It was recently brought to my attention that while I covered Jane’s brothers I missed an important male member of her family, her father.
George was born in Tonbridge in Kent. He was one of four children of William and Rebecca Austen. His father was a surgeon bu the family was descended from woollen manufacturers, which had risen through the professions to the lower ranks of the landed gentry. Both parents died when he was young and George was raised by his uncle Francis Austen, a wealthy lawyer. His uncle paid his way through school and in 1755 he was ordained in Rochester Cathedral.
George stayed on St. John’s College, Oxford, where he graduated. It was there that he met Cassandra Leigh and started his courtship of her. They were married in Bath in 1764. By this time his cousin Thomas Knight has provided him with the living of Steventon in Hampshire. From 1765 until 1801, that is, for much of Jane’s life, George Austen served as the rector of the Anglican parishes at Steventon, Hampshire, and a nearby village. From 1773 until 1796, he supplemented this income by farming and by teaching three or four boys at a time who boarded at his home.
In 1801 the family moved to Bath. On January 21, 1905 the Rev. George Austen died at the age of 73. As we know this was a shock and a hard blow to the Austen family. Jane wrote to her brother Frank:
My dearest Frank I have melancholy news to relate, & sincerely feel for your feelings under the shock of it.—I wish I could better prepare you for it. Our dear Father has closed his virtuous & happy life, in a death almost as free from suffering as his Children could have wished. The loss of such a Parent must be felt, or we should be Brutes—.
Rev. George Austen is buried at St. Swithin Churchyard in Bath. The inscription on his grave reads:
Under this stone rest the remains of the Revd. George Austen Rector of Steventon and Deane in Hampshire who departed this life the 1st. of January 1805 ages 75 years.
Jane Austen – Wikipedia
The Reverend George and Mrs. Austen – JaneAusten.co.uk
Jane Austen’s Father: Reverend George Austen – Jane Austen’s World
Jane Austen’s Father – Jane Austen Today
Rev George Austen – Find a Grave