May 3, 1998
Chawton House is technically not Jane Austen's "ancestral home" ("Sandy Lerner, in Your Face," by Renee Tawa, March 1). Austen and her siblings were born at Steventon Rectory, where her father was a poor but gentlemanly rector. Chawton House was part of the Knight family estate. Thomas and Catherine Knight, distant cousins of Austen's father, George, were childless, adopted Austen's brother Edward and made him their heir. Edward acquired the cottage in Chawton village for his widowed mother, Cassandra, and his two spinster sisters, Cassandra and Jane.