Jane in Oxford

It is well established that Jane and her sister Cassandra were, briefly, tutored in Oxford.

The family had links to the city already, at St John's College and elsewhere, and as youngsters the sisters went to some sort of tutoring establishment run by a Mrs Ann Cawley, widow of a former Principal of Brasenose College - the background is described on the Brasenose website:

 "It is, of course, the tradition in Jane Austen's family which places Ann Cawley in Oxford in 1783. Mr. Austen's bank account shows payments to Mrs. Cawley of 30 in April of that year and 10 in September 1783.
 "The argument that this was a private tutoring arrangement rather than a school is supported by reference to Jackson's Oxford Journal: schools and schoolteachers were advertized regularly in the paper, but Mrs. Cawley's name does not appear in such a context."
  E.Boardman, The Jane Austen Society Report for 2003

JMW Turner, Brasenose College

We are in the process of some research to find out more about this time of Jane's life - exactly where Mrs Cawley's establishment was, and why it was rather hastily transplanted to the none-too-healthy port of Southampton after only a few months, where the sisters seem to have gone down with typhus - not, in any case, that Jane seems to have been tremendously thrilled with her experience of Oxford:

"..these dismal chapels, dusty libraries and greasy halls that gave me the vapours for two days afterwards".

Christ Church College

Oxford is a thriving modern city, but quite a lot of the university related buildings in the centre of the city are still very much as Jane and Cassandra would have seen them, just as is the case in Bath. Oxford is well worth a visit for any Austen fan!

St Mary's University Church

More material will appear on this page as we further our researches. Many thanks to Elizabeth Boardman, archivist at Brasenose, for her help and support.

JMW Turner, Oxford High Street 1808

designed by it-alternative