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One of Jane Austen's greatest novels set in a Devon village

Posted: 23rd November 2016
Category: Jane Austen News
One of Jane Austen's greatest novels set in a Devon village

The Exeter Express and Echo report that Jane Austen's Exeter connections are to be celebrated in the village on the edge of the city that inspired the setting of Sense and Sensibility. The Jane Austen Day is being organised by the Friends of Upton Pyne in aid of the maintaining their Grade 1-listed village church. The day will cover many Austen-related activities that will all take place in the Exe Valley village of Upton Pyne.

Sense and Sensibility is set largely in Devon, in and around 'Barton Park' which is 'four miles northward of Exeter' in the 'Barton Valley'. Author Anne-Marie Edwards says, in her book In the steps of Jane Austen, that she feels sure 'Barton Park' is Pynes, a Grade II-listed William and Mary stately home set in a 37-acre park, which has always been linked locally with the novel. The imagined hillside village of Barton matches nearby Upton Pyne and Woodrow Barton farmhouse is believed to be the inspiration for Barton Cottage, home of the Dashwood family.The bells of Upton Pyne church will be rung on Sunday, July 14 mark the start of the Jane Austen Day. After a brief introduction to the works of Jane Austen by Veronica Clarke, a former English teacher at The Maynard School, participants have a choice of activities.

 

A Regency-style morning service will be led by the Rev. Douglas Dettmer in the village church. Alternatively people can take the guided walk of a mile and a half along country lanes and footpaths to Woodrow Barton, part of the Pynes estate, enjoying countryside described by Jane Austen as 'a pleasant, fertile spot, well-wooded and rich in pasture’. Walkers and church-goers, who can drive to Woodrow Barton after the service, will meet at the farmhouse for coffee and timed short tours of the interior by June Nicks who has farmed there with her husband Alan for 45 years. June said: "The former farmhouse, to which Jane Austen might have referred, is, we think, still inside the present house. It was partly formed by the thick cob wall running from south to north, in what is now our living room and kitchen," "This is confirmed by looking at the existing windows on the east side of the house, which are much older than those on the front, and which we think formed part of the old frontage." A picnic lunch will be held in the farmhouse garden, from where the Exe Valley views are much as Jane described them. "The situation of the house was good," she wrote of Barton Cottage. The prospect "commanded the whole of the valley, and reached into the country beyond."

 

The day continues with a short footpath walk, or drive, from Woodrow Barton to Pynes, where there will be a talk on 'England's Jane' by local author and Jane Austen expert Maggie Lane. From Pynes, it is a short distance back to the village church where the Rev. Douglas Dettmer will talk about country weddings in Regency times and Lily Neal, of The Topsham Bookshop, will read from the closing passages of Sense and Sensibility.


The day ends back in the village hall for an elegant cream tea served on tables laid with hand-embroidered tablecloths provided by professional embroiderer Adrienne Howells, an Upton Pyne resident. Linda Findlay, a Friends of Upton Pyne committee member, said she was delighted with the interest in the Jane Austen Day. She hoped it would become an annual village event."In December last year, our parochial church council made it clear that funds were urgently needed for the on-going maintenance of the church building and grounds. "People in this small community have responded magnificently, and we have so far raised around £8,000 with various fund-raising events, donations and volunteering in the village.

 

With the Jane Austen Day we hope to appeal to a wider audience, as well as local residents, and to welcome visitors to our lovely village and its historic church."I hope that some people will come in costume although of course this is not obligatory, and may indeed be impractical for anyone doing the walk. But I hope that we will invoke the spirit of Regency times and show people a part of Devon that has changed very little since Jane Austen holidayed in the county at the beginning of the 19th Century."


Contact: Linda Findlay on 01392-841402 or by emailing friendsofuptonpyne@yahooo.co.uk. 

 

Read more at http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/austen-s-great-novel-set-devon-village/story-19504862-detail/story.html#Gk5vV1HZePTyyr5w.99


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