Clive Staples Lewis (1898 - 1963) MP

‹ Back to Lewis surname

Is your surname Lewis?

Research the Lewis family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Share

Nicknames: "Jack"
Birthplace: Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Managed by: Malka Mysels
Last Updated:
view all

Immediate Family

About Clive Staples Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis was born (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963), and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably the most thought-provoking and influential Christian writer of the modern era. Author of the bestselling "The Chronicles of Narnia" and The Screwtape Letters.

An Irish-born British novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and a close friend of J. R. R. Tolkien---both authors were leading figures in the English faculty at Oxford University and in the informal Oxford literary group known as the "Inklings".

Media coverage of C.S. Lewi's's death was almost completely overshadowed by news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which occurred on the same day, as did the death of Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World.

This coincidence was the inspiration for Peter Kreeft's book Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis, & Aldous Huxley (Kreeft 1982).

In Lewis's later life, he corresponded with and later met Joy Davidman Gresham, an American writer of Jewish background and also a convert from atheism to Christianity. She was separated from her alcoholic and abusive husband, the novelist William L. Gresham, and came to England with her two sons, David and Douglas.

Lewis at first regarded her as an agreeable intellectual companion and personal friend, and it was at least overtly on this level that he agreed to enter into a civil marriage contract with her so that she could continue to live in the UK.

Lewis's brother Warnie wrote: "For Jack the attraction was at first undoubtedly intellectual. Joy was the only woman whom he had met... who had a brain which matched his own in suppleness, in width of interest, and in analytical grasp, and above all in humour and a sense of fun" (Haven 2006).

However, after complaining of a painful hip, she was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer, and the relationship developed to the point that they sought a Christian marriage. Since she was divorced, this was not straightforward in the Church of England at the time, but a friend, the Rev. Peter Bide, performed the ceremony at her hospital bed in March 1957.

Gresham's cancer soon went into a brief remission, and the couple lived as a family (together with Warren Lewis) until her eventual relapse and death in 1960. The year she died, the couple took a brief holiday in Greece and the Aegean in 1960.

Lewis continued to raise Gresham's two sons after her death. While Douglas Gresham is, like Lewis and his mother, a Christian, David Gresham turned to the faith into which his mother had been born and became Orthodox Jewish in his beliefs.

------------------------------------

A LOVE STORY

C.S. Lewis is beloved by for his tales about the mythical land of Narnia. His life was sheltered until Joy Davidman came along. Their love story is perhaps the greatest story of his life.

Clive Staples Lewis is known to generations of children for his classic novels about the magical land of Narnia. Christians also revere his writing; it has enlightened thousands on the topics of grief, suffering and the basics of Christianity. Science fiction fans have found his writing satisfying, too. Yet, perhaps the greatest story from C.S. Lewis isn't one of those he wrote but the one that he lived.

Lewis was born just outside of Belfast, North Ireland on November 29th, 1898. He was the second and last child of his parents, Flora and Albert Lewis. His older brother, Warren "Warnie" Lewis would be his life long friend and companion. While still a child, Lewis developed a dislike for his name and renamed himself Jacksie, later shortened to Jack. To all who knew him, he was Dr. Lewis or Jack Lewis.

When just nine years old, Lewis lost his mother to cancer. Prior to her death, Lewis considered himself a lukewarm Christian, but lost his faith along with his mother. For years he considered himself an agnostic. He later became a dedicated Christian and Christian apologist.

Lewis was educated in a series of boarding schools and was not a particularly successful student. He did well enough, though to be accepted at Oxford, where after only one term, he left school to serve his country in World War I. At the close of the war, he returned to finish at Oxford, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. He took up as a substitute lecturer at Oxford in Medieval Literature, eventually becoming a regular lecturer. Yet, after 30 years of lecturing at Oxford with no offer of professorship, he accepted a position at Cambridge as Professor in 1955.

