Tuesday, March 25, 2008

At the Kilns: Learning from C.S. Lewis

This series on galumphing called “At the Kilns” is devoted to learning from the writings of C.S. Lewis. I thought it might be appropriate to explain what The Kilns actually is.

C.S. Lewis lived and worked for over thirty years at his home in Oxford called “The Kilns.” (See the photo on the sidebar). He also died there on November 22, 1963, the same day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The house was named after the brick kilns that stood nearby. A kiln is an “oven” for hardening or drying bricks (or pottery, or whatever you intend to harden and dry). The main intent of the title, “At the Kilns” is simple to describe my “experience reading Lewis”—I suppose a double meaning may be that I am “hardening” my faith, or perhaps making bricks to build my faith…? Or perhaps that is cheesy. I am not getting “baked” or “drying up”…

The Kilns has been purchased and refurbished by the C.S. Lewis Foundation to be used for sabbaticals and research, although tours can be arranged by appointment. I am planning on visiting Oxford (Lord willing) next March; the Kilns is top on the list of places to see (that, and Lewis’s favourite pub, the “Bird and Baby”).

Lewis on The Kilns
On Sunday, July 6th, 1930, C.S. Lewis and his brother Warren view The Kilns with the intention to purchase the home. Upon viewing the property, Lewis records, “The eight-acre garden is such stuff dreams are made on… The house… stands at the entrance to its own grounds at the northern foot of Shotover [Hill] at the end of a narrow lane… To the left of the house are the two brick kilns from which it takes its name—in front, a lawn and hard tennis court—then a large bathing pool, beautifully wooded, and with a delightful circular brick seat overlooking it. After that a steep wilderness broken with ravines and nooks of all kinds runs up to a little cliff topped by a thistly meadow, and then the property ends in a thick belt of fir trees, almost a wood. The view from the cliff over the dim blue distance is simply glorious.”


Anonymous said...

Yes, and you shall have to take lots of pictures so I can live vicariously through them after the fact. Go ahead and tell me that two weeks alone with four kids is comparable to travelling to England..... I still won't be convinced, ha ha. Halfpint.

Jeremy W. Johnston said...

Consider my school trip as a "practice run" for OUR trip to England... hopefully sooner than later!


LL said...

I visited London 20 years ago and I still remember visiting Dickens' house. It had a feel to it - an "air" of creativity that I found at once awesome and humbling.

If I ever return to England The Kilns will be high on my list as well! Thanks for sharing this!