MT: The importance of connection
Written by Linden
(2/3/2003 4:06 p.m.)
(Information from `A History of Jane Austen's Family' by George Holbert Tucker).
The success of George Austen shows how important connection was in the period. He had virtually no money himself, and he wasn't of very high rank, but he was well connected, even more so after his marriage.
His first living (Steventon) was given to him by a second-cousin, Thomas Knight of Godmersham; he was also earning some money by looking after the son of his sister's friend Warren Hastings.
`His position in the Steventon community was unusual for a rector of that period. As his Kentish cousins, who owned most of the land in the parish, never lived there, Mr Austen came to be regarded by his parishioners as the local representative of the Knights of Godmersham. This placed him in a much higher social position than was usual for country parsons of that period.... Mrs Austen's aristocratic and family connections enabled the rector and his family to move in the best social circles of the Steventon area.... George Austen was undoubtedly the best-educated man in the area, making him the acknowledged authority on spiritual, temporal and cultural matters.'