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.