Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Warnie's Will

So, last Thursday I discovered that the Discovery Institute, the masterminds (based right here in Seattle) behind the modern Intelligent Design movement, have Warnie Lewis's will up on their website. And C. S. Lewis's Will. And Owen Barfield's Will.* I haven't tried to authenticate them but am taking it on faith that these accurately represent the original documents. All are interesting, as you wd expect, but having just spent some time at the Wade looking at Warnie's diary I was particularly interested in the provisions of his will, made in 1969.

The bequest to the Wade we all knew about,** of course, but the legacies to specific people are revealing:

--five hundred pounds to Paxford the gardener [to whom CSL had earlier given a hundred pounds for thirty years' faithful service]

-- a thousand pounds to Maureen Blake, provided she let the Millers continue to live in the Kilns for six months after the Major's death

--a thousand pounds to Frank Henry, his Irish driver

--five hundred pounds to Walter Hooper

--five thousand pounds to Mollie (Maud) Miller and her husband, Len; he later added a codicil providing an additional ten thousand pounds to Mrs. Miller to buy a house of her own with. [CSL had earlier left Mrs. Miller fifty pounds]

--and, in another codicil, a thousand pounds to Jean Wakeman, who'd taken over responsiblity for the Gresham boys after their mother died.

In addition to these, he left two dozen or so books, mostly about Ireland and Northern Ireland, to Mrs. Ruth Parker, along with his grandfather Lewis's diaries and sermons. The bulk of his estate was to be divided between three people: Mrs. Parker, Elizabeth Lewis, and Clare Clapperton, whom I suspect to be his cousins. That his main heirs were all three people I've never heard of before just helped drive home the fact about how being an Inkling scholars leads you to know aspects of a person's life, wh. shd not be mistaken for the whole life.

As I said, interesting.

--John R.

*I've always thought it a pity that the Institute never, so far as I know, made contact with Barfield, who was a longtime advocate of what's currently being called 'intelligent design' (cf. UNANCESTRAL VOICE [1965], probably his masterpiece).

**"all letters, manuscripts, etc." of CSL's "which may be found among my effects", particularly the Boxon material, plus The Lewis Papers, Warnie's own diaries, and an envelope of family photographs.


Bruce Charlton said...

That's very interesting.

I am a great admirer of Warnie's Brothers and Friends diary, and live in hope that the whole thing will be made available online at some point - or at least a more complete selection is published.

Does Wheaton have any plans for this, do you know?

At any rate, it seems as if a lot of good and interesting material was not included in Brothers and Friends - presumably for reasons of space.

Since Warnie was one of the very best English diarists of all time, the current situation - where scholars must travel to Wheaton to consult the papers - seems very unsatisfactory.

Extollager said...

I agree with bgc that I'd love it if Warnie's complete diary could be published, at least of the Brothers and Friends selection is any indication if its interest. It would great to have a larger selection, at least.

And I understand there is a Tolkien diary or diaries. If the family wishes to keep it private, they have every right to do so and their wishes should be respected. On the other hand, one would like to see it, or a selection.

Extollager said...

The Inklings-related item that I'd most like to have a copy of (well, aside from the complete Lewis Family Papers and so on) might be the tape of Lewis's conversation with Kingsley Amis and Brian Aldiss ("Unreal Estates" a.k.a. "The Establishment Must Die and Rot"). What happened to it? It would be great if, supposing it is extant, the audio could be released to the Internet or sold as a CD. (I certainly would pay handsomely for a copy.)