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Oxford Inscriptions: Joy Davidman


Joy Davidman

 

THE FORMER HOME
OF THE WRITER
JOY DAVIDMAN
WIFE OF C. S. LEWIS

This plaque is on the front of 10 Old High Street (opposite Headington car-park).

In 1952 C. S. Lewis met Mrs Joy Gresham (née Davidman), an American who had been deserted by her husband. Lewis helped her to arrange the rental of 10 Old High Street, Headington for herself and her two boys, and she moved in during August 1953. Joy’s son Douglas Gresham was about eight years old when he moved into Old High Street in 1953. He said of the house:

It was a nice place partly because of the visitors who came, many of Oxford’s literary luminaries. Lewis himself of course, his brother Warnie, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Joy divorced her husband in August 1954 and married Lewis in Oxford Register Office on 23 April 1956. This was a marriage of convenience so that she could acquire British citizenship, and she continued to live in Old High Street after the marriage.

In 1957 Joy was admitted to the Wingfield Morris Orthopaedic Hospital (now the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre) with a broken leg, and was found to have cancer. The Revd Peter Bide married Lewis and Joy a second time at this hospital (this time with a real Christian ceremony) on 21 March 1957: the marriage took place in the Mayfair Suite. The next month Joy moved out of Old High Street and into “The Kilns” with Lewis.


Wikipedia: Joy Davidman

Stephanie Jenkins, 2013