The Knights of Chawton
The Knight Family resided in Chawton House for four hundred years. Edward Austen-Knight inherited the house in 1794.
The more recent heir of Chawton House, Richard Knight, during 1990's was faced with spiralling costs in the repair and maintenance of the house. He had to make a decision between keeping the house in the family and dealing with Chawton House's upkeep.
Chawton House had a saviour in the form of American business woman and philanthropist, Sandy Lerner who was able to offer an opportunity that would benefit all concerned.
Ms.Lerner purchased the ninety year lease, undertook extensive renovations to the house and followed through in setting up a charity in 2003 that is now a centre related to the research of women's writing. Chawton House Library also forged links with the University of Southampton and developed MA Chawton.
Richard Knight continued on as the President of the Jane Austen Society of the United Kingdom and is currently on the board of trustees at Chawton House Library.
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