Jane's brothers and sisters were all going their own way, into the navy, into marriage. Her brother Edward had been adopted by the wealthy Knight family and had become a landed gentlemen in Kent. He lived at the family seat in Godmersham, and Jane would often visit to help with Edward's rapidly expanding family. Jane probably had Godmersham Park in mind when she was creating the Darcy estate of Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice . On her first visit to Pemberley Elizabeth Bennett thought to herself: "To be mistress of Pemberley might be something." Jane must have thought the same looking at Godmersham, a place where she was often treated as the poor relation. Godmersham Park can still be seen in the village of Godmersham, just off the A28 between Ashford and Canterbury, Kent. Godmersham is privately owned and is not set up for visitors. However, you can see the front of the house, and there is a walk from the estate's main gate, through the park down towards the river Stour.
Viewed from the old bridge over the Stour.
Godmersham Park and Mansion has a famous literary connection. Jane Austen spent time in the mansion between 1794 and 1813 and possibly based Persuasion and Mansfield Park on her experiences of local Kentish society.