Magdalen College and C.S. Lewis

On Tuesday September 20th we had plans to try to visit several colleges but at the end of the day we were only able to get into two of the colleges, Magdalen and All Souls College. This post will cover some of Magdalen College and C.S. Lewis’s history there.

We were at the Holywell Cemetery before we made our way to Magdalen along Longwall St. and we noticed this sundial. The dial is formed from metal lines and characters attached to the south facing stone wall of the Grove Auditorium. Upright hour numerals are VII – XII – VI, and hour and half-hour lines run each to their own unmarked circular arc around the gnomon root. The gnomon is a thin un-supported rod springing from a small disc on the wall. Above the dial is ‘M M’ for both Mary Magdalen and the year 2000. On with our journey to the entrance to Magdalen college on High St.

We entered to St. John’s Court through the Porter’s Lodge. This beautiful gate is beside Porter’s Lodge. We are now in St. John’s Court.

We picked up a brochure called C.S. Lewis At Magdalen from the Porter’s desk. I will be quoting from the brochure in this post. Thank you to Magdalen College.

We were sad to hear the chapel was closed to visitors because of the restoration of the organ.

In 2014 Dear and I ware able to view the chapel and that post is here.

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) as a student at University College down the road from Magdalen College. In 1925 he was called to Magdalen to be considered for a teaching post of English Language and Literature. He was chosen and elected a Fellow at 500 pounds a year, plus accommodation, meals, and pension.

The traditional ceremony for the induction of Fellows at Magdalen is unchanged from Lewis’s time. Kneeling on a red cushion before the President in the presence of other Fellows and asked, in Latin, will you uphold the statutes of the College? They reply, Do fidem (I give my faith or I so promise) The President pronounces them admitted to the Fellowship, shakes their hand and wishes them joy. The new Fellow is then greeted by the other Fellows, one by one, who also wish him joy.

Lewis’s relationship with Magdalen would last a lifetime.

In this photo you can see the Great Bell Tower at Magdalen. Every May 1st at dawn the choir welcomes the morning in song up in the tower to crowds on the streets below. Click here to read and see more.

The 15th Century Cloisters construction commenced in 1474 which makes this medieval square of stone among the oldest parts of Magdalen.

We left the main grounds to get to Addison’s Walk along the Holywell Mill Stream.

Addison’s Walk in April of 2004 ~ Our daughter and her dad

2014-07-011

We were sad to find out on our 2022 Addison’s walk that this tree met it’s demise and is no longer on the path.

On this visit we walked further along to this second stone bridge to see this memorial tablet presented to the College by the Oxford University C.S. Lewis Society, to mark the centenary of Lewis’s birth, November 29, 1898. So this tablet has been here since 1998. I copied the poem below so you would be able to read it since the tablet has weathered over the last 25 years.

What the Bird Said Early in the Year

I heard in Addison’s Walk a bird sing clear
This year the summer will come true. This year. This year.

Winds will not strip the blossom from the apple trees
This year nor want of rain destroy the peas

This year time’s nature will no more defeat you
Nor all the promised moments in their passing cheat you.

This time they will not lead you round and back
To Autumn one year older by the well worn track.

This year, this year, as all these flowers foretell,
We shall escape the circle and undo the spell.

Often deceived, yet open once again your heart.
Quick quick, quick, quick – the gates are drawn apart.

C.S. Lewis

We walked back following the stream to where it meets up with the The River Cherwell at Magdalen Bridge. This is where you can rent a punt.

On our way back to the New Building Lawns we spotted the herd of fallow deer.

Lewis’s college rooms were in New Buildings. The buildings you see below. He enjoyed the views from his windows where he could see the College’s herd of fallow deer.

“It was in these rooms in New Buildings, several years after he became a Fellow, that Lewis moved steadily, through a long personal and philosophical struggle, towards belief in God. He had been an Atheist for the better part of twenty years. But he became convinced that reasonable argument itself is dependent on a God, whose existence he felt driven, reluctantly, to concede.”

