Sunday, 26 August 2007

Jane Austen/Tom Lefroy timeline

A few weeks ago, Michelle requested a Jane/Tom timeline, but I was still working on other posts then. Now, particularly after Anthony Lefroy and the Cadell letter revelations, I am more ready to give a Jane/Tom timeline, starting from Jane’s birthday up to Tom’s death. The list is, of course, subjected to changes upon further findings. Special thanks to Arnie as well for his opinions re: Mrs. Lefroy’s letters he wrote in the comment section of Anthony Lefroy.

16 December 1775 : Jane Austen was born in Steventon, Hampshire, England

8 January 1776 : Tom Lefroy was born in Limerick, Ireland
Circa 25 Dec 1795 : Jane and Tom met for the first time in Hampshire.
8 January 1796 : Friday. Jane and Tom danced in Manydown Park
9 January 1796 : Saturday. Jane wrote to Cassandra about Tom and his white coat
15 January 1796 : Friday. Jane and Tom danced in Ashe; something bad happened that made Jane wrote to Cassandra that night, ‘At length the Day is come on which I am to flirt my last with Tom Lefroy, & when you receive this it will be over –’ (note: the letter postmark is 16 January 1796). The letter is Jane’s last surviving letter that verbally mentioned Tom Lefroy.
No surviving letters of Jane Austen after 15/16 January and before 22 August 1798
22 August 1796 : Monday. Jane and his brothers (Edward and Frank) arrived in London.
23 August 1796 : Tuesday. Jane wrote to Cassandra from Cork Street, London. Le Faye (1997) and Spence (2003) suggested that they stayed at Benjamin Langlois’ house in Cork Street. Spence also suggested that Mrs. Anne Lefroy might be promoting or supporting the idea, perhaps triggered by her guilty feeling over her intervention to Jane and Tom’s romance
No surviving letters of Jane Austen after 18 September 1796 and before 8 April 1798
Easter term 1797 : Tom went back to Ireland and being called to the Bar. He was also engaged with Mary Paul of Silver Spring, Co. Wexford, Ireland during the Easter term. Afterwards, Tom returned to London
1 November 1797 : Mr. Austen offered ‘First Impression’ unsuccessfully to Cadel & Davies, the refusal letter was received immediately
November 1797 : Jane and Cassandra went to Bath and met/accompanied Anne Lefroy and her daughter (Lucy?). It is very likely that Tom also went to Bath
December 1797 : Jane and Cassandra were still in Bath. Very likely, Tom was also there
No surviving letters of Jane Austen after 8 April 1798 and before 24 October 1798
May 1798 : the Irish Rebellion of 1798 broke out in Ireland. Many Wexford gentries took refuge in North Wales, England
5 November 1798 : Monday. Anthony Lefroy married Elizabeth Wilkin; Benjamin Langlois did not approve, hence Anthony was cut off without a penny
Between 5-17 Nov’98 : Tom went to Hampshire, presumably to talk with Anne Lefroy about Anthony and his family in Ireland. It is unlikely that Tom met Jane in Steventon this time; or if he did, Jane’s news of the meeting was filtered by Cassandra
17 November 1978 : Saturday. Jane wrote to Cassandra explaining that Tom ‘was gone back to London in his way to Ireland, where he is called to the Bar and means to practise’ despite her ‘too proud to make any enquiries’. Though Tom did return to Ireland, it is very likely that he did that to discuss the matter of Anthony, instead of dealing with the Bar.
No surviving letters of Jane after 23 January 1799 and before 17 May 1799.
16 March 1799 : Tom Lefroy married Mary Paul at Abergavenny, North Wales, England. Afterwards, Tom resumed his study at Lincoln’s Inn, London
No surviving letters of Jane Austen from 19 June 1799 and before 27 October 1800
1800 : Tom Lefroy joined the Irish Bar
Early October 1800 : Tom and his father Anthony Peter Lefroy visited Ashe, Hampshire (Mrs. Lefroy’s letter#1)
