Jane West





Jane West was born in London in 1758, and moved to Desborough as a child.
When she married local farmer, Thomas West, at the age of 24, she moved into Little Bowden Manor House. She remained there until her death in 1852.
At a time when few women received any education, Jane wrote prolifically. Her novels consisted mostly of wry comment and humorous instruction. They included an elderly spinster character called Prudentia Homespun, whom Jane created to narrate them. The novel A Gossips Story has been credited as anticipating the style of Jane Austin.
Although she wrote numerous plays, they were never performed in her lifetime.
Jane was a fervent housewife who believed that home life should take precedence over her writing. In addition to her household, she managed a dairy. By all accounts she was a woman of great character. At the age of 93, she took the rector of Little Bowden to the Ecclesiastical Court for removing her family pew. Jane won, and the rector had to reinstate the pew.
Jane outlived her husband and all three of her sons. The family are buried in St Nicholas churchyard.
She describes herself thus:

You said. The author was a charmer
Self taught, and married to a farmer;
Who wrote all kinds of verse with ease,
made pies and puddings, frocks and cheese
Her situation, tho' obscure,
Was not contemptible or poor.
Her conversation spoke a min
Studious to please, but unrefin'd

Miscellaneous Poems 1791 .