Monday, August 9, 2010

Did Jane Austen ever visit Tenby?

I've just come back from visiting family in Pembrokeshire, Wales. I always love a trip to Tenby where there is a gem of a bookshop at the bottom of a medieval passage. The Tudor Merchant's house is well worth a visit too - you have to pass it down the steps to get to the bookshop, and there's also a very good pub that does lovely food. The bookshop is filled from floor to ceiling with tottering piles of books, some on shelves, others piled up on the floor so there's just about room to stand and circumnavigate. It's like an Aladdin's cave because you never know what treasure you might find. The books are all rather precariously placed - I don't think I've ever been without knocking half a dozen or more off their wobbly pile, but this is what makes it such fun. This time I found a wonderful book on Thomas Wentworth - (yes, of course there is a Jane Austen connection with the Leigh family), a Georgette Heyer hardback, and some Daphne du Maurier short stories, so I was very pleased as you can imagine!




From the hafodymor website: Tenby (Welsh: Dinbych-y-Pysgod, meaning little town of the fishes or little fortress of the fish)

There is no doubt that Tenby is steeped with rich culture. It is seen on every street in every niche, and in all aspects of life. Tenby has also has brought up a number of famous people, and has inspired them, people such as Augustus John and his sister Gwen, two popular artists; actor Kenneth Griffith who received his earlier apprenticeship at the local Greenhill School; the mathematician Robert Recorde who presented the world with the equals sign. It has also inspired many visitors, whether in paintings, poetry or books such as Beatrix Potter (author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit), George Eliot (author of Middlemarch), and Laurie Lee (author of Cider with Rosie).

I have often wondered if Jane Austen visited Tenby. It's easy to imagine the Austens here on one of the trips into Wales they talked about making once they moved to Bath, but unfortunately we just don't know if she ever ventured that far. Nelson and Lady Hamilton made the trip staying at East Rock House, which has wonderful views over the sea.There are some lovely Regency houses and you can walk along the top of the harbour and see where Beatrix Potter and George Eliot stayed whilst they were in Tenby. Vanity Fair was filmed here a few years ago - the scenes on the beach are very funny!
Photos:
A medieval passageway leading to the bookshop
Tenby Harbour
Plaque to Beatrix Potter
East Rock House where Nelson and Lady Hamilton stayed.

4 comments:

Cranberry Morning said...

Sounds like a fascinating place to visit! A bookstore is always one of the top three places to go. Maybe after visiting Hay-on-Wye, Tenby should be the next stop on a book store 'crawl.'

Jane Odiwe said...

Well, heaven is a bookshop for me. The Tenby bookshop is tiny, but there are hundreds of books!

Anne Shirley said...

I love old libraries! First of all because you find old books too! That kind of books you will never find in news libraries.
My dream is to visit England, is to walk in all those places that Jane walked some day in the past. I love it!
Kiss!

Jane Odiwe said...

I love old libraries too!
I hope your dream comes true one day, Anne!