Douglas Gresham and CS Lewis estate

Following CS Lewis's death, his brother Warren (Warnie) Lewis administered the estate. When Warnie died in 1973, Lewis’s estate went to his two adopted sons through Joy, Douglas and David Gresham.

Article by Jonathon Van Maren — February 13, 2022

Douglas had moved in with his mother’s friend, the journalist Jean Wakeman. He enrolled in agricultural school and began to work on a large farm in Somerset. It was there that he would meet the girl of his dreams—quite literally. Because his brother, David, had been a violent schizophrenic (something not published at the time), Douglas spent much time alone. Douglas and Merrie Gresham married in 1967 and left Great Britain for Tasmania, Australia, where Merrie hailed from. There they bought a dairy farm and raised a family of five children (three sons and two daughters.)

Gresham eventually worked in both radio and television. In 1993, Douglas and Merrie decided to move to Ireland to pursue a new mission: a Christian counselling and retreat centre for those struggling with—among other things—post-abortion syndrome. Many sought their help. “Whoever God sent was always welcome. Nobody paid to stay at our house.” The Greshams bought Rathvinden House in County Carlow, a 9,417-square-foot Georgian manor built in 1810, and turned it into the headquarters of Rathvinden Ministries.

In 2006, Gresham sold Rathvinden House to a developer and moved to Malta with Merrie. When I asked him why they chose Malta, he told me he didn’t know, but it is now his “base camp,” he says, where he works tirelessly at the production, publication, and promotion of Lewis’s works. His own 1988 memoir, Lenten Lands: My Childhood with Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis, is a beautifully written account of the last days of C.S. Lewis and his beloved wife Joy Davidman.

With his older brother David’s death in 2014, Gresham finally began to feel free to tell the rest of the story. He dislikes most Lewis biographies (“complete garbage,” is how he describes them), so is planning to write another memoir—especially recognizing that he is perhaps the last man alive with new things to say about Lewis’s last days. So I ask him if his new book will correct the historical record where he feels Lewis’s biographers have failed. “In some areas, it will,” he replies with a pause. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with this book.” I am looking forward to finding out.

After David's death in 2014 Gresham revealed that his brother had been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic, and had often tried to harm him. David died in a Swiss mental hospital.

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