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.

Tuesday Guided Tour

We started our Tuesday afternoon tour with Tony on the 13th of September at 2pm sharp. Our guide pointed out the bronze statue of a man on top of Exeter college and pointed out the idea that the statue is looking down at the martyr’s cross set in a circle of cobbles on Broad Street where the three protestants, Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley were burned at the stake. More about their history in a later post about these Martyrs. The Statue is by Anthony Gormley and installed in 2009. It is about 7feet tall.

 

We walked past the Sheldonian where on plinths between the railings are a series of Emperor heads, representing Roman emperors, or philosophers. Each one has a different beard. Christopher Wren is the architect of the Sheldonian and other buildings in Oxford. These heads were installed when the theater was built and then remodeled in 1868 and again in 1970’s. One of the heads has a wren chiseled in its hair in honor of Christopher Wren.

We walked to the back of the Sheldonian past the Bodlein and past the Bridge of Sighs and on to Radcliffe Camera and into University Church of St. Mary’s.

Some of the information and places we visited with our guide were already known to us but he had some other insider information that we gleaned from him.

After walking through the covered market we exited and went onto Turl Street back toward The High with the All Saint’s tower and steeple ahead of us. Once on High Street we continued on to St. Aldate’s to Christ Church College.

Tom Tower at Christ Church College is another architectural masterpiece by Christopher Wren. This school was founded by Cardinal Wolsey in 1525 with its entrance embellished through the addition of Tom Tower, designed by Wren, in 1680. Great Tom, the bell from Osney Abbey, strikes 101 times at 21:05 each evening: the number represents the 100 students of Henry VIII’s foundation plus an additional place funded later; 21:05 signals the student curfew according to Oxford time, which is five minutes behind Greenwich Mean Time.

We would take a tour of Christ Church College on the following day, Wednesday September 14th.

We walked along the Broad Walk through part of the school campus and on to Merton Grove.

We caught a glimpse of the Christ Church College Cathedral through the iron gate along Merton Grove. This is the only cathedral in Oxford and it’s the smallest cathedral in the U.K. Sadly, the cathedral was closed during the mourning period of the Queen and we were not able to go inside to see it.

Dear and Tony our guide ahead of me and to the right is the tower at Merton college.

We are on Merton Street now and this is the front of Merton College Chapel.

Merton college was founded in 1264 by William de Merton, Lord Chancellor to Henry III, the oldest college in Oxford.

Above, between the statues of Edward I and the founder is a relief of a book, the Lamb of God opposite de Merton kneeling in prayer, flanked by John the Baptist and a unicorn.

J.R.R. Tolkien was an alumni of this college. We tried to get into Merton and Exeter Colleges but both were closed on the days we tried, sadly.

We turned off Merton Street onto Logic Lane.

We were drawn to the Martlets on this crest since Dear’s family crest includes these birds.

A martlet in English heraldry is a mythical bird without feet that never roosts from the moment of its drop-birth until its death fall; martlets are proposed to be continuously on the wing.

Off Logic Lane we are back on the High. We cross the street to Queen’s Lane.

Our guide pointed out The Grand Cafe which we never made it to and another cafe across the street that both claim to be the site of the first coffee house in England.

Onto Queen’s Lane past Queen’s College we turn onto New College Lane.

We see the entrance to New College, one of the colleges we did get into on the following day, and continue on to the end of our tour where we are left off at the Bridge of Sighs at the passageway to The Turf Tavern.

By this time after our 2-1/2 hour tour we are ready to quench our thirst. We say goodbye to Tony and hello to the Turf Tavern. We packed a lot of walking and touring on our first full day in Oxford.

Congratulations if you made it through this long post.

Back to the present, a Happy Thanksgiving Day to our Canadian neighbors and Happy Columbus Day here in the USA. 

Miles Apart…

…but close in our hearts.

The month of November and part of October our families were split apart by work responsibilities and other circumstances. Auntie Lolo flew over to be with Jamie while their hubbies were in Arizona on separate assignments. Our grands love it when Auntie Lolo comes to help their mommy.

Everyone made the most of their circumstances.

It’s always better together.

We love it when Auntie Lolo comes to visit, too.

While our sons were in Arizona in different parts of the state they managed to drive the distance and get together for some much needed R & R together.

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.”

Psalm 133

These two with their work responsibilities keeping us apart are with us in spirit. Here they are at a marathon Lord of the Rings viewing party playing the part with their hair and attire.

Did I ever mention our daughter knows and writes Elvish. It’s a skill that will take her far in life be fun to pull out at the right times in life like a Lord of the Rings party or at the grave of J.R.R. Tolkien in 2004…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

This Thanksgiving our Westside kids will stay on the westside. Our eastside kids will be at our house for Thanksgiving along with my sister and her hubby and Jamie’s mom, also known as Granny to our Grands. Nine at the table giving thanks for all that we have been given and all the love we share.

We Booked It

On Saturday we finally clicked on the purchase button for our flights to and from England come September. That first step is always the hardest for me. Now, Lord willing, we’ll be on that plane heading to London Heathrow in September. We also booked an apartment in the Jericho area of North Oxford for 11 nights. 2 bedrooms, full kitchen and living space.