“An important turning point was a late-night conversation at Magdalen with his friends Hugo Dyson and J.R.R. Tolkien. After dinner, the three men withdrew to Addison’s Walk, (see photos of Addison’s walk above) continuing in conversation and further in the night in Lewis’s rooms in New Buildings until three in the morning. They talked about myth and reality and the idea that Christianity, while similar to great pagan myths that Lewis found powerful and attractive, was a myth with a unique difference, because of it’s claim to be historically authentic–a claim Lewis was soon to accept.”

“The close friendship between Lewis and Tolkien was partly based on sharing and discussing the books they were writing, and these exchanges came to include other Christian friends and writers, a literary circle to be known as the Inklings. Typically meeting in Lewis’s rooms in New Buildings on Thursday nights and in the ‘Eagle and Child’ pub on Tuesday mornings, the group flourished in the 1930’s and 40’s. The Inklings read, discussed, and criticized passages from many books still in the making, among them Tolkien’s, The Lord of the Rings. Lewis so admired this book that many years later, he would nominate Tolkien for the Nobel Prize for Literature.”

As we waited for the Dining Hall to be open to viewing, we stepped into the Old Kitchen Bar to find a refreshment but no one was around. We did spot the framed photos above of the filming of Shadowlands at Magdalen college. Shadowlands is a story based on the real life story of C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman. Anyone have a copy of the DVD we could borrow?

We couldn’t walk into the dining room but we had a small cordoned off section to stand in and look and take photographs.

Edward Butler, (1686-1745) President Magdalen College University of Oxford (1722-1745)

We exited the college and made our way to Merton Street where more adventures would follow.

Back to the present on this Wednesday January 11th of 2023, we’ve had some snow melting slowly here and more bare ground showing. Some very thick fog the last few days that makes driving a challenge. Today I’ll be joining some other gals at church for our weekly prayer meeting. How can I pray for you? There’s a link at the top of my blog where you can find my email address. We are getting ready for another adventure with our whole family. Our January family trip that will cover all our January family birthdays, too. Because of this I will again be slow in visiting and keeping up with your blogs. Thursday Dear has a follow-up with the Stroke clinic in Spokane.

Like C.S. Lewis, I do hope you will concede and accept the truth of the historical Jesus, who died for your sins and is risen from the dead and reigning with all authority at the right hand of God! Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you, too, will be saved.

Doorways

After my gargoyle post yesterday, that was a little disturbing to some, I decided to post a few doorways today in between more of my very full Oxford posts coming soon. These doorways are from Magdalen College. (Pronounced Maudlin)

I’m working on a full post from Magdalen College with some history of C.S. Lewis’ connections there.

I’ll keep it simple today and leave you with a quote from C.S. Lewis.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” From The Weight of Glory.

A Day With C.S. Lewis

Those of you who are familiar with C.S. Lewis and his series The Chronicles of Narnia will see Mr. Tumnus on this doorway in Oxford. It is said that this doorway was an inspiration for C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Warning: This is a long post, be ye forewarned…

On Saturday September 17th we had our first taxi experience in Oxford. Our first ride was to Holy Trinity Parish Church in Headington Quarry where C.S. Lewis worshipped.

We had a tour of The Kilns, C.S. Lewis’ home while he lived on the outskirts of Oxford, scheduled for noon. We wanted to visit the church before our tour to see the Narnia Etched Window and to visit Lewis’s grave.

We had the church to ourselves.

It’s not easy to take photos of an etched window.

The church had this prayer by the window.

O God of searing truth and surpassing beauty, we give you thanks for C.S. Lewis, whose sanctified imagination lights fires of faith in young and old alike. Surprise us also with your joy and draw us into that new and abundant life which is ours in Christ Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

From the church we headed out to find The Kilns, a mile walk.

The site was so understated we walked right past it and headed into the C.S. Lewis Nature Preserve. After a roundabout we made it back to the home of C.S. Lewis and waited in the garden for our tour to begin.

