George IIIThe United Kingdom celebrates Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. In 1809 England was celebrating another Jubilee, George III’s Golden Jubilee. George III had reigned for 50 years at this point. At Chawton, Jane Austen was entertaining her bother, Edward and his daughter Fanny, who were staying with them. Fanny’s pocket book describes their day:
The Jubilee on act. of the dear old King’s 50th accession day. No very grand doings here. We all dined with Mrs F. A.(Frank Austen’s wife) except G.M. & Charles. I spent the morng. there whilst Papa, Aunts C and Jane called at Froyle.
Mary Austen, wife of Jane’s eldest brother, James, had attended a special Jubilee Ball at Basingstoke, and the Basingstoke area celebrations sound splendid:
Not less than one thousand persons (comprehending the indigent of both sexes and all ages) were liberally treated with an amplitude of wholesome viands, accompanied with ten hogsheads of strong beer, at Lord Bolton’s seat at Hackwood . Mr. Chute, Col. Jervoise, Mr. Wither, Mr. Blackburn, Mr. Harwood and other neighbouring gentlemen, emulated each other on the joyful occasion, in similar acts of liberality. The day was introduced by a ball and cold collation on the preceding night, at which all the neighbouring gentry were present. The religious service of the day was attended by The Mayor and Corporation, the North Hants Cavalry and Basingstoke Infantry; when an excellent sermon was preached by the Rev. Mr. Russell Curate of Basingstoke; a liberal subscription was raised for the indigent ands the day concluded with a public dinner, at the Town Hall, attended by the Mayor and Corporation, the North Hants Corps and many of the neighbouring gentlemen, where the utmost harmony and festivity prevailed to a late hour. janeaustenshousemuseum