Jane Austen wrote to her cousin Philadelphia Walter, of Seal, Sevenoaks, Kent — from her home in Steventon.  Per the notes, Seal, Kent is a village two miles north of Sevenoaks.  The Walter family lived in Seal from 1785-1811 — possibly on Church Street in the “The Gray House.”

Also referencing the notes — this is the only letter sent from Austen to her cousin Philadelphia that survives in this part of the family lineage/descendants, which was then donated to the British Museum in 1993.

Austen leads right off informing her cousin that Cassandra is home, and “our sincere Condolence on the melancholy Event with Mrs. Humphries Letter announced to my Father this morning. — The loss of so kind & affectionate a Parent, must be a very severe affliction to all his Children, to yourself more especially, as your constant residence with him has given you so much the more constant & intimate Knowledge of his Virtues.”

Austen is writing to convey sympathy at the loss of Philadelphia’s father William-Hampson Walter, and Austen alludes in her letter that he was ill and perhaps suffering for some time: “the Goodness which made him valuable on Earth, will make him Blessed in Heaven. — This consideration must bring comfort to yourself, to my Aunt & to all his family & friends; & this comfort must be heightened by the consideration of the little Enjoyment he was able to receive from this World for some time past.”

Per the notes he passed away on 6 April 1798.  Austen closes this letter with the following: “My Father & Mother join me in every kind wish, & I am my dear cousin.”

All notes and references to: Jane Austen’s Letters, Fourth Edition, collected and edited by Deirdre LeFaye, Oxford University Press, 2011.













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