Brenda and I had a great opportunity this AM. We had the chance to visit CS Lewis’s and his brother Warren’s home just outside of Oxford. We are about 3 miles from Oxford Uni, where CS Lewis tutored. One of the first surprises for me was to discover that CS Lewis was never promoted to Professor at Oxford, he was lured with a professor’s chair to move to Cambridge, where he spent only 2 or 3 years.
Our guide for this visit is Dave from Tennessee. He tells us that the house had been sold after Warren died, but one of the several C.S. Lewis Foundations, this one in CA, had purchased it and preserved it. We are in the new garage, now converted to a living room-like welcoming center. He tells us that Warren, a retired Army officer, lived in a small apartment the Lewis’s added to the original home. We walk through that “apartment” and we are surprised at how small it is. Most of the house was used by A Ms. Morrow and her daughter Charlotte. Later they were joined by Lewis’s future wife, Joy. It is not a big house, and most of the rooms are quite small by today’s standards.
Lewis entered his second-floor bedroom, originally only by crossing through Ms. Moore's. Creative guy he was, he turned a window into a door and added a small fire-escape style staircase.
I was most surprised to learn that Lewis really wanted to live in the “country”, and it is easy to see the rural nature, even though we are only 3 miles from Oxford. Second, I am surprised for Clive and Warren’s strong attachment to the house. After Clive’s death, Warren made a series of ill-advised financial moves, simply motivated by a fear of losing The Kilns.