Taking place each night of All Hallows Eve, your costumed host will deliver some of literature’s strangest gothic tales by the fireside.
As night wanes and the witching hour approaches, settle in for an atmospheric evening of Gothic tales from Chawton House’s collection.
Thu 29 Oct
We begin our Gothic retellings with Hannah More’s poem Bishop Bonner's Ghost whose ghoulish apparition passes judgment beyond the grave. The night continues with The Midnight Bell, described as one of Jane Austen’s ‘horrid novels’ in Northanger Abbey. Each night a mysterious bell rings in St Francis Abbey, where a terrible murder took place years before…
Fri 30 Oct
Night two is dedicated to Anne Radcliffe, one of the most significant Gothic writers of the 18th century. Far from being a horror writer, Radcliffe wished to terrify her readers and make them feel alive through her words. Her most famous work, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) takes place in the 16th century in Southern France and tells the tale of orphaned Emily St Aubert, imprisoned in a castle by her villainous uncle Montoni.
Sat 31 Oct
The final night is a dramatic reading of Mary Shelley’s little-known novella Mathilda. Although written between August 1819 and February 1820, the subject matter was so controversial that it was not published until 1959. It tells the story of Mathilda, a young woman desperately in love with a gifted young poet, Woodville, from whom she hides the shameful secret of her father’s incestuous love.