Hugh Stowell Brown and CS Lewis

How Hugh Stowell Brown is related to CS Lewis – well, sort of

It could be argued that in the end we’re all related to one another if you look hard enough, but there is a somewhat tenuous family connection between Hugh Stowell Brown and the twentieth century’s greatest Christian writer and apologist, CS Lewis.

Many of Hugh’s children and grandchildren went on to live remarkable lives in their own right. His daughter Alice, named after her mother, married William Sproston Caine, a local businessman who became an MP and leading member of Gladstone’s government. Alice and William had five children. One daughter, Hannah, became the wife of John Roberts who served as an MP and was made the first Baron Clwyd.

Alice and William’s daughter Ruth was born in 1871. When William became an MP the family moved to London where Ruth was educated. She then attended Newham College, Cambridge and completed the degree course. At that time women were not allowed to graduate from Cambridge, so she received her degree from the University of Dublin and was among the group known as the “Steamboat Ladies” because they crossed the Irish Sea to receive degrees for work done at Cambridge or Oxford universities.

John Herbert Lewis
Original publication: Published in the UK in postcard formatImmediate source: Digitalised version of original postcard, PD-US,

In 1897 Ruth married John Herbert Lewis. Herbert, later Sir John Herbert, was a widower thirteen years Ruth’s senior. He was a well-travelled lawyer who, like Ruth’s father was a Liberal MP. Since 1892 he had represented his home of Flintshire, north Wales. He remained an MP until his retirement in 1922. He became a privy councillor and was a close friend of David Lloyd George, and was an advocate for all Welsh matters in the House of Commons. The couple had two children, Kitty and Mostyn, who could both justifiably sing “Lloyd George knew my father”.

Ruth learned Welsh and committed herself to the Welsh culture. She served as president of the Welsh Folk Song Society and wrote books of collections of Welsh folk songs. The Welsh National Eisteddfod has a singing prize named after her.

So what’s the connection to CS Lewis, other than the surname? It’s in his background in Flintshire. Both John Herbert Lewis and CS Lewis have family roots in the Lewises of Flintshire. CS Lewis’s grandfather Richard Lewis was born in 1832 in Hawarden, north Wales and he took the family to Ireland. The writer’s father Albert Lewis was born to Welsh parents in Cork.

Richard Lewis of Hawarden was the grandson of another Richard Lewis born in Flintshire in about 1775, and this Richard Lewis is also the ancestor of Sir John Herbert Lewis, the husband of Ruth Caine, the granddaughter of Hugh Stowell Brown. Case closed. Or you can show we are all related if you look hard enough.

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