Anne Lefroy, known as Madam Lefroy, was born in 1749 to the Brydges family at Wootton Court, near Canterbury. When George Austen was made rector at Deane by his Uncle Francis, Francis also sold his assets in Ashe to a wealthy man, Benjamin Langlois, so that ten years later in 1783, he could also reward his own nephew, the Reverand Isaac Peter George Lefroy, by giving him the living of Ashe. The very attractive and cultivated Anne married the Reverand in 1778 and they lived as Ashe, making them the Austen’s closest neighbours. They had four surviving children; the eldest Lucy and three sons; John Henry George (who succeeded his father at Ashe), Christopher Edward and Benjamin Langlois (who later married James Austen’s daughter Jane). Anne was a keen poet and her brother, Egerton Brydges, thought highly enough of her work to get two of her poems published before her marriage. In The Poetical Register and Repository of Fugitive Poetry, there are two poems by a Miss Brydges*. The poems are considered witty and contain issues suited to the feminine mind such as masculine pretension. They show that she was at ease with herself and her feelings. Anne and Jane, despite their age difference, formed a friendship that was marked by intelligence and respect. This friendship started when the Lefroy’s invited the 11 year old Jane to play with their 7 year old daughter. Due to a mutual love of literature, Anne and Jane began long literary discussions about novels,
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