Skip to main content

Letters from Charles Williams to Dorothy Rance, with enclosed poems

 Single Item
MS. Eng. c. 8379
Held in our offsite storage facility

  • Request


  1. Letter from Charles Williams to Dorothy Rance dated 21 Dec 1939 accompanied by an inscribed copy of Judgement at Chelmsford.
  2. Letters from Charles Williams to Dorothy Rance, whom Williams nicknames Pyrrha, 1940-1944, with three typescript poems titled: 'A Closed Letter to Andreas Charicorythides Surnamed Polygrapheus, Logothete of the Theme of Geodesia In the Empire, Bard Of The Court Of Camelot, Malleus Malitiarum, Inclinga Sum, Sometimes Known As Charles Williams' (signed 'J.R.R. Tolkien'); 'The Departure Of Blanchfleur'; 'The Working Of Porphyry'.
  3. Manuscript draft of poem 'Renewed was the Empire' with envelope dated 29 Mar 1948.


  • Creation: 1939-1948


1 box

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Eng. c. 8379].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.


MS. Eng. c. 8379

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 15775, 15778


Letters from author Charles Williams to Dorothy Rance, with poems by Charles Williams.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Walter Stansby Williams (1886-1945) attended St Albans School followed by the University of London in 1901, but a lack of funding limited his studies to two years. Subsequently, he found work in the Methodist Book Room. In 1908, he gained a post as a reader at Oxford University Press in Amen House, where he would later write play scripts for his colleagues.

Inspired by Dante, and with an interest in the church, Williams wrote several spiritually-themed novels, and Arthurian poetry based on the idea of romantic love as a way to God; a love he experienced in his marriage to Florence Sarah (Michal) Conway. They had one son, Michael Stansby Williams, in 1922.

Charles Williams gained the friendship of C.S. Lewis in 1936 after exchanging letters of mutual respect for each other's writings. Consequently, when Williams moved to Oxford with the University Press upon the outbreak of the Second World War, he was invited to join the 'Inklings': a literary discussion group including Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

While in Oxford, Williams took up tutoring and lectured for the English Faculty, earning him an honourary MA in 1943. Williams remained in Oxford until his death in 1945. His prolific writing career also included religious services, theology, literary criticism, biography, and theatre.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Given by Adrian Rance-McGregor, 2016 & 2018.

Related Materials

There are numerous collections of Charles Williams-related papers in the Bodleian, see for example: Manuscripts and papers of Charles Williams (MS. 16125/1-6); Correspondence between Charles Williams and Phyllis Jones (MSS. 22198/1-5); Literary papers of Charles Williams (MS. 16123/1-8).

Separated Materials

Also donated was a copy of the book Descent into Hell by Charles Williams ([1937]) inscribed by him on flyleaf = Rec. e. 481

Catalogue of letters of Charles Williams to Dorothy Rance, with enclosed poems
Charlotte McKillop-Mash
Language of description
Script of description
Catalogued with the generous support of the Roy Davids bequest.
Edition statement
First edition.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom