Jane Austen shrine church in row with historian over plans to commemorate

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The old station sign and bench Credit:Christopher Jones  She wrote: “I was very surprised that someone with a relatively short link to the village (compared to the age of the church) should seek to place their coat of arms in the church, and I do not think that most people in the village have been alerted to this request,” adding: “I feel that only a family which has strong ties over several generations should have such a display.”She added that she believed such tributes were only appropriate to commemorate the “Lord of the Manor”. However, heraldry expert John Martin Robinson told the court that “Lordship of this or that manor is no more a title than Landlord of The Dog and Duck”. June Rogers, Chancellor of the diocese of Gloucester, ruled that the plan could go ahead. She said: “The Jane Austen connection does not preserve in aspic this Church. As the Leighs succeeded Evesham Abbey, so the Collins family is now in residence. Another layer has been added to the life and continuity of this village.” The old station sign and bench  It’s a “shrine” for Jane Austen fans who travel from all over the world to see the village that inspired their heroine. But a church in Adlestrop, the village which is thought to have inspired some of the author’s greatest works, is risking their ire over plans to introduce a plaque to a woman from a family who are relative newcomers in the area. Since the 16th century the Leigh family, Austen’s relatives, had owned Adlestrop Park, the great house which is thought to have inspired Sotherton Court, the estate in her novel Mansfield Park. But the house has been restored and is now owned by the Collins family who are also generous donors to projects including the refurbishment of the church’s five bells. Now the rector and churchwardens have asked a consistory court to let Dominic Collins install a hatchment, a coat of arms display, in the church in memory of his late wife. But the idea was opposed by local historian and Austen expert Victoria Huxley, who said it was inappropriate to install a memorial to a family who were not the Leighs. last_img read more