Church of St Nicholas (Steventon Church)
|Council:||Basingstoke and Deane|
|North West Hampshire|
Steventon is a rural village with a population of about 250 in north Hampshire. It is to be found seven miles south-west of Basingstoke, between the villages of Overton, Oakley and North Waltham, and close to Junction 7 of the M3.
Steventon is best known as the birthplace of the author Jane Austen, who lived there from 1775 to 1801, when she moved to Bath with her parents. Though the Rectory in which she wrote Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility was pulled down around 1824, the site is still marked by an old lime tree that is believed to have been planted by her eldest brother, James, who took over the parish from his father. An excavation in 2011 was able to find and map the site of the former rectory and recovered some artefacts. The site is still marked by an old lime tree that is believed to have been planted in 1813 by her eldest brother, James, who took over the parish from his father.
The parish church is a 13th-century edifice, of St Nicholas.
St Nicolas where Jane Austen's father was rector for 44 years and where Jane worshipped for 25 years. It is in form little changed from their day. Inside the church are memorial tablets to James Austen, his nephew William Knight and their families, together with the Digweeds who rented the Steventon Estate during the Austen-Knight period. Outside in the churchyard are their graves together with those of later Lords of the Manor of Steventon.
The church is a Grade II listed building, said to be from the 13th century with a few modifications made in the 17th century and a significant restoration in the 19th. Restorations were carried out in 1934, 1975, 1984 and 1988. In the two recent efforts, the "roof and spire were completely renovated ... the interior of the church was renovated".
About the village
Ashe Park is a grand country house built in the 1600s (and which was frequently visited by Jane Austen in the late 18th century). The estate is six miles from Steventon Church. The house was restored in 1934 by Colonel Sir John Humphery and additions were made in the 1950s but the building was nearly derelict by the 1990s. It was eventually restored and the grounds were re-landscaped; the property became a polo centre.
A part of the current structure dates back to the original Ash Park, but there have been various alterations since that time. Ashe Park is not a listed building.
Other architecture in the area is associated with the village's famous daughter, including Deane House (where Jane met Tom LeFroy), Ashe Rectory (home of the LeFroys), Oakley Hall (where she visited Wither and Mary Bramston), the railway viaduct and The Wheatsheaf Hotel (where she collected the mail). The home of her brother, Edward Austen Knight, known as Chawton House, is roughly 16 miles from Steventon.
The Victorian Steventon Manor (built in 1877) which replaced an early Norman building was destroyed by fire in 1932. It was replaced by an Elizabethan manor which was demolished in 1970 after being vandalized. The site is now covered by the M3 motorway.
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material|
about Steventon, Hampshire)
- The Village: Steventon Village Hampshire
- "Unlocking secrets from Jane Austen's Steventon home". BBC News. 26 December 2012. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-hampshire-20678244. "It is hoped the finds will go on display at Basingstoke's Willis Museum"
- National Heritage List 1092810: Church of St Nicholas (Grade II listing)
- "A Guide to St Nicholas' Church, Steventon". Dutton Force. 11 January 2000. http://www.dutton.force9.co.uk/nwsadhs/stevchur.htm.
- "The Ashe Park Estate, beloved of Jane Austen in the 18th century, seeks a new owner for the 21st century". Country Life. 5 September 2020. https://www.countrylife.co.uk/property/the-ashe-park-estate-the-18th-century-stomping-grounds-of-jane-austen-seek-a-new-21st-century-owner-218192. "There ensued a period of dereliction, followed in the 1990s by a fresh revival."
- Jane Austen Historical Walk Leaflet: Destination Basingstoke
- Places to stop on your self-guided Jane Austen tour: Pair of Wanderers