A Timeline of Jane Austen’s Life and Works

16 December 1775
Jane Austen is born at Steventon Rectory, in Hampshire. She is the daughter of Rev. and Mrs Austen, and the seventh of eight children. She has six brothers and a sister.

1783 – 1786
Jane goes to school in Oxford, Southampton and Reading with her sister Cassandra; in 1783 she falls ill with typhus fever and nearly dies.

1787 – 1794
Jane writes her teenage writings, including Love and Friendship (1790), Lesley Castle (1792) and Lady Susan (1794).

Jane writes Elinor and Marianne, an early version of Sense and Sensibility

Dec 1795 – Jan 1796
Tom Lefroy, a young lawyer, visits his relatives in Ashe, near Steventon. Jane and Tom dance and flirt.

1796 – 1797
Jane writes First Impressions (later revised and published as Pride and Prejudice). Her father offers it to a publisher but it is rejected.

1798 – 1799
Jane writes Susan (later published as Northanger Abbey).

On Rev. Austen’s retirement, Jane and her father, mother and Cassandra leave Steventon and move to lodgings in Bath.

2 December 1802
Jane accepts an offer of marriage from Harris Bigg-Wither, the rich brother of her friends, but the next day she changes her mind and declines the proposal.

Acting on her brother Henry’s instructions, Susan is sold by his lawyer William Seymour, to a publisher for £10, but not published.

Jane begins writing The Watsons but does not finish it.

21 January 1805
Rev. Austen dies suddenly and is buried in Bath. Jane and Cassandra, with their mother, are left poor and dependent on their brothers for support.

Jane and Cassandra, with their mother and friend Martha Lloyd, move to Southampton to live with their brother Frank and his wife.

7 July 1809
Jane and Cassandra move to Chawton with their mother and Martha Lloyd. Chawton Cottage is offered to them, rent-free, by their elder brother Edward, who inherited estates in Chawton, Steventon (Hampshire) and Godmersham (Kent) from rich relatives.

Sense and Sensibility is published. Jane’s name does not appear on the book – instead it says ‘by a Lady’.

Pride and Prejudice is published, ‘by the author of Sense and Sensibility’.

Mansfield Park is published. Jane begins writing Emma.

Emma is published (December 1815); Jane dedicates it to the Prince Regent.

Jane’s brother Henry succeeds in buying back the unpublished manuscript of Susan for £10.

1815 – 1816
Jane writes The Elliots (later published as Persuasion). In 1816 she becomes ill but continues to write.

January 1817
Jane begins The Brothers (later published as Sanditon), but she only completes the first twelve chapters.

April 1817
Jane’s illness confines her to bed. On 27 April she writes a short will, leaving nearly everything to her ‘dearest Sister Cassandra’.

24 May 1817
Jane leaves Chawton and moves with Cassandra to Winchester, for medical treatment.

18 July 1817
Jane dies at her lodgings in Winchester, aged 41 years old. On 24 July she is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

December 1817
Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are published. For the first time, Jane Austen is identified as the author.

Jane’s first biography, A Memoir of Jane Austen, written by her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh, is published.

Sanditon is published under the title Fragment of a Novel.

Jane Austen’s House opens to the public.