The Tudor Society
  • March 7 – Germaine Gardiner and John Larke are executed

    On this day in Tudor history, 7th March 1544, in the reign of King Henry VIII, Germaine (or German) Gardiner and priest John Larke were executed for denying the royal supremacy.

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  • November 12 – Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th November 1555, Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, died.

    Queen Mary I’s lord chancellor was laid to rest at Winchester Cathedral in what is now known as the Bishop Gardiner Chantry Chapel.

    Let me tell you about the life and career of Stephen Gardiner, “Wily Winchester”. He led quite a life – going from being a valued advisor to Henry VIII to being imprisoned, and then rising in favour once and again, crowning a queen and becoming her lord chancellor. An interesting man!

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  • Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester (c. 1483/93-1555)

    Stephen Gardiner’s date of birth is not known, with some saying 1483 and others saying 1493 or 1497, but he was born in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. His father was William Gardiner (some say John Gardiner), a cloth merchant and a mercenary hired during the War of the Roses. According to Welsh accounts of the 1485 Battle of Bosworth, it was “Wyllyam Gardynyr” who killed King Richard III with a poleaxe. Sir William Gardiner later married Helen Tudor, a woman said to have been the illegitimate daughter of Jasper Tudor, uncle of King Henry VII.

    As a young man, Gardiner met the famous humanist scholar, Desiderius Erasmus, in Paris and he studied at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He received the degree of Doctor of Civil Law in 1520 and of Canon Law in 1521, and went on to work for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey as secretary. He met Henry VIII for the first time in 1525 at The More in Hertfordshire for the signing of the Treaty of the More between the King and Francis I of France. Two years later, in 1527, Gardiner and Sir Thomas More worked as commissioners in arranging, with the French ambassadors, a treaty to obtain support for an army against the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, in Italy.

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  • Katherine Willoughby and a dog named Gardiner

    Today is the anniversary of the traditional date given for the birth of Katherine Willoughby (married names Brandon and Bertie), Duchess of Suffolk, and leading patroness of Reform, on 22nd March 1519.

    She is someone who appeals to me because of her patronage of the reformed faith and also because of the story of her dog. Martyrologist John Foxe, in his Acts and Monuments, writes of how Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, called Katherine’s second husband, Richard Bertie, before him in Mary I’s reign to ask him about his religion. Here is what Foxe says about Gardiner’s words to Bertie:

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