We started off our day in the Library with Dr. Haddon Wilson teaching us about the life of C.S. Lewis. Lewis was born and raised in Belfast, and Dr. Wilson prepared us for our tour. After lunch we loaded the bus and set out to see all the sights that Dr. Wilson had told us of. Our first stop was a statue of the wardrobe in C.S. Lewis’ novels. I really enjoyed seeing this life size statue. The sculpture features Digory Kirke peering into the wardrobe, and on the back of the wardrobe is the head of a lion and a letter that Lewis wrote to a young girl explaining the death and resurrection of Aslan. Although I’ve always known that Lewis’ novels depicted Christianity in a fictional way, I found it really interesting to read this letter and see how he intended his novels to parallel to the Bible.
The Magicians Nephew- how evil entered into the world
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe- the crucifixion
Prince Caspian- restoration of the true religion after corruption
The Horse and His Boy- the calling and conversion of a heathen
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader- the spiritual life
The Silver Chair- the continued war against the power of darkness
The Last Battle- the coming of the Antichrist (the Ape). The end of the world and last judgement.
After visiting the statue, we were on our way to see Little Lea. Little Lea was C.S. Lewis’ childhood home. He moved into the house at the age of seven. Although it now sits in the middle of the city, in Lewis’ days the home was located way out in the country. Little Lea influenced many of Lewis’ writings; perhaps because it is where Lewis first began to write. While Lewis had several fond memories of his childhood at Little Lea, not all of his time spent in the family home was happy. In February of 1908, while still living in the home, C.S. Lewis’ mother was ill with cancer, and it is believed that she was operated on the dining room table downstairs in the family home. While she survived the operation, she sadly did not survive the illness. We were able to see the house from the street, but the home that was once occupied by the Lewis family is now privately owned and is not available for the public to tour.
After seeing his home, we went to tour the St. Mark’s Dundela, the church in which Lewis grew up. We attended this church on Sunday, but today we were able to look around and learn more about the about it. We were able to see the stain glass window that Jack (C.S) and Warnie Lewis donated in honor of their parents as well as the doorknob that is believed to be Lewis’ inspiration for Aslan. The doorknob was originally on a red door to the home of Lewis’ grandfather. However, as a result of recent vandalism, the doorknob was removed from the red door so that it could not be harmed.
Our C.S. Lewis trail ended with a visit to the town of Holywood and Crawfordsburn where Lewis frequently visited; this is also the where Lewis spent his honeymoon with his wife Joy. Crawfordsburn is also believed to be the home of the lamp-post that inspired the lamp-post in Lewis’ fictional country of Narnia. It was at the lamp-post that Lucy Pevensie first met Mr. Tumnus in the Lion the Witch and the Warrobe; he tells her that the lamp-post marks the beginning of Narnia.