Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mystery Solved! Why Jane Austen favoured Captain Wentworth's name - amongst others.


This is in response to a post I blogged about earlier - I was doing some research on names and discovered the village of Wentworth in South Yorkshire where the aristocratic families of Wentworth, Watson, Woodhouse and Fitzwilliam ruled over the area. As these names are all connected with characters in Jane Austen's novels, I thought there must be some significant connection. I wanted to know why she had chosen so many of these names for characters in her novels. A bit more searching on the website Wentworth village.net reveals the fact that a certain Eleanor Wentworth married Lord Leigh of Stoneleigh Abbey - and if you know anything about Jane Austen, you are aware that Jane's mother was related to this family.

On Stoneleigh Abbey's website there's a fascinating page on Jane Austen's connection with her Leigh ancestors and a portrait of the woman, Elizabeth Lord, who may have inspired the character of Anne Elliot. I am absolutely intrigued by this story - I feel a trip to Stoneleigh coming on!

I don't think it's necessary for me to repeat everything on these websites, but do take a look - I'm sure others must have discovered this before me, but I've found it all so interesting.
One further point - and this is all a little fanciful, but I can't help wondering if it's mere coincidence that the first Earl of Strafford, Thomas Wentworth, not only shared the same christian name as someone who had been important to Jane Austen, but he also was a lawyer, studied at the Inns of Court, and became Lord Deputy of Ireland. Why did Jane choose Wentworth as the name of the hero in her last and most romantic tale? Can you guess who sprang into my mind when I was reading about him? It's probably nothing, I'd love to know what you think about all of this and the above!

Illustration: The cover of the dvd Persuasion starring Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root - absolutely gorgeous, and one of my favourite adaptations.

9 comments:

Sue said...

Hi Jane, I did go to the website, I find all this so wonderful, fascinating and romantic! Thanks so much for your post and the link-will your hero's name be Thomas?
So happy to hear you're writing another book! ;0)

austenonly said...

You MUST go to Stoneleigh.Im a little sceptical about some of the claims made on the website,(Once a lawyer etc...) but it certainly influenced Jane Austen with regard to grand surroundings etc.The chapter on Jane Austen and Stoneleigh in the book on Stoneleigh Abbey by Ribert Bearman makes for very interesting reading:Id recommend you read this before you go for a visit;-)

Jane Odiwe said...

Yes, I think there are a lot of claims made in the name of Jane! I don't know why I haven't been before - it is my home county, I'm ashamed to say. I might well have been taken as a child - we 'did' lots of stately homes which I loved, but I think I would have remembered it, and certainly, my father would have taken cine film. Thank you for the reading recommendation.

Jane Odiwe said...

Thank you Sue - yes, I was thinking of Thomas Lefroy, although I'm most likely taking a leap too far. Still, it is all very interesting.
As for my new book, it's taking over my life, which they always do to an extent. I am so enjoying writing it, but then I haven't yet got to any 'sticky' bits which inevitably turn up sooner or later.

Alexa Adams said...

Research well spent. This has been such fun today - a little mystery to solve. Thanks!

Jane Odiwe said...

There just had to be a reason that Jane used so many names from the same family, she was clearly very proud of her connections - and it's always good when the detective work is quick like that. I'm glad you enjoyed it - I did too.

Raquel said...

I will wait your trip to Stoneleigh to know more. I am very anxious, here!

Jane Odiwe said...

Raquel, I'm not sure if I shall find out much more or when I shall be able to go, but I shall certainly let you know when I do!

My Eclectic Reads said...

Thank you so much for sharing the connection. Very interesting information. Will have to ponder on this for a while.

Persuasion is my fav of JA's novels. Now, I feel compelled to find out more about Tho. Wentworth!