Save the Honresfield Library

Please help us save the Honresfield Library for the nation!

** UPDATE** 

Friends of the National Libraries has formed a consortium, including Jane Austen’s House, to save this literary treasure trove for the nation.

Friends of the National Libraries has announced that it is leading a bid to save the Honresfield Library, one of the most important private collections of manuscripts and printed books associated with some of the greatest writers in the United Kingdom. The library includes two hugely significant letters from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra. FNL has launched an appeal and is in discussion with private philanthropists and sources of public funds to raise the purchase price of ÂŁ15million.

Sotheby’s have decided to postpone the auction of the first part of the library, originally announced for July, in order to preserve the entire library as a collection to be allocated to libraries around the UK for the benefit of the public.

To find out more, donate and help us save this literary treasure trove, please visit:


The news is exciting that the fabled Honresfield Library has emerged from myth and obscurity to reveal its extraordinary treasures.  But without immediate government intervention in the public interest a national collection hidden for 100 years will soon be scattered piecemeal across the world—perhaps never to be seen.  The first tranche is set to go under the hammer as soon as 21 July.  This is a library filled with unique and precious British treasures—manuscripts in the hands of Burns, Scott, Austen, the BrontĂ«s.  With national libraries and literary house museums, the public custodians of such materials, struggling to survive after a year of forced closure and lost revenue, this is not the moment to bring national treasures onto the international market.  Saved for the nation, this unrivalled collection will be a source of vital cultural revenue and creative renewal.  Retained as a coherent collection, it will repay scholarly investigation and provide enjoyment for all lovers of literature for the next 100 years.

We fully support the Bronte Parsonage in their campaign to save this astonishing collection intact for the nation. You can find out more about the collection and the Bronte Parsonage’s response here.

We will be writing to our MP to urge immediate action on this. If you would like to do the same, please find a template letter for you to download and send below.

If you are outside the UK and would like to help with this campaign, please keep sharing articles and posts on social media, and watch this space for more ways to get involved.