25 October 1800 : Saturday. Jane (Steventon, Hampshire) wrote to Cassandra (Godmersham), ‘I am not yet able to acknowledge the receipt of any parcel from London, which I suppose will not occasion you much surprise. – I was a little disappointed today, but not more than is perfectly agreable; & I hope to be disappointed again tomorrow, as only one coach comes down on sundays.’ Arnie suggested that Jane’s disappointment might be Tom-related.
No surviving letters of Jane Austen after 27 May 1801 and before 14 September 1804
24 June 1802 : Jane Christmas Lefroy, Tom’s second offspring and eldest daughter, was born
2 December 1802 : Harris Bigg-Wither proposed to Jane Austen; Jane received immediately, but refused it the following morning
16 December 1804 : Mrs. Anne Lefroy was killed in a riding accident
21 January 1805 : Revd. George Austen died in Bath
30 October 1811 : Sense & Sensibility was published by Thomas Egerton
28 January 1813 : Pride & Prejudice published
9 May 1814 : Mansfield Park published
8 November 1814 : wedding of Anna Austen and Benjamin Lefroy
30 August 1815 : Thomas Edward Preston Lefroy (TEPL) was born as one of the offspring of Anthony Lefroy and Elizabeth Wilkin. TEPL later became the Judge of County Courts of England. He also played an important role in the Jane/Tom saga.
December 1815 : Emma published by John Murray
Spring 1816 : Jane started to feel unwell
1816 : Tom Lefroy was appointed as King’s Counsel in Ireland
24 May 1817 : Jane and Cassandra moved to Winchester
18 July 1817 : Jane Austen died in Winchester at the age of 41
Post July 1817 : it is likely that Tom Lefroy paid homage to Jane’s grave in Winchester, as suggested by the website of Carrigglas manor
1818 : Northanger Abbey and Persuasion published together with Henry Austen’s ‘Biographical Notice of the Author’. Tom Lefroy was appointed King’s Serjeant.
1836 : after the death of its owners, Cadell & Davies firm was closed
Before 23 Nov 1840 : the sale of Cadell & Davies papers. TEPL obtained the original letter of Mr. Austen to Cadell & Davies, written on 1 November 1797. It is very likely that TEPL acted on behalf of Thomas Langlois Lefroy
November 1841 : Tom Lefroy became the Baron of Exchequer of Ireland
9 September 1846 : TEPL married Jemima Lefroy (daughter of Anna Austen Lefroy and Benjamin Lefroy)
1st day of Easter Term 1852 : Thomas Langlois Lefroy became the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland
January 1858 : death of Mary Lefroy
Between 11 and 24 July 1866 : Chief Justice Lefroy resigned from his position. He then retired to Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, accompanied by daughter Jane Christmas Lefroy
1 April 1869 : Caroline Austen wrote to James Edward Austen-Leigh ‘against raking up that old story of the still living ‘Chief Justice’ – That there was something in it, is true – but nothing out of the common way – (as I beleive). Nothing to call ill usage, & no very serious sorrow endured.’
4 May 1869 : Thomas Langlois Lefroy died at the age of 93
24 May 1869 : Anna Austen Lefroy wrote to Emma Austen-Leigh (JEAL’s wife) negating Caroline’s letter (which was dated 1st April 1869). Sometimes afterwards, JEAL asked TEPL about Tom and Jane
16 December 1869 : A Memoir of Jane Austen was published
16 August 1870 : TEPL wrote to James Edward Austen Leigh about Tom Lefroy’s ‘boyish love’ towards Jane Austen (see Chapman’s Facts and Problems, 1949. I’ve double checked the year, and it was truly in 1870).
1871 : Second edition of A Memoir of Jane Austen
1871 : Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy was published. In the Introduction, there was an old note from Tom Lefroy about his papers on Scriptures. Tom stated that, ‘The papers in this parcel were written at different times from the year 1816, when I first began to have any view of God’s true method of salvation for a sinner. I had from the year 1795, more or less, read the Scriptures, but not with faith – nor as a little child – but in the pride of a Socinian spirit, and consequently I remained long in the dark.’ Tom Lefroy met Jane Austen the first time in 1795; Jane Austen’s first signs of her serious illness began in 1816.

