Village gets set to celebrate bicentenary of novelist Jane Austen

Horsted Keynes author Ann Govas SUS-160909-124223001
Horsted Keynes author Ann Govas SUS-160909-124223001

A church in Horsted Keynes has more reason than most to celebrate the forthcoming bicentenary of novelist Jane Austen - for three of her relatives served as rector there.

They served at St Giles Church between 1785 and 1812. And their tenure is being highlighted in a new booklet by local author Ann Govas.

And current Rector Canon John Twisleton is commending the publication. He said: “I warmly commend her new book Jane Austen’s Horsted Keynes relations launched this month for its insight on our Austen Rectors.

“They left their mark on this community, as in William Austen’s establishing a National School to serve the children of poor agricultural labourers, and give insight into the world of their close relative Jane Austen.”

The new book is launched Saturday (September 17) at 7pm at the Martindale Centre, Horsted Keynes and can be ordered from Ann Govas via cost £5.

Next year’s bicentenary of Jane Austen (1775-1817) will be commemorated in her appearance on £10 notes.

Horsted Keynes has been the home of several famous people: Sir Thomas Lewknor who fought at Agincourt with King Henry V; saintly peacemaker Archbishop Robert Leighton; his contemporary Rector Giles Moore whose Day Book chronicles 17th century Sussex village life; Land of Hope and Glory author Arthur Benson and Prime Minister Sir Harold Macmillan have all lived in the parish.