Cassandra Austen, Jane’s beloved sister If Cassandra were going to have her head cut off, Jane would insist on sharing her fate.” Mrs. Austen Cassandra Austen – middle name Elizabeth – was born January 9, 1773, two years before her famed sister Jane. In a family of 6 boys, the girls became fast and close friends. Education was extremely important to the Austens. The girls’ father, Rev. George Austen, ran a boarding school out of their home, the Rectory, in Steventon. In 1783, Jane and her older sister Cassandra went briefly to be taught by a Mrs. Cawley (the sister of one of their uncles). They were brought home after an infectious disease broke out in Southampton. In 1785-1786 Jane and Cassandra went to the Abbey boarding school in Reading, which apparently bore some resemblance to Mrs. Goddard’s casual school in Emma. (Jane was considered almost too young to benefit from the school, but their mother is reported to have said that “if Cassandra’s head had been going to be cut off, Jane would have hers cut off too”.) This was Jane Austen’s only education outside her family. Within their family, the two girls learned drawing, to play the piano, etc. Jane and Cassandra Austen returned home and lived at the Rectory, an integral part of their community until their removal to Bath in 1800. With the older brothers marrying and moving on to careers in the Church or military, room was made available for the two of them, who shared a room
Become a Jane Austen Member
Membership is completely free….
- A welcome 10% off voucher to spend in our giftshop
- Full access to our online magazine of articles about Jane Austen
- Regular new stories
- Giftshop special offers and new products
- Our very popular an entertaining quiz