C. S. Lewis’s Last Will and Testament

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 78, Autumn 1998 The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

E-mail text provided by Mike W. Perry, Seattle, Washington

This text faithfully reproduces C. S. Lewis’s last will exactly as typed including all capitalization and punctuation. (Paragraphs did not end in periods.) A Codicil was apparently attached to the will but was not available at the time this text was reproduced. The amounts in pounds, shillings and pence at the end of the court document were handwritten and difficult to read, but the values given seem to be correct. The actual will was typed on five pages and each page was initialed by C.S.L, M.E.M. and E.M.S.


I, CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS Professor of the University of Cambridge hereby revoke all former wills and codicils heretofore made by me and declare this to be my last Will

1. I APPOINT ARTHUR OWEN BARFIELD of Danes Inn House, 265 Strand in the City of Westminster, Solicitor, and ALFRED CECIL HARWOOD of South Harbour, Priory Road, Forest Row in the County of Sussex, Lecturer (hereinafter called “my Trustees”) to be the EXECUTORS AND TRUSTEES of this my Will

2. I GIVE a legacy of L100 free of duty to each of the following persons provided that such legacies are only to be paid out of monies standing to my credit at the Bank (excluding my Royalties Account) and that if there is insufficient to pay them in full the said legacies shall abate accordingly:-Maureen Helen Daisy Blake, Laurence Harwood, Lucy Jane Barfield and Sarah Neylan

3. I GIVE AND BEQUEATH my half share in the Portrait of Thomas Robert Hamilton which at the date hereof is hung in my rooms at Magdalene College, Cambridge to my brother Warren Hamilton Lewis for life and after his death to the Rector of St. Marks, Dundela, Strandtown, Belfast, and his successors with the request that it be hung in the F.L. Heyn Memorial Church House in the Parish of St. Marks, Dundela aforesaid

4. I GIVE AND BEQUEATH my half share in the Portrait of Richard Lewis which at the date hereof is hung in my said rooms at Magdalene College to my said brother for life and after his death to my cousin Mrs. I.W. Purvis whose address at the date hereof is C/o W.K. Bellinger, West Gardens, Boars Hill, Oxford with the request (but not so as to create any enforceable trust) that she will in due course pass on the said Portrait to such descendant of the late Richard Lewis of Ty-isa, Lower Strandtown, Belfast, as she shall deem most likely to value it

5. SUBJECT as aforesaid I GIVE AND BEQUEATH all my books furniture and manuscripts in Magdalene College aforesaid and all my books and manuscripts in The Kilns, Headington Quarry Oxfordshire or any house which I may be occupying at the date of my death to my said brother absolutely with the request (but not so as to create any enforceable trust) that he will allow my friends the said Arthur Owen Barfield and Alfred Cecil Harwood to take such of the said books as they wish unless he wants them for his own use and in making this request I have chiefly in mind my Greek and Latin and medieval and philosophical books

6. I GIVE DEVISE AND BEQUEATH to my said brother absolutely all my half share in the real and leasehold property situated in Ireland which we inherited from our father

7. (i) I DEVISE AND BEQUEATH all my real and personal estate whatsoever and wheresoever not hereby or by any codicil hereto otherwise specifically disposed of unto my Trustees Upon trust (subject as hereinafter mentioned) to sell call in and convert the same into money with the power to postpone the sale calling in and conversion thereof so long as they shall in their absolute discretion think fit without being liable for loss and so that all income from my real and personal estate howsoever constituted or invested shall as from my death be treated as income and that a reversionary or future interest shall not be sold prior to falling into possession unless my Trustees shall see special reason for such earlier sale and that the net income of my real and personal estate for the time being remaining unsold after payment thereout or all outgoings which my Trustees shall in their absolute discretion consider payable out of income shall go and be applied as if the same were income of authorised investments or of the proceeds of an actual sale thereof

(ii) In particular and without limiting the generality of the foregoing the copyright in any work of mine whether published or unpublished at the date of my death shall be deemed to be such an authorised investment as aforesaid so that all Royalties receivable thereon shall after payment of agent1s commission and any other proper expenses be treated as income of my estate as and when the same are received

(iii) The death duties and expenses of administering my estate shall be satisfied as far as possible out of capital assets other than copyrights Provided that if such other assets prove insufficient the balance shall be paid if reasonably possible out of current Royalties and the decision of my Trustees as to whether it is reasonably possible or not shall be final

(iv) Subject to the provisions of the foregoing subclause no apportionment either legal or equitable shall be made between capital and income including Royalties on copyrights (which my Trustees are hereby expressly empowered to retain unsold during the life of the tenant-for-life) but any income actually received by my Trustees after my death shall belong to the tenant-for-life and any income actually received by my Trustees after the death of the tenant-for-life shall fall into and form part of the capital of my residuary estate

8. SUBJECT as above my Trustees shall stand possessed of my residuary estate upon the following trusts, that is to say:

(1) Upon trust to pay the income to my said brother during his life

(2) After the death of my said brother Upon trust for each of them my stepsons David Lindsay Gresham and Douglas Howard Gresham who shall attain the age of 21 years in equal shares absolutely or if either stepson shall fail to attain the age of 21 Upon Trust as to the whole for the survivor at 21 absolutely

9. I DECLARE that all moneys liable to be or requiring to be invested under my said Will or any Codicil thereto may be invested in any one or more of the following means of investment:-

(a) In or upon any of the investments or securities in which any part of my personal estate is invested at the time of my death

(b) Any investments from time to time sanctioned by law for the investment of trust funds

(c) Freehold or leasehold property in Great Britain (such leasehold property having not less than sixty years unexpired at the date of such investment) whether or not the same is to be used as a residence for any beneficiary under my said Will or any Codicil thereto

(d) Any share capital or loan capital of any Company incorporated by Royal Charter or by special Act of Parliament at Westminster or registered under the English Companies Acts and having a paid up capital of not less than 500,000 and which has in each of the three years immediately prior to the date of investment paid a dividend at the rate of at least 5 per cent per annum on its ordinary stocks and shares of which fact a letter purporting to be signed by the Secretary of the Company or by a member of the London Stock Exchange or by the Secretary or Manager or Branch Manager of a joint Stock Bank shall be sufficient evidence

10. I DECLARE that any Executor or Trustee being a solicitor or other person engaged in any profession or business shall be entitled to be paid all professional or other charges for any business or act done by him or his firm in connection with the proof of my Will or the execution of the trusts hereof including any which an executor or trustee not being a solicitor or other persons engaged as aforesaid could have done personally

IN WITNESS whereof I have hereunto set my hand this second day of November 1961

C. S. Lewis

SIGNED by the said CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS as his last Will in the joint presence of us who jointly at his request and in his presence have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses

M Miller
15 Kiln Lane

E. Stowell
17 Chestnut Ave