GARDINER, William (1522-58), of London and Grove Place, Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

b. 1 Mar. 1522, 1st s. of William Gardiner of London by 2nd w., and bro. of John. educ. L. Inn, adm. 3 May 1542. m. c.1546, Anne, da. of John Newdigate of Harefield, Mdx., 5s. 4da. suc. fa. 19 Aug. 1541.1

Offices Held

Commr. relief, Bucks. 1550.2


William Gardiner’s father was a London grocer who by his first marriage to Elizabeth Grove, daughter of another grocer and alderman, obtained her moiety of the inheritance in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and with it a place on the Buckinghamshire bench. A minor at his father’s death, Gardiner became the ward of Sir John Russell, Baron Russell, later 1st Earl of Bedford, who as a member of Lincoln’s Inn was presumably responsible for his entry there in the following year; his marriage to Anne Newdigate may likewise reflect her brother John Newdigate’s membership of that inn. Although Gardiner was not to emulate Newdigate’s progress at the inn—his early death gave him little time to do so—he evidently prospered in his profession; in 1551 he was named a feoffee for Andrew Nowell on Nowell’s marriage to his kinswoman Elizabeth Hopton.3

The names of both Members for Barnstaple in the Parliament of March 1553 are entered on the return in a different hand from that of the document, and Gardiner must have owed his nomination there to one or more of his important west country connexions: these included the Earl of Bedford, the most pervasive of parliamentary patrons in the area, Gardiner’s kinsman (Sir) William Godolphin I and perhaps John Chichester, who probably nominated his fellow-Member Thomas Prideaux. Although Gardiner belonged to a Protestant circle, his link with the house of Seymour through his brother-in-law Francis Newdigate makes it unlikely that he was a partisan of the Duke of Northumberland or that the pardon which he sued out at Mary’s accession was other than a conventional one; he was not, however, to follow his father on the Buckinghamshire bench or to sit again in the Commons.4

Gardiner prefaced his will of 3 Oct. 1558 by ‘utterly renouncing the justice and merit of my own work’, bequeathing his soul to ‘the tender mercy of almighty God’ and asking to be buried ‘without pomp or pride’ but with ‘a godly sermon in my parish church of Chalfont’. He provided for his wife, his heir and three other sons, his four daughters, his unmarried sister Elizabeth and his niece Sybil Newdigate. His bequests to friends, relatives and servants included 13 mourning rings. Having noted that his brother John Gardiner and his kinsmen John and Francis Newdigate, William Godolphin II, James Bacon and Richard Crayford owed him £200, he appointed four of them executors with his wife and a fifth overseer with Thomas Ball of Beaconsfield and his servant John Green. Gardiner died ten days later and was buried in the church at Chalfont St. Giles, where his monument survives. His heir John Gardiner, then 11 years old, was to become a recusant and in 1587 was imprisoned for sheltering seminary priests.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Date of birth given at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/64/96. Vis. Dorset (Harl. Soc. xx), 44; Recs. Bucks. vi. 105; C142/118/3.
  • 2. CPR, 1553, p. 351.
  • 3. VCH Bucks. iii. 189; PCC 4 Spert; LP Hen. VIII, xxi, add.; CPR, 1550-3, p. 85.
  • 4. C219/282/3; Trans. Dev. Assoc. lxxii. 252; CPR, 1553-4, p. 410.
  • 5. PCC 36 Loftes; C142/118/3; Pevsner, Bucks. 81; RCHM Bucks. i. 81; Recs. Bucks. vi. 95; CSP Dom. 1581-90. p. 392; G. Anstruther, Seminary Priests, i. 137, 162-3.