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Jane Austen 1775-1817 Jane Austen was born on December 161774 in the tiny village of Steventon where her father the Reverend George Austen served as the town rector Her mother Cassandra Leigh Austen was the daughter of a rector herself and Jane was the seventh of eight children She had an older brother George who suffered from epilepsy and did not live with the family Wealthy childless relatives who were very involved with the boy throughout his childhood adopted the Austens third son Edward The remaining six children however lived with their parents in the plain comfortable village rector Janes closest relationship within her family was to her adored older sister Cassandra Three years apart in age and the only girls among the eight children the two were close friends from childhood onward Cassandra was once engaged to a young man who died of yellow fever Similarly Jane was very involved with a clergyman who died before they could become engaged Neither of the sisters ever married and the two lived together with their mother until Janes death in 1817 In 1801 George Austen Janes father retired as rector of Steventon and moved with his wife and two daughters to Bath where he died in 1805 The familys years in the city were difficult ones In addition to Mr Austens death Mrs Austen suffered a serious illness Following her husbands recent death Mrs Austen moved with her daughters to Southampton In 1809 Janes brother Edward who had inherited the estates of the wealthy relatives who had adopted him years before offered his mother and sisters a permanent residence at one of his properties a house in the town of Chawton It was there that Jane Austen would live until her death from what is believed to have been Addisons disease at the age of forty-one George Austen Janes father was a scholarly man and the household included a large library from which Jane read
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