As we waited in the garden, several other people arrived to wait for our scheduled tour. Everyone who arrived were also from the United States. The home states represented were Texas, Illinois, Virginia, Florida, Minnesota and Washington State.

Colin was our tour guide and he shared many interesting things about Lewis and his brother. More information about the Kilns and C.S. Lewis can be found here.

The home is modest and is maintained by the C.S. Lewis Foundation.

This poster was in the meeting room in the house with a nod to the Eagle and Child or the Bird and Baby where Lewis and the Inklings would meet up.

Sadly, the Eagle and Child in Oxford was closed when we visited and was closed since March of 2020. Hopefully someone will take over the renovations and open it again in the future.

After our tour we had scheduled another Taxi to take us to The Trout for our meal of the day. We were happy to see the taxi waiting for us when the tour was completed.

We had reservations for a meal at 2pm at The Trout a favorite of C.S. Lewis. It was good we made those reservations because when we arrived we noticed a sign that said they were fully booked and wouldn’t accept walk-ins.

We had a good meal experience and our server took care of all our needs including arranging for our third taxi ride of the day back to our apartment. A very full Saturday and we were happy to enjoy the evening in our apartment making plans for our Sunday.

St. Barnabas Church, Oxford (Jericho)

On Friday September 16th we decided on a self-guided tour of the Jericho area of Oxford. This day was a student open day at all the Oxford colleges so none of the colleges were open to general visitors only to perspective students and their families.

We walked north from our apartment and followed Walking Oxford, a worthwhile book of walking tours that we purchased before traveling to Oxford.

St Barnabas Jericho is a fine Victorian Basilica-style Church in west Oxford, built in 1869.

Inside, the church is very beautiful with wall panels in the eastern apse depicting Christ in Majesty above the 12 Apostles. On the other walls, panels feature the animals mentioned in the Book of Revelation, chapter 4.

The High Altar is higher than the nave and is reached by nine steps and has a delicately ornate gilded ciborium over it.

The intricately decorated Walnut pulpit was donated in 1887.

On the North Nave wall of the church I was taken in by these panels which I will show in more detail.

The murals on the north wall of the nave represent Te Deum laudamus, (Latin: “God, We Praise You” ) and are made of cut glass using the “opus sectile” technique.

We Praise Thee O God

We Acknowledge Thee To Be the Lord

All the Earth Doth Worship Thee ~ The Father Everlasting ~ To Thee All Angels Cry Aloud ~ The Heavens and All the Powers ~ Therein to Thee Cherubim and Seraphim Continually Do Cry ~ We Praise Thee O God Throughout All the World.

We Praise Thee O God ~ The Noble Army of Martyrs

We Praise Thee O God ~ The Goodly Fellowship of the Prophets

We Praise Thee O God ~ The Glorious Company of the Apostles

Praise The Powers ~ We Praise Thee ~ The Angels

Praise ~The Powers ~ We Praise Thee ~ Cherubin and Seraphin

They never completed the South wall because they ran out of money.

We were in Oxford during the grieving period for Queen Elizabeth II.

We left the church and continued walking north and made our way to the path along the Oxford Canal on to Walton Well Rd. We crossed the Walton Well Bridge which connected us to Walton Road.

On the way to the canal we passed Old Bookbinders and it was still too early to enjoy a refreshment there.

 

Along Walton Well Rd. were a group of terrace residences nos 11-25 which included these finely carved scenes from the life of Elijah on the arches above the first floor windows, with the prophet being fed by ravens at one end of the terrace and whisked up to heaven at the other.

After we turned south on to Walton Road we came to the entrance to St. Sepulchre’s Cemetery.

We spent some time here poking around and then it was time to move on to wet our whistle.

We thought we were ready for some Fish and Chips, too. We stopped at the Jericho Tavern, no fish and chips. We stopped at Jude the Obscure, no fish and chips.