Lewis's life through these years as spent as a bachelor. He and his brother shared a home and Jack's days were filled with teaching and writing. In 1952, he met the woman that would become his wife. He was 54 years old.

Joy Davidman Gresham was an award winning poet and mother of two boys. She came to know Lewis first through his Christian writings and later through his Narnia tales, which her boys were fond of. She struck up a correspondence with Lewis that became a warm friendship. During a 1952 trip to London in search of a publisher for her poetry and a home for her family, Gresham asked Lewis to meet her for tea. He and his brother accepted.

From the start, Jack was taken with Joy. Her candor and willingness to compete with him in battles of wits made her a welcome presence in his life. Yet to say that he loved her from the beginning would be to presume. It's unlikely that this dedicated bachelor would have recognized loving Joy immediately let alone admit to it. And, there was the issue that Joy was married, although unhappily.

Joy's husband, Bill Gresham was an acclaimed author, too. The Greshams were not happily married due for the most part to Bill's drinking and womanizing. Joy left Bill in 1954 when he professed his love for another woman but graciously invited his wife to join him and his lover in a ménage a' trois. Taking her sons, she returned to London and rented an apartment, intending to make England her new home.

England had other ideas, however and by 1956 was refusing to renew Joy's visa, which would have made it necessary for her to leave the country. She had maintained her friendship with Jack, and it seems that a gentle love was beginning to bloom. She asked him to marry her and extend his citizenship to her and her children. He agreed but the couple was married in a civil ceremony rather than a Christian ceremony. Jack may have been frightened by his feelings for this woman and not been willing to surrender to loving her. The couple did not immediately take up residence together. This happened somewhat gradually. More and more, Joy and her children stayed at Jack and Warnie's home, The Kilns.

Jack's feelings for Joy seem to have taken him over when it was discovered that Joy had a particularly virulent case of cancer. The future looked grim, there was virtually no hope of a remission and Joy was given only weeks at best to live. While she lay in the hospital, dying, Jack found a priest willing to perform a Christian marriage service for this divorced woman and her legal husband.

Miraculously, Joy's cancer did go into a remission. By 1957 she was able to go home to The Kilns and get around in a wheelchair. She progressed to crutches and later a cane. By 1958, the couple, wildly in love with each other, were finally able to take a honeymoon of sorts, to Ireland. It looked as though Joy may even recover completely, so well she appeared.

Jack, Joy and her sons were allowed two full years of respite from Joy's cancer. But, in late 1959, the cancer returned and this time it would not let loose of her. Despite treatments and drugs, her cancer spread and it became apparent that Joy would die. This she wanted to do at home, with her children, Warnie and her beloved Jack near her.

Though it probably drained the last of her strength, Joy convinced Jack to take her to Greece for a holiday. They spent much of April of 1960 in Greece and though it taxed her, it made Joy happy. They returned home and her cancer progressed rapidly. Surgery was attempted to no avail. Joy again returned home to die.

Jack was at her side constantly and begged her not to leave him. He wrestled with letting her go, wishing to keep her with him even in the face of the horrible pain she suffered. Finally he surrendered to the inevitable and told Joy to go on. She died July 13th, 1960. Jack was devastated by grief. While he was able to carry on the duties of life after losing Joy, it's clear that he was a changed man. He poured out his grief on paper, turning his own loss into comfort for thousands. His book, "A Grief Observed" published first under a pseudonym in 1961, delves deeply into his personal loss, but the profound insight into the nature of grief that Lewis pours out in the volume transcends his own loss and speaks to the heart of any who have lost a spouse or partner.

Clive Staples Lewis died November 22, 1963. The world would not know for days of his death, it was overshadowed by the assassination of John F. Kennedy on the same day. This world lost tremendous genius in those two deaths that day.

