Flower from the garden decorated each window in Jane Austen's house.
Jane Austen's House
After her father died, Jane, her sister Cassandra, and their mother faced quite a few years of financial hardship. The family house and land was entailed away to Mr. Austen's extended family. The Austen sons were young men and only starting out in the world. Both Cassandra and Jane had been disappointed in love and had no prospects or desire for marriage. The women got by with difficulty on the money Jane made from her writing and the small amounts their brothers managed to send. Fortunately for everyone, one of the Austens' distant relatives died and because of the laws of entailment, James Austen inherited the estate in Chawton. He was able to give a pleasant, village home to his sisters and mother and provide for them. In letters that Jane wrote to the family, she expressed her great relief, but also her joy that the house had room for a small garden with good sun exposure. The garden was informal and lighthearted. Just right!
Mary Arden's Farm
Bill got his business ability from his mother's side of the family. The Ardens were a prosperous family and the father was considered a gentleman farmer. That meant he owned and lived at the farm, but employed hired hands to do all the work. The Arden farm continued to be a working enterprise until the 1900's when the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust bought it. The farm and the tiny village of Shottery were so very English!