Phew! Now, that’s a long list! Michelle also gave me the link to Ellen Moody’s excellent calendar of Jane Austen’s work; later I will try to cross reference the times in Jane’s novels with the real time of her and Tom as we know so far. Just give me time, and do drop me some suggestions. Thanks!

Chapman, R. W. 1949, Jane Austen: Facts and Problems, Oxford University Press, reprint from 1948, Oxford.
Cranfield, R. E. 1960, From Ireland to Western Australia: The Establishment of a Branch of the Lefroy Family at Walebing, Western Australia, 1842 to 1960, Service Printing Perth.
Faye, D. L. 1997, Jane Austen's Letters, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Faye, D. L. 2002, Jane Austen's Outlandish Cousin – The Life and Letters of Eliza de Feuillide, British Library Publishing Division, London.
Faye, D. l., Austen-Leigh, W. & Austen-Leigh, R. A. 1989, Jane Austen: A Family Record, The British Library, London.
Howard, J. J. & Crisp, F. A. 1973, Visitation of Ireland, Genealogical Publishing Com.
Lefroy, T. 1871, Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy, Hodges, Foster & Co., Dublin.
Radovici, N. 1995, A Youthful Love: Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy?, Merlin Books Devon.
Spence, J. 2003, Becoming Jane Austen, 2007, Second edn, Continuum International Publishing Group, London.

Pic 1: Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy danced, by Jane Odiwe
Pic 2: Cork Street, by Rachel Kingston
Pic 3: Harris Bigg-Wither, from the Bigg-Wither website
Pic 4: Thomas Langlois Lefroy, circa 1855
Pic 5: 'A Memoir of Jane Austen', by James Edward Austen-Leigh


Michelle said...

:-O :-O :-O

This is insanely amazing!! So much better than I could have ever imagined ... (but this should not be a surprise, anymore ;))

Thank you! This is an excellent resource, and I'm sure it will be invaluable to many people. :)

Anonymous said...

Magnificent! You never cease to amze me, dear Icha. Thank you. Onward!

Linda the Librarian

Michelle said...

"1871 : Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy was published. In the Introduction ... signs of her serious illness began in 1816."

THIS, I think, is absolutely sensational, as well as possibly very significant. We all know a main reason people turn to God, for comfort and answers ... Wow!

Icha said...

I'm glad you like it, Ladies! Michelle darling, it took me... let's see... nearly 4 hours to do the post (writing and posting), but it worth it.

I made some amendments, particularly the year of TEPL's letter to JEAL, it was truly 1870. Hence, JEAL's reference to TL should not be found in the first edition; or if it is, it would be rather different from the 2nd ed.

And I've also added the link to year 1795 and 1816, my old post:

I also had the same observation with you, Michelle. It's very interesting, eh?

Tina said...

Well done! You are truly becoming an incredible 'history detective'. I can't wait to see what other treasures you unearth!

Rachel said...

Wow! You never cease to amaze me Icha. Thank you!

Rachel said...

I think I just wrote the same as Linda! Haha. Sorry! It is true though!

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in specific references for your "very likely" entries on the time line, noted below. Thanks.

November 1797 : Jane and Cassandra went to Bath and met/accompanied Anne Lefroy and her daughter (Lucy?). It is very likely that Tom also went to Bath

Before 23 Nov 1840 : the sale of Cadell & Davies papers. TEPL obtained the original letter of Mr. Austen to Cadell & Davies, written on 1 November 1797. It is very likely that TEPL acted on behalf of Thomas Langlois Lefroy

December 1797 : Jane and Cassandra were still in Bath. Very likely, Tom was also there

Post July 1817 : it is likely that Tom Lefroy paid homage to Jane’s grave in Winchester

Icha said...

Hello, Anon, thanks for dropping by. Yes, there are references of course, but they're rather too long to put in brackets, hence I will just give you the links to my previous posts with regards to those specific timeline.

Bath, for Nov & Dec:

In short, Jane and Cass were in Bath in November 1797. It is an assumption that Tom Lefroy was also there, mostly coming from Radovici (come to think of that, I forgot to put her here, sorry and thanks!). And I agree with Radovici, based on my own analysis. The December month is my assumption, for it's a holiday month, and Jane was still in Bath in December (from one of Eliza de Feullide's letters).

Tom paying homage to Winchester

The idea is from the Carrigglas website of which link I also attached. The Winchester part is my assumption, for where else TL would pay homage if not to JA's grave?

Cadell/Austen letter

See this one:
I have included the link in the post. Perhaps it's rather elusive due to its colour.

Thanks for the questions!

Icha said...

Tina, thanks a lot! (sheepish smile) Am not trying to play Miss Marple here... the facts and info are just jumping out of the pages as I read them. I understand what Radovici meant as she explored Northanger Abbey and Persuasion for JA/TL reference.

Rachel dear, you and Linda are superwomen! Thanks Ladies, can't do much without you, you know that!

Anonymous said...

First off, I love this!!

Second, I find it very interesting and almost left to the "FATES" that Mrs. Anne Lefroy was killed during a riding accident the same day that Jane Austen was born... Just a little thought of no importance.

Icha said...

Thanks Patricia! And yes... I also had that thought before...weird eh?...