Sir William Gardiner

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William Gardiner

Death: before October 08, 1485
Place of Burial: St. Mildred Poultry, London, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Thomas Gardiner, of Bucks and Anna Gardiner
Husband of Helen Tudor
Father of Anne (Gardiner) Browne; Philippa Gardiner; Beatrice Gardiner; Margaret Gardiner and Thomas Gardiner, Prior of Tynemouth
Brother of Ann Gardiner; Thomas Gardiner; Robert Gardiner and Jessie Gardiner Gardner

Occupation: Skinner
Managed by: Kevin Edward Eng
Last Updated:

About Sir William Gardiner

William Gardiner

  • Birth date and place unknown.
  • Death date before the 8 October 1485 (date of probate).
  • Father Thomas Gardiner (1430 - 1491)
  • Mother Anna De La Grove Gardiner (1434 - 1524)
  • Spouse Helen/Ellen Tudor Gardiner (1459 - ____)
  • Issue Thomas, Philippa, Margaret, Beatrice & Anne (all named in their father's will)

Primary Sources

Chancery pleadings
Peter Watson, of London, draper, and William Sybson, husband of Ellen, late the wife of William Gardyner v the Mayor, Aldermen, and Sheriffs of London: an action by the children of William Gardyner, deceased, to recover the portion of his son Thomas, who has entered Westminster abbey. (C 1/252/12, dated 1501-1502, The National Archives, Kew)

biography (records inaccurate unsourced facts).

Sir William Gardiner was a cloth merchant who, like so many in the growing urban middle class, grew wealthy in part because of the Wars of the Roses. Unlike most, he was of a bellicose nature and had martial talents, and a willingness to put his life on the line as a spearman in the Lancastrian cause-- in fact he is noted as the man (or one of them) who speared Richard III himself, when the King fell from his horse and became entangled in the brush. He used his profits to buy influence with the Lancastrian cause, and naively tried to rise to a high station by marriage to a prominent Lancastrian, Sir Jasper Tudor-- who by fortune's favor turned out to be centrally involved in constructing the new Dynasty and its bureaucracy. Jasper's daughter Helen was illegitimate, but she was a blood relation of the winning side, and Sir William's trade in his clothiery was much enhanced by the custom of aristocratic and even Royal buyers-- if not his social station. It can be inferred, though that a combination of wealth and courtly connections benefited his son Stephen, who became so prominent a player in the Tudor monarchy that he logged as much time in the Tower of London as in high office. He also raised his family as devout Catholics, and even Stephen (Henry VIII's Secretary of State) practiced his faith clandestinely-- the peak of his prominence came when he was let out of the Tower upon Mary Tudor's succession, and became her Lord Chancellor.

Family links:

 Thomas Gardiner (1430 - 1491)
 Anna De La Grove Gardiner (1434 - 1524)

 Helen Tudor Gardiner (1459 - ____)

Burial: St Mary Churchyard Bury St Edmunds St Edmundsbury Borough Suffolk, England

Created by: Bill Velde Record added: Jun 15, 2011 Find A Grave Memorial# 71379140 Sir William Gardiner Cemetery Photo Added by: Jerry Ferren

Photos may be scaled. Click on image for full size.

This article from Wikipedia is no longer available it seems due to changes concerning Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, Lord Chancellor who was thought to be son of William & Helen (Tudor) Gardner but now found to be son of John Gardiner, a substantial cloth merchant

  • Sir William Gardner (c. 1450 - c. 1495) was a mercenary, warrior and knight during the Medieval Era who was noted for killing King Richard III of England on 22 August 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth Field.
  • Early life
  • Wyllyam Gardynyr (as his name was written in Welsh accounts) was born in 1451 at Oxfordshire, England. He was a commoner and cloth merchant before he was hired as a mercenary during the War of the Roses. Although he was sometimes recorded as a 'Welsh halberdier', he was most likