Spinning the Kilns

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 81, Summer 1999 The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

In the latest edition of Stan Mattson’s fundraising brochure “Living the Legacy” he gives an update on the Kilns:


The Foundation owns, and is in the process of restoring, “The Kilns,” C. S. Lewis’s long-time home in Oxford. Upon completion of the work of restoration in the summer of 1999, “The Kilns” will be dedicated as an international study center, serving both day visitors (by appointment) and a small household of visiting resident scholars, writers and artists whose interests correspond closely to those reflected in Lewis’s own work.

But who will be selected, what will they pay, and what will they do there?

According to a November 1998 article by John Ezard in the Daily Telegraph, titled “Lewis’s house of books and cobwebs,” the house is only 150 yards from Oxford’s modern, lorry-infested ring road. “The Kilns, in a cul-de-sac at Risinghurst, near Headington, has been almost restored to its 1920s and 1930s ambience by his American and British devotees, at a cost estimated at close to 1 million. Although it is still a private house, occupied by tenants, visitors are occasionally shown over it, according to its owners, the C. S. Lewis Foundation…. When fully restored, it will be used as a C. S. Lewis study centre for visiting professors.”

Ezard claims that the most intriguing feature of the Kilns is the door and outside stairway that Lewis added because of “the mystery woman in his life, Janie Moore.” According to Ezard, Oxford’s Mary Rogers, 85, told him, “The sexual relationship stopped when Lewis became a Christian, much to Mrs. Moore’s disgust. He was tied to her by this sexual past.” But an unnamed younger scholar (Walter Hooper?) told Ezard that a sexual link was “psychologically improbable because she was a mother figure to him.” Ezard concludes, “So far British readers have bought 16 million copies of the Narnia books, and his books on religion have, the Church of England said yesterday, established him as the ‘unmatched’ Anglican communicator of the century.”

How to give a Living Legacy Gift

Since 1986, the C.S. Lewis Foundation has been advancing the renewal of Christian thought and academic freedom within the mainstream of contemporary colleges and universities. When you choose to give a Living Legacy gift you’ll have the assurance that you’re enhancing the works of the Foundation and helping the next generation recover our rich Christian intellectual and artistic heritage. You may choose to instruct the funeral director to insert the following in the Obituary Notice: The family suggests contributions be made to C.S. Lewis Foundation, P.O. Box 8008, Redlands, CA 92375. To acknowledge Bereavement, Wedding, Christmas, Anniversary, Mother’s Day, Birthday, Father’s Day.

Stan Mattson is specific about ways to donate, but extremely vague about how he intends to provide a “wide variety of quality educational programming designed specifically to encourage vital and constructive Christian participation within the mainstream of contemporary culture.” Is there ever anything solid behind the airy generalities