Death of Maureen Moore, C.S. Lewis’s “Foster Sister”

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 72, Spring 1997 The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

Maureen Daisy Helen Moore Blake, Lady Dunbar of Hempriggs (born 19 August 1906) passed away on 14 February 1997, taking to the grave her memories of life with the Lewis brothers. She and her mother had started living with C.S. Lewis in late 1918 or early 1919, when she was a 13-year-old schoolgirl and Lewis was a 19 or 20-year-old university student. Warren Lewis joined the trio in their move to the Kilns in 1930, when Maureen was 24. He lived there whenever he was not away in the military, and mentioned her many times in his diary (partially published as Brothers and Friends). In 1974 (at age 68) Maureen wrote to Walter Hooper, “How glad I am that the house is now sold, and that time of my life in Oxford is now well in the past for me.” On 6 June 1978 she added, “I find the continued raking over of Jack’s domestic history both embarrassing and distasteful. “The reason for her distaste and embarrassment seems obvious now. When Maureen was 85, A. N. Wilson wrote about that history on p. 66 of C. S. Lewis, A Biography: “An unshakeable part of the Sunday routine was that Maureen should be sent out to church on Sunday morning, leaving her mother and Lewis for a precious hour together on their own.” “One Sunday she refused to go. Their reaction was vehement. She must go out and leave them alone.” “As a child it did not occur to her to ask why a young man might wish sometimes to be left alone with her mother.” One can only hope that Maureen died without knowing Wilson published this account and attributed it to her.