The last time we were in Oxford was in July of 2014. We were only there for several hours and we talked about how much more there was to see and do in this college town and how we’d love to return. We planned our time in Oxford around an Open Day for the Colleges.

We’ll see what is blooming in September compared to July.

Besides Oxford we are venturing back to Canterbury for 2 nights. The photo above is of Dear and me in Canterbury in 1973 or 1974. We will be staying on the Cathedral grounds this time around. From Heathrow we’ll travel to Canterbury and then after 2 nights travel to Oxford for our 11 night stay there. While in Oxford we will explore some neighboring areas on some day trips by bus or train. We are not renting a car.

Update: A woman’s prerogative to change her mind. In thinking about jetlag we are changing our plans and not traveling to Canterbury on this trip. Just thinking about the tube/train and hours it would take was daunting to my brain. We are choosing someplace on the Oxford side of Heathrow to travel to and enjoy for the first two days, instead.

We are excited and Dear is feeling the pressure to finish the construction of his shop by September. Now I’ll look into booking tours of places like “The Kilns” and also some walking tours. We are planning on signing up for a tour with “Go Cotswolds”, too. Decisions, decisions…

So here are some quotes from C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dorothy Sayers, G.K. Chesterton, all who spent some time in Oxford. There is a Library in Oxford that houses a G.K. Chesterton Collection that we hope to visit.

From Letters to Malcolm, by C.S. Lewis;

“If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart.” And equally, if our heart flatter us, God is greater than our heart. I sometimes pray not for self-knowledge in general but for just so much self-knowledge at the moment as I can bear and use at the moment; the little daily dose.

Have we any reason to suppose that total self-knowledge, if it were given us, would be for our good? Children and fools, we are told, should never look at half-done work; and we are not yet, I trust, even half-done. You and I wouldn’t, at all stages, think it wise to tell a pupil exactly what we thought of his quality. It is much more important that he would know what to do next…

The unfinished picture would so like to jump off the easel and have a look at itself!”

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song over hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”~J.R.R.Tolkien

“He admires, but he won’t clap, which must be very discouraging” Dorothy Sayers in her book, Documents in the Case. This speaks to me on how important spoken or written encouragement is.

“Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and fugitive frame of mind; praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul. Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday; joy is the uproarious labor by which all things live.” G.K. Chesterton

Enjoy the last week of February!

Eagles in Our Backyard

We spotted these visitors in our back acres on Saturday and had fun watching them and capturing them with the camera. I did a word search in my Bible and added verses that speak about Eagles and some of the verses reminded me of Tolkien’s writings, too, so I added some quotes from his works.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget none of His benefits;

…Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”

Psalm 103: 1, 2, 5

“As for the form of their faces, each had the face of a man; all four had the face of a lion on the right and the face of a bull on the left, and all four had the face of an eagle.” Ezekiel 1:10

“You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.” Exodus 19:4

“The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand., a nation of fierce countenance who will have no respect for the old, nor show favor to the young.”

Deuteronomy 28: 49, 50.

“The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle.” Revelation 4:7

“Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life, And in their death they were not parted; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions.” 2 Samuel 1:23

“Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.”

Isaiah 40:31

“Farewell”, they cried, “Wherever you fare till your eyries receive you at the journeys end! That is the polite thing to say among eagles. “May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks, answered Gandalf, who knew the correct reply.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Annotated Hobbit: The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again

“The Eagles are coming! The Eagles are coming!” ~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King (Pippin)

It was a thrill to see the eagles in our backyard on Saturday. I think I was exclaiming a lot like Pippin in The Return of the King. I jumped up off the couch saying, “eagles in our backyard, eagles in our backyard!” It would be fun if they decide to nest in our trees. We don’t have chickens or small pets so they wouldn’t be a problem to us.

Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent which culminates on Thursday April 18th, the day before Good Friday. Easter is Sunday April 21st. It seems late this year. Don’t want to sound like a broken Winter record but they are talking more snow for us today and tomorrow. Hope you are enjoying the last weeks of Winter in your corner of the world.

Quotes of the Week 8

Look up, your redemption is drawing near:

“Let’s not deceive ourselves. “Your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28), whether we know it or not, and the only question is: Are we going to let it come to us too, or are we going to resist it? Are we going to join the movement that comes down from heaven to earth, or are we going to close ourselves off? Christmas is coming-whether it is with us or without us depends on each and every one of us.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God is in the Manger-Reflections on Advent and Christmas

“Cast yourself on the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only one who has walked through death and come out on the other side.” —Alistair Begg
Listen to the full message at http://www.TFL.org

“He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say, ‘Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee’? And again, ‘I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me’?” (Heb. 1:4-5).

“Jesus is better than the angels because Christ was more than a messenger—He was a Son.” John MacArthur

“It will be worth it all when we see Jesus. Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ. One look at HIs dear face, all sorrow will erase, so bravely run the race until we see Christ.” Alistair Begg

And on the light side…

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song over hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

~J.R.R.Tolkien