Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Sunday, 2 May 2010 16:47 UK

Jane Austen service held at Winchester Cathedral

Jane Austen portrait
Novelist Jane Austen is buried at Winchester Cathedral

A special service to mark the life of novelist Jane Austen has taken place at Winchester Cathedral where she is buried.

Austen lived in Steventon, near Basingstoke, in Southampton, and at Chawton, near Alton, before she died in Winchester in 1817 aged 41.

The service was attended by some of her descendants and a bible that belonged to her father was used.

A Jane Austen exhibition has also been opened at the cathedral.

The exhibits chart her lifelong connections with Hampshire.

Sense and Sensibility

Rebecca Smith, a descendant of the Austen family who attended the service, said she was very pleased with the exhibition.

"I know that people come to the cathedral for very many reasons, but one part of their pilgrimage will probably be to see where Jane is buried.

The evensong service at Winchester Cathedral
The service was attended by some of her descendants

"To have something more than just the gravestone, lovely as it is, and the brass plaque, I think is wonderful."

The house at Chawton is where Austen spent the last eight years of her life, and where she wrote most of her famous works about pre-industrial English society.

These include Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Emma.

Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published the year after her death.



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