C.S. Lewis was an extraordinary writer and he gifted generations to come with his works. His faith and his willingness to share his own experience live on and entertain and comfort someone every day. Source

-------------------------------------

Ancestry of CS Lewis

  1. Clive Staples Lewis
  2. Albert James Lewis born 1863
  3. Richard Lewis married Martha Gee of Liverpool
  4. Joseph Lewis born 1803 married Jane Lewis daughter of Richard Lewis of Flintshire Wales and his wife Jane Ellis
  5. George IV King of England and his mistress Mrs Mary Lewis (nee Goldsmith/Goldsmid)

Note: Some researchers had Rosaline West married to her father-in-law William (b.1830) instead of to his son William born in 1848. 

Also some have confused William (b.1848)'s maternal grandfather Ebenezer Lewis b.1800 with a different Ebenezer who was b.1814. William b.1848 was reared by his grandparents Ebenezer and Mary Lewis.  

Lewis families of Flintshire Wales.

  1. Clive Staples Lewis and his brother Warren are the children of Albert James Lewis who was born in Cork Ireland in 1863.
  2. Albert James Lewis was the son of Richard Lewis who was born about 1832 (possibly in Birmingham, Norley Cheshire or Flintshire Wales).
  3. Richard Lewis at the age of 19 went to Cork Ireland with his wife Martha Gee of Liverpool in 1853. He was a boiler maker.
  4. William Lewis, his older brother, was also a boiler maker who married Martha Lewis (daughter of Ebenezer Lewis and Mary Williams).
  5. William Lewis, William and Martha's son, (b.1848 Hawarden Flintshire) was also a boiler maker and he married Rosaline West of Norley Cheshire the daughter of Simeon Levi West and Mary Ann Payne (believed to be the granddaughter of George IV and Maria Fitzherbert).
  6. John Lewis and Joseph Lewis, Richard's brothers, were also boiler makers who went with Richard to Ireland.
  7. Samuel Lewis, another brother, (b.1837 Birmingham) was a Jewish financier.
  8. Jane Lewis, their mother, was the daughter of Richard Lewis of Flintshire Wales.
  9. Joseph Lewis, their father, (born 1803) was an illegitimate son of George IV by his Jewish mistress Mrs Mary Lewis (nee Goldsmith).
  10. Richard Lewis of Flintshire Wales was born in Norley Cheshire about 1775. Richard moved to Wales where he married a local girl called Jane Ellis who was of crypto -Jewish background.
  11. William Lewis, Richard's brother, married the former mistress of George IV in Brighton.
  12. Joseph Lewis was brother to Samuel Lewis (b.1801), James Graham Lewis (b.1804), George Coleman Hamilton Lewis (b.1806 Portsmouth) and Mary Ann Lewis (b.1809).

Joseph Lewis, a son of George IV, went as a boy to live with his step-uncle Richard Lewis in Caergwrle Flintshire and later he married his step-cousin Jane Lewis (they were no blood relative).

Joseph was a crypto- Jew attending the Anglican Church for social reasons who later became a Methodist minister.

13. Samuel Lewis, Joseph's older brother, was trained by his step -father as a maltster in Brighton at the Black Lion Brewery and later went to live with his step-father's sister Mrs Mary Woodhouse (nee Lewis) at Norley Hall in Cheshire. He later became the owner of the Tiger Head Inn in Norley and a local farmer and land owner. Family tradition states that he was known as the Squire of Norley.

14. James Lewis and George Lewis, Joseph's brothers, went to live with their Jewish step-uncle Edward Henry Lewis and his wife Sarah Raphael (daughter of Nathaniel Raphael and Shinah Jane Levy) in London where they studied Law and became Jewish lawyers.

15. Edward Henry Lewis, their step-uncle had three children

  1. .Charles Lewis (who married Sophia Levy),
  2. Louis Lewis of Jamaica, and
  3. Catherine Lewis who converted to Catholicism on her marriage to George Drew Keogh.

Due to their step uncle and aunt rearing the two boys as their own sons the relationships in the family have confused some researchers.

