Jane’s mother, Cassandra Leigh was living in Bath at the time of her marriage to George Austen in 1764. Her father had retired to Bath in the early 1760s, and had died there in January 1764, and was then buried in the subject of our post today, St Swithin’s Church. The Austens married on the 26th April 1764 by special license at St. Swithin’s
This is a copy of the register recording their marriage
In a characteristically practical manner, Mrs Austen did not appear at church arrayed in any special wedding dress of fine embroidered silk. Instead she wore a typical mid 18th century travelling dress -a habit-of red worsted wool.
Her dress must have been very similar to this one held by the Victoria and Albert Museum in their collection. If you go here you can see a 360 degree view of the dress and a short description of it.
On January 21, 1805 the Reverend George Austen died at the age of 73, and was buried St. Swithin’s Church. Originally George Austen’s tombstone was in the crypt, but it was moved outside in 1968, and the memorial plaque was added in 2000.
Jane Austen’s aunt and uncle James Leigh Perrott and his wife lived during the winter season, at Number 1, the Paragon. Jane Austen stayed with them there in 1797 and also in 1801 when the Austen’s first left Steventon upon Mr Austens retirement, so that they could have a base while they were house hunting for a suitable place to live in Bath. It has to be admitted that Jane Austen was not in a good fame of mind when she stayed there in 1801. She had been rather forced to leave her beloved Steventon home, their friends and neighbours and the surrounding countryside, against her will. She was a self confessed “Desperate Walker” and being hemmed in, in a town, by houses and buildings, however grand , must have felt oppressive to her.
The Paragon is a delightfully quirky 4-bedroom Georgian townhouse in the fashionable and bustling centre of the World Heritage City of Bath. The property has been given a special Gold award for 'exceptional quality of accommodation and customer service' by VistEngland for 2014.