See Jane Austen’s original will

To mark the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, The National Archives is showcasing her original will and signature in the Keeper’s Gallery, our on-site museum.

The will is dated 27 April 1817, three months before Austen died at the age of 41.

With the exception of a few small legacies, including £50 to her brother, Jane left ‘everything’ to her sister Cassandra. The will reads:

‘I Jane Austen of the Parish of Chawton do by this my last Will & Testament give and bequeath to my dearest Sister Cassandra Elizth everything of which I may die possessed, or which may be hereafter due to me, subject to the payment of my Funeral Expences, & to a Legacy of £50. to my Brother Henry, & £50. to Mde Bigeon–which I request may be paid as soon as convenient. And I appoint my said dear Sister the Executrix of this my last Will & Testament.’

Image of Austen's handwritten will

Will of Jane Austen, 10 September 1817 (catalogue reference: PROB 1/78 (1 of 2))

Caroline Ottaway-Searle, Director of Public Engagement at The National Archives said:

‘We are thrilled that 200 years after her death, we are able to display Jane Austen’s will. It allows us a view into her world and provides a connection over the centuries to one of this country’s most iconic and famous authors. Many people are familiar with her characters, this gives us a view on Jane herself and what was important to her. I encourage everyone to visit us and see this fascinating document for themselves.’

Jane Austen’s will is on display in the Keeper’s Gallery until October 2017.

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