We decided to head further south and east taking Little Clarendon St. where we discovered the wonderful Gail’s Bakery and bought a couple goodies to enjoy later. We were still on our quest for Fish and Chips.

We found the Lamb and Flag where The Inklings (C.S. Lewis/Tolkien) were known to frequent off St. Giles but alas it was closed for renovations. Bird and Baby or Eagle and Child has been closed for 2 years and there were no signs of renovations when we walked past.

Our Fish and Chips hunt was becoming a real challenge. Walking along St. Giles we popped into The Randolph and sat down in the Alice dining room.

After being ignored for well over our usual tolerance level we walked out and continued our quest along George St. and tried the Wig and Pen and to our dismay they were out of Fish and Chips, too.

At this point we decided to go back to Broad and head over to our fast becoming favorite The Turf Tavern.

We sat at table #1 and waited for our Fish and Chips because they had not run out!

Cheers from the Turf Tavern! The end of a long walking day in Oxford overrun by prospective students and their parents who all decided to eat up the Fish and Chips! Thankfully they didn’t all try to find the Turf Tavern tucked away from the main streets of town.

***************************************************************************

Back to the present. Today begins the week of Thanksgiving here in the U.S.A. Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. We are looking forward to all of our kids being together. The west siders arrive on Thursday and Friday. Thanksgiving day we will be at our Colville kids’ home for our Thanksgiving meal. Friday and Saturday we’ll spend time at our country bungalow all together. We will be counting our blessings together.

World Cup started yesterday and our TV service is set to record all the games. I’m a huge soccer fan. The USA has two of our Seattle Sounders on the roster. The team from Ecuador has one of our players and the team from Cameroon has one of our players, also.

Hope all is well in your corner of the world and you all recount the things you can be thankful for!

Oxford Colleges

Just a glimpse with so much more to come.

Magdalen College taken from Addison’s Walk.

On Tuesday September 20th we walked to a breakfast spot on George Street. We then headed to Christ Church College to make some purchases at the Gift shop. We also walked over to the Thames Valley Police Station to find the plaque on the wall to Inspector Morse. We tried with not a lot of success to make it into several colleges. We ended up with only two colleges open to us at the right time, Magdalen (pronounced Maudlin) and All Souls College.

Tomorrow we check out of our Airbnb and head to Woodstock for a couple of nights. Looking forward to a hotel stay with breakfast included.

Self Guided Tour

Lot of walking again today with a walking tour book I bought for Oxford. Walked into the Jericho area of Oxford and along the canal. Visited a church, a cemetery. We wanted Fish and Chips and found out several pubs were out of fish and chips!  The Lamb and Flag was closed due to refurbishing. The Eagle and Child has been closed for over 2 years now. Both of these pubs have history with Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Today is open day in Oxford for prospective Freshmen and the town was buzzing with parents and students checking out the colleges, and eating all the fish and chips! We finally dropped off our bag of goodies we bought along the way to the apartment and headed to The Turf Tavern again and they had Fish and Chips. This is fast becoming our favorite and go to establishment. Mission accomplished, back to the apartment with our feet up!

Oxford Archives ~ Doors and Fences

‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.’

This is a post from my archives from 2014.

Oxford Day 6 040Our tour guide in Oxford, July of 2014, said that there are stories about this door being an inspiration to C.S. Lewis on the writing of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as he was housed behind this door from time to time.

Oxford Day 6 039

Oxford Day 6 041and just to the right of this doorway was this…

Oxford Day 6 042…the lamp post that served as the model in the story.

Good story if it’s true and you can see the inspirations are there. The Chronicles of Narnia are a favorite of mine.

There is so much great history to hear about and see in Oxford. We are already talking about spending at least a couple days in this city the next time we visit Jolly Old England. 

Back to the present. Not just a couple more days but our apartment is booked for 9 days!

Oxford Day 6 113

This fence with “Head” posts is in Oxford England close to the Bodlein and and next to the Sheldonian Theater and Old Ashmolean. Each post has a different head.