-------------------------------------

Ancestry of CS Lewis (Royal and Jewish connections)

  1. Clive Staples Lewis
  2. Albert James Lewis born 1863
  3. Richard Lewis married Martha Gee of Liverpool
  4. Joseph Lewis born 1803 married Jane Lewis daughter of Richard Lewis of Flintshire Wales and his wife Jane Ellis
  5. George IV King of England and his mistress Mrs Mary Lewis (nee Goldsmith/Goldsmid)

Clive Staples Lewis was the author of the Narnia series of children's novels among many other works and a leading Anglican Christian. One website on the internet tries to connect CS Lewis with the Lewis families of Flintshire Wales.

Clive and his brother Warren are the children of Albert James Lewis who was born in Cork Ireland in 1863. Albert James Lewis was the son of Richard Lewis who was born about 1832 (possibly in Birmingham, Norley Cheshire or Flintshire Wales).

Richard at the age of 19 went to Cork Ireland with his wife Martha Gee of Liverpool in 1853. He was a boiler maker. His older brother William Lewis was also a boiler maker who married Martha Lewis(daughter of Ebenezer Lewis and Mary Williams).

William and Martha's son William Lewis (b.1848 Hawarden Flintshire) was also a boiler maker and he married Rosaline West of Norley Cheshire the daughter of Simeon Levi West and Mary Ann Payne (believed to be the granddaughter of George IV and Maria Fitzherbert).

Richard's brothers John and Joseph Lewis were also boiler makers who went with Richard to Ireland. Another brother Samuel (b.1837 Birmingham) was a famous Jewish money lender.

Their mother was Jane Lewis the daughter of Richard Lewis of Flintshire Wales. Their father Joseph (born 1803) was an illegitimate son of George IV by his Jewish mistress Mrs Mary Lewis (nee Goldsmith). Richard of Flintshire Wales was born in Norley Cheshire about 1775 and his brother William Lewis married the former mistress of George IV in Brighton. Richard Lewis (b.1775) moved to Wales were he married a local girl called Jane Ellis who was of crypto Jewish background.

Joseph Lewis was brother to Samuel Lewis (b.1801), James Graham Lewis (b.1804), George Coleman Hamilton Lewis (b.1806 Portsmouth) and Mary Ann Lewis (b.1809).

Joseph Lewis a son of George IV went as a boy to live with his step-uncle Richard Lewis in Caergwrle Flintshire and later he married his step-cousin Jane Lewis (they were no blood relative). Joseph was a crypto-Jew attending the Anglican Church for social reasons who later became a Methodist minister.

Joseph's older brother Samuel Lewis was trained by his step -father as a maltster in Brighton at the Black Lion Brewery and later went to live with his step-father's sister Mrs Mary Woodhouse (nee Lewis) at Norley Hall in Cheshire. He later became the owner of the Tiger Head Inn in Norley and a local farmer and land owner. Family tradition states that he was known as the Squire of Norley.

Joseph's brothers James and George went to live with their Jewish step-uncle Edward Henry Lewis and his wife Sarah Raphael (daughter of Nathaniel Raphael and Shinah Jane Levy) in London where they studied Law and became Jewish lawyers.

Their step-uncle Edward Henry Lewis had three children Charles Lewis (who married Sophia Levy), Louis Lewis of Jamaica, and Catherine Lewis who converted to Catholicism on her marriage to George Drew Keogh. Due to their step uncle and aunt rearing the two boys as their own sons the relationships in the family have confused some researchers.

Note: Some researchers had Rosaline West married to her father-in-law William (b.1830) instead of to his son William born in 1848. Also some have confused William (b.1848)'s maternal grandfather Ebenezer Lewis b.1800 with a different Ebenezer who was b.1814. William b.1848 was reared by his grandparents Ebenezer and Mary Lewis. Source

Video Clips

Books

Other References

view all

C.S. Lewis's Timeline

1898
November 29, 1898
Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
1963
November 22, 1963
Age 64
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom
????
????
Headington Quarry, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom