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Godmersham Park outbuilding where Jane Austen worked to become holiday home between Canterbury and Ashford


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Holidaymakers could soon stay on the country estate where world-famous novelist Jane Austen wrote some of her work.

Owners of Godmersham Park, between Canterbury and Ashford, want to turn a neglected outbuilding on the far reaches of the 1,200-acre estate into a guesthouse.

Godmersham Park where Jane Austen wrote some of her novels
Godmersham Park where Jane Austen wrote some of her novels
The Byre, a lonely outbuilding on the Godmersham estate could become a holiday home
The Byre, a lonely outbuilding on the Godmersham estate could become a holiday home

The isolated structure is thought to have been the home of three sister laundry workers in the mid 1800s. It is known on the estate as The Byre - another name for a cowshed.

By the turn of the 20th century, the building is thought to have been unoccupied and has since fallen into a state of disrepair. It sits away from the park’s main Grade I-listed house, which features with Austen on the current £10 note.

Now, estate owners Sunley Farms Limited want to turn the old cowshed into a holiday home “generating a modest income”.

With one en-suite bedroom upstairs, and a kitchen and dining area on the ground floor, the building will be aimed at couples on a country getaway.

Planners say the L-shaped property is “charming” and “full of character”.

Jane Austen, shown here in an original family portrait, was born in December 1775
Jane Austen, shown here in an original family portrait, was born in December 1775

Back in the late 1700s and early 1800s, Jane Austen wrote some of her famous stories from the grounds of Godmersham Park.

She stayed on the estate, which was then owned by her brother Edward, for about 10 months.

On the Reading with Austen blog, writer Nigel Nicolson says Godmersham is “more closely connected with Jane Austen’s life and work than any other surviving house except Chawton cottage” - her Hampshire home.

The proposals have been submitted to Ashford Borough Council’s planning department.

They have been drawn up by Kent-based architects Lee Evans Partnership which previously gained the go-ahead to turn Lord Kitchener’s former cottage in Broome Park, Canterbury, into a holiday home.

Developers say the old exterior of the building will undergo “almost unnoticeable” changes.

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