Oxford Day 6 080

Last night while Dear and I watched an episode of Inspector Morse they drove on the street next to this fence. I enjoy seeing places we have walked when we watch shows like Morse, Inspector Lewis, or Lord Peter Whimsy series from Dorothy Sayers mysteries.

Oxford Day 6 080

Oxford Day 6 079I didn’t have a lot of time to research why there are heads on each of these posts and information about them isn’t an easy click away.

During our 2022 visit to Oxford we do intend to take in the Sheldonian and a few museums, too. I found this Youtube description and some history of the Sheldonian.

This is my last archive post of Oxford. The days are ticking down for our trip in September.

Oxford Archives ~2004 and 2014

For our daughter Katie’s high school graduation, Dear and I took her to Great Britain in April of 2004. Katie is a reader, a learner, a writer, a poet and an artist. We asked her what she’d want to see and she came up with the brilliant idea of following some of her favorite authors and characters around the Isle! This is a photo log of our trip that we can highly recommend to all lovers of Hobbits, Inklings, Literary Giants, 19th Century England, Harry Potter, and wacky Holy Grail enthusiasts! For my flashbacks I’m going to cover less ground in each post. This first post will be our Oxford experience with C.S. Lewis and Tolkien on our radar. The photos on this trip were taken the old fashioned way with a camera that was still using film!

 

img365

The Eagle and Child (The Bird and Baby) Oxford

We set out from our first B & B base in Cheltenham to tour Oxford. We were still getting over our jet lag just arriving the day before. We found a park and ride outside of Oxford and rode a bus into town. Our first stop was The Eagle and Child (The Bird and the Baby) where the Inklings would meet and discuss their current writings, thoughts, etc.

 

img366

The pictures on the wall are of C. S. Lewis, Tolkien, and other Inklings, plus letters, etc. We had a bite to eat and a pint was raised to toast our respected authors! “It comes in pints?”

 

img373

Addison’s Walk

Dear and Katie on Addison’s Walk. This walkway is on the grounds of Magdalen College (pronounced Maudlin) where Tolkien and Lewis would walk and have long conversations, after which C. S. Lewis converted to Christianity. We found it, walked it and reflected on the beauty and wonder of it all!

img374

img371

img375

This next photo shows a spot on the walkway that we took a photo from different directions in 2004 and in 2014.

2014-07-011

And here’s one of the beautiful courtyards that we took photos of both of these years.

2014-07-012

img377

We saw the iconic phone booth on the grounds of Magdalen, too.

Walking from Magdalen College back to the center of town we saw other familiar sites, too.

img367

The Bridge of Sighs

img368

img369Radcliffe Camera

Pictures49-001

In 2004 when we came across Logic Lane Katie insisted that we take a photo of her dad under the sign. In 2014 we came upon Logic Lane again so I had to take another photo.

img378

We walked about to find this address where Tolkien lived at 21 Merton St. after his wife died in 1971.

img400

Katie would not let us leave Oxford till we found Tolkien’s grave. This was no small feat! Here we are at Wolvercote Cemetery in North Oxford at the graveside where he and his wife are buried. His son is buried here, also.  Katie left a note in Elvish, (yes, she learned to write and speak Tolkien’s Elvish).

EDITH MARY TOLKIEN
LUTHIEN
1889 – 1971
JOHN RONALD
REUEL TOLKIEN
BEREN
1892 – 1973

img401

Wolvercote Cemetery in North Oxford

img399

We headed back to our B & B in Cheltenham to rest up for our next days adventure around the Cotswolds in search of Hobbits.

The thing about film photography is that we didn’t know if the photos we took even turned out well till we were home and had the film developed. Aren’t you happy we have digital cameras now? You can see if you chopped someone’s head off or missed the top of a beautiful cathedral etc. These photos that I took with film in 2004 were scanned and uploaded onto my computer and in a lot of cases lightened up and sharpened and sometimes cropped.

