At the time Jane Austen was writing about it, the house was owned by Lord and Lady Botlon. Lady Bolton, Jane Mary Powlett, was the illegitimate daughter and eventual magnificently rich heiress of Charles Powlett, the 5th Duke of Bolton. Her husband Thomas Orde-Powlett, took her name when she inherited the estate and others from the Duke.
The Duke had failed to produce a son to inherit his title, and while the title could not be inherited by Jane due to her illegitimacy and sex, she could inherit the non entailed estates. She eventually inherited most of the Bolton estates on the death of her uncle,the 6th Duke who died without any legitimate male issue. Her husband was elevated to the peerage on 20th October 1797 by George III. He took the name of Baron Bolton of Bolton Castle in honour of his wife’s family. So I think we can assume that the latest fashions would have been worn at the virtual ducal home…
As well as spending time with the family friend Madam Lefroy, who lived at Ashe Rectory, we know that Jane and Cassandra came into contact with the infamous Boltons of Hackwood Park. (Jane dryly comments after meeting the illegitimate daughter of Lord Boltonin the Bath assembly rooms that she was ‘much improved with a wig’) dancing-years