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The way to the Kilns, the former Lewis home, is a quiet residential street lined with middle-class brick homes and ivy-covered walls. The California-based C.S. Lewis Foundation purchased the house and rescued it from oblivion in the mid-1980s.

Open for tour by appointment, it serves as a residence for visiting Lewis scholars. Teresa Kipp, the American housekeeper in residence, welcomed us and showed us around the modest rooms where Jack; Joy; her two sons, Douglas and David; Warnie; Mrs. Miller, the housekeeper; and Fred Paxford, the gardener, spare cook and general handyman, lived with a ginger cat and huge shaggy poodle.

The house, built in 1922, was jointly purchased in 1930 by the Lewis brothers. Jack lived there until his death, as did Warnie, who outlived his younger brother by 10 years.

Although structural changes remain intact from Jack Lewis’ days, what Miss Kipp presented us was a well-maintained, modest home with few similarities to the way it was. Still, as we looked at the rooms, a wardrobe in the upstairs hallway, a typewriter Warnie used to answer Jack’s correspondence, and a few of Jack’s pipes on a sideboard, we sensed something of its famous resident.

“When Lewis lived,” Miss Kipp told us as we stood before the expansive window in the downstairs study, “the ceiling and walls in this room were coated with black residue from pipe smoke. Stacks of books and papers made it difficult to walk around. Blackout curtains from the war hung on the windows.”

It was clearly a bachelor’s enclave, she said — until Mrs. Lewis came along and made it more livable. Her bedroom was downstairs and apart from her husband’s upstairs bedroom and study, which he often entered from an outside second-story staircase.

“Many who knew Lewis say his decor was his imagination,” Miss Kipp said, “and there was probably nowhere on this property that his imagination took flight more than it did on the lake and woodlands to the rear of the house.”

Indeed, many have speculated that the Narnia tales were born near or maybe even from a boat on those waters.

We dodged the ever-present cyclists in Oxford’s center city as we made our way into some of the university’s awesome architectural treasures. Although the city has a youthful, contemporary beat, its facade is medieval and unique. The old halls and walls, gardens and towers of the various colleges captivated us — for the centuries of history they hold and their Lewis connections.

Magdalen College’s pastoral and open setting comes from its location outside the original city gates. Open and green, it has a riverside location and the peaceful Addison’s Walk, which ends in front of a stone inscribed with a Lewis poem, “What the Bird Said Early in the Year.” The college’s great bell tower, 144 feet high, is one of Oxford’s most prominent skyline features. The Magdalen Great Tower was built of stone in the late 15th century and contains bells dating from the 17th century. On special occasions, they ring.

University College is Oxford’s oldest center of learning, founded in 1249. Mr. Lewis left his native Belfast, Northern Ireland, and entered it in 1917 with a scholarship. Originally devoted to students of theology, it is the location of the divinity school, a stunning 15th-century medieval building whose ceiling consists of elaborate Gothic fan vaulting.

Mr. Lewis listened to lectures in this hall and spent hours in the adjacent Bodleian Library, one of the world’s greatest repositories of medieval literature, local history and early printing. The library joined the university in 1410, and in the 1600s, it became a legal deposit library for copies of all books printed in Britain.

Inside another frequent Lewis pub stop on bustling St. Giles Street, we encountered more walls we wished could talk. The Eagle and Child pub — otherwise known as the Bird and Baby — was the favored watering hole for the Inklings, Mr. Lewis‘ famous group of literary friends, who included Mr. Tolkien. Mr. Lewis wrote of the “golden sessions” — philosophical and literary conversations they had beside a blazing fire within the Rabbit Room.

On a wall near the bar is a note to the landlord from the Inklings, written in 1949 during one of their meetings. It bears their signatures and states that they have drunk to his health. It made me wonder, after so much posthumous success, what Mr. Lewis and Mr. Tolkien might talk about today if they were both still around.

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