Now we await our time in Oxford in 2022. We still do not cling too tightly to this trip as we know anything can change on the world landscape in a day. Trusting God if we go or if we can’t go.

Oxford Archives ~ Magdalene College Cloisters

The 15th Century Cloisters construction commenced in 1474 which makes this medieval square of stone among the oldest parts of Magdalen.

Oxford Day 6 156Balancing on the buttresses that jut from the Cloister walls are the figures later known as ‘hieroglyphics’, the ‘GARGELS”, Magdalen’s very own gargoyles. Some are biblical, some heraldic, all symbolic. Since they entered the College in 1508-9 they have been keeping their emblematic eyes on the comings and goings in the Cloisters and the quad.

Oxford Day 6 149

Oxford Day 6 147

Oxford Day 6 146

Oxford Day 6 145

Oxford Day 6 148

Oxford Day 6 152

Oxford Day 6 153

Oxford Day 6 154

Oxford Day 6 155Wanted to let you all see that we did “keep off the grass”.

From the Cloisters we headed out to Addison’s walk and the New Building following the footsteps of Tolkien and Lewis along one of the paths that leads to  the famous meetings of the “Inklings”.

Oxford Day 6 164

Oxford Day 6 160

Oxford Day 6 161

Oxford Day 6 163

Oxford Day 6 165

Oxford Day 6 167

Oxford Day 6 170

Back to the present day Saturday August 6, 2022. This evening we are hosting a raclette meal for 6 in our home. We offered the meal as an auction item for our Church Missionary fundraiser back in May. Hopefully I’ll remember to take photos of the event.

Quotes of the Week 7

Quotes this week are from a couple of books by C.S. Lewis. The photo above is from Addison’s Walk on the grounds of Magdalene College in Oxford where C.S. Lewis walked with J.R.R. Tolkien. Photos below the quotes are from our road trip back from Bothell last Tuesday.

This quote comes from Letters to an American Lady ~by C.S. Lewis

Another thing that annoys me is when people say “Why did you give that man money? He’ll probably go and drink it.” My reply is “But if I’d kept [it] I should probably have drunk it.

Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, C.S. Lewis:

If we were perfected, prayer would not be a duty, it would be delight. Some day, please God, it will be. The same is true of many other behaviours which now appear as duties. If I loved my neighbor as myself, most of the actions which are now my moral duty would flow out of me as spontaneously as song from a lark or fragrance from a flower. Why is this not so yet? Well, we know, don’t we? Aristotle has taught us that delight is the “bloom” on an unimpeded activity. But the very activities for which we were created are, while we live on earth, variously impeded: by evil in ourselves or in others. Not to practise them is to abandon our humanity. To practise them spontaneously and delightfully is not yet possible. The situation creates the category of duty, the whole specifically moral realm.

It exists to be transcended. Here is the paradox of Christianity. As practical imperatives for here and now the two great commandments have to be translated “Behave as if you loved God and man.” For no man can love because he is told to. Yet obedience on this practical level is not really obedience at all. And if a man really loved God and man, once again this would hardly be obedience; for if he did, he would be unable to help it. Thus the command really says to us, “Ye must be born again.” Till then, we have duty, morality, the Law. A schoolmaster, as St Paul says, to bring us to Christ. We must expect no more of it than of a schoolmaster; we must allow it no less…

But the school-days, please God, are numbered. There is no morality in heaven. The angels never knew (from within) the meaning of the word ought, and the blessed dead have long since gladly forgotten it. This is why Dante’s Heaven is so right, and Milton’s, with its military discipline so silly.

…In the perfect and eternal world the Law will vanish. But the results of having lived faithfully under it will not.

I am therefore not really deeply worried by the fact prayer is at present a duty, and even an irksome one.

 

Tuesdays with Moisi will resume in the New Year.

Tomorrow I’ll share my MGCC Christmas Party Post.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend as we continue in this Advent season.