Rev. Henry Thomas Austen

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Henry Thomas Austen, M.A.

Birthdate: (78)
Birthplace: Steventon Rectory, Steventon, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Death: March 12, 1850 (78)
Royal Tunbridge Wells, Tunbridge Wells Borough, England, United Kingdom
Place of Burial: Royal Tunbridge Wells, Tunbridge Wells Borough, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. George Austen and Cassandra Austen
Husband of Elizabeth ("Eliza") Austen and Eleanor Austen
Brother of Rev. James Austen; George Austen; Edward Austen Knight; Cassandra Austen; Admiral of the Fleet Sir Francis William Austen, GCB and 3 others

Occupation: Militia captain; banker; editor; curate, Reverand
Managed by: Nicole A. Deal
Last Updated:

About Rev. Henry Thomas Austen

Henry Thomas Austen (1771 – 12 March 1850) was a militia officer, clergyman, banker and the brother of the novelist Jane Austen.

Henry Thomas Austen was Jane’s favorite brother and the most instrumental influence upon furthering her writing career. Literature owes a debt of gratitude to him far greater than can be every repaid. Without his assistance her first four novels might not have been published during her lifetime, and certainly he deserves all the credit for negotiating the last two posthumously in 1817. He was also her first official biographer, contributing the ‘Biographical Notice’ included in the publication of Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. It would remain the only biographical information available to the public for over fifty years until the publication of the 1870 ‘A Memoir’ by her nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh

Impetuous, impatient and sanguine in nature, Henry’s careers were as varied as his fortunes. Jane described her brother as “not a mind for affliction” and that he “writes very superior sermons“. His niece Anna Lefroy, daughter of his brother James, left this description of him in her family recollections written in the 1850’s.

"My Uncle Henry Thomas Austen was the handsomest of his family, and, in the opinion of his own father, also the most talented. There were others who formed a different estimate, and considered his abilities greater in shew than in reality, but for the most part he was greatly admired. Brilliant in conversation, and like his Father, blessed with a hopefulness of temper, which, in adapting itself to all circumstances, even the most adverse, seemed to create a perpetual sunshine of the mind. The Race is not however always to the swiftest – it never has been – and though so highly gifted by Nature, my Uncle was not prosperous in life."

Henry Thomas was the fourth child born to George and Cassandra Austen on the 8th of June at Steventon rectory, Hampshire

1788 – Graduated from St. John’s College, Oxford (his father’s & brother’s alma matre)

1789-90 – Editor and contributor of the literary publication The Loiterer with his brother James

1793 – Joined the Oxfordshire Militia rising from lieutenant to captain before he resigned in 1801

1796 – Received his Masters of Arts from Oxford

1797 – Married his widowed cousin Eliza de Feuillide at Marylebone Church in London. (editor’s note: several people have written to me correcting my use of widowed in this sentence. According to The Cambridge Dictionary, widowed in an adjective used to describe a person whose husband or wife was died.

1804 – Founded with two associates the bank Austen, Maunde and Tilson of Covent Garden in London

1805 – Contributed £50 a year to the support his mother & sisters after the death of his father George Austen

1813 – Wife Eliza died on the 25th of April and is buried in Hampstead

1815 – Henry buys back “Susan” (Northanger Abbey) from the publisher Crosby, to whom he had sold it in 1803

1816 – Bank failure and bankruptcy of Austen Maude & Tilson in London

1816 – Received Holy Orders and became curate of Chawton

1817 – Attended the funeral of his sister Jane on 24 July at Winchester Cathedral

1818 – Wrote the first ‘Biographical Notice’ of his sister included in Northanger Abbey and Persuasion

1820 – Married Eleanor Jackson at Chelsea

1820 – Served as rector of Steventon until 1822

1850 – Died on 12 March at Tunbridge Wells and is buried in Woodbury Park Cemetery


Married his widowed cousin Eliza de Feuillide who was 10 years his senior.


Birth: Jun., 1771 Death: Mar. 12, 1850

Literary Figure. The brother of author Jane Austen. He studied at Oxford from 1788, where he was editor of "The Loiterer" magazine. He tried several careers without success, including the militia and banking, before becoming a Curate. He was influential in his sister's writing career and supported her decision to publish her work. She stayed at his house while meeting with her publisher in London, and it was during these visits that she observed the society life she later wrote about in her novels. He was responsible for the publication of "Persuasion" and "Northanger Abbey" after her death, and is thought to have chosen their titles. He also wrote the prefaces for both books, and these were the first published biographies of the author. (bio by: js)

Burial: Woodbury Park Cemetery Royal Tunbridge Wells Tunbridge Wells Borough Kent, England

Maintained by: Find A Grave Originally Created by: js Record added: Feb 05, 2009 Find A Grave Memorial# 33563963

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Rev. Henry Thomas Austen's Timeline

June 8, 1771
Steventon, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
March 12, 1850
Age 78
Royal Tunbridge Wells, Tunbridge Wells Borough, England, United Kingdom
Age 78
Royal Tunbridge Wells, Tunbridge Wells Borough, England, United Kingdom
The Loiterer