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Belfast rectory that inspired Narnia author CS Lewis may be set for listed status

By Rebecca Black

Published 19/04/2016

The future of a former church rectory which inspired the Chronicles of Narnia could be protected after being recommended by the Department of the Environment
The future of a former church rectory which inspired the Chronicles of Narnia could be protected after being recommended by the Department of the Environment

The future of a former church rectory which inspired the Chronicles of Narnia could be protected after being recommended by the Department of the Environment.

CS Lewis was baptised at St Mark's Church off the Holywood Road in east Belfast and attended it as a child.

The old rectory beside it would also have been familiar territory to the author as it was once home to his grandfather, the Rev Thomas Hamilton, who was the first rector at St Mark's.

A distinctive lion's head-shaped door knob on the rectory is even believed to have inspired the key character of Aslan in the world famous book series.

The building is of late Victorian style with a distinctive irregular form and multi-gabled arrangement, characteristic of domestic architecture from this period.

It is built in red brick and embellished with red sandstone dressings and several tall red brick chimney stacks rise from its steep slate roofs.

CS Lewis is best-known for his children's books but he also produced noted Christian writings, including Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain.

The old rectory has since been converted to offices which a number of charities now use.

The Department of Environment described the building, which shares grounds with St Mark's Church and the early Twentieth century Heyn Memorial Hall, as a significant group which is of architectural, cultural and historical merit.

It has been proposed for B2 listing and will be among three properties which the DoE has proposed should be listed.

The two other buildings proposed for listing are Shaftesbury Square Reformed Presbyterian Church and a Victorian residence on the Antrim Road. All three proposals will be considered at a meeting of Belfast City Council's Planning Committee today.

Shaftesbury Square Reformed Presbyterian Church located on the Dublin Road is a double-height gable-fronted Gothic Revival red brick stone church with attached hall to the rear. It was built around 1890.

It is rectangular on plan facing west and considered a fine example of a Gothic Revival church. It has been proposed for B1 hosting of the church, hall, walling and railings.

Meanwhile, the third building is a symmetrical double-fronted former residence on the Antrim Road. It was built around 1898 and is considered to be highly characteristic of the late Victorian era. This building has been proposed for B2 listing for the former house and gate screen.

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