austen in 1806.


Yellow: Hampshire. The Austen women accept an invitation from Edward and Elizabeth Knight to settle at Chawton Cottage in 1809.


Red X: Winchester. Jane dies of a mysterious illness on July 18, 1817, and is buried in Winchester Cathedral.




The Brontë Sisters' England


“‘It is not so buried in trees,’ I replied, ‘and it is not quite so large, but you can see the country beautifully all round; and the air is healthier for you—fresher and drier.’” – Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

MAP NOT TO SCALE

Color Key


Dark Green: Thornton Village. Sisters Charlotte (b. 1816), Emily (b. 1817), and Anne (b. 1820) Brontë are born in Thornton and live in a small parsonage on Market Street until 1820, now called The Brontë Birthplace.


Blue: Haworth. In 1820, the Brontë sisters’ father takes a job in Haworth, a small town that serves as the family’s home base for the rest of their lives.


Yellow: Mirfield. In 1831, Charlotte begins attending Roe Head School. In July of 1835, she becomes a professor there, and Emily enrolls as a student. In October, Emily returns home to Haworth and Anne takes her place at the school. Charlotte resigns in 1837.


Pink: York. In 1839, Charlotte works at Stone Gappe in Lothersdale as a governess for the Sidgwick family. From 1840 to 1845, Anne works at Thorp Green Hall as a governess for the Robinson family.


Red: Halifax. Emily becomes a teacher at Law Hill School in 1837. She resigns less than a year later.


Light Green: Scarborough. Anne Brontë dies here on May 28, 1849, when she is only twenty-nine years old. Anne loved Scarborough, depicting it in both Agnes Gray and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. She is buried in St. Mary's Church graveyard.


Red X: Haworth. Emily dies at home in Haworth in 1848, as does Charlotte in 1855.

 

BONUS: Brussels, Belgium (not pictured). In February of 1842, Charlotte and Emily travel to Brussels, Belgium, to become pupils of Constantin Hegér. They return home that November upon news of their aunt’s death. Charlotte, sans Emily, returns to Brussels in January of 1842, where she works as a teacher at Hegér’s school for a year.



 

So, Janeites—would you rather inhabit Jane Austen's southern corner of England or the Brontë sisters' northern corner of England? Let us know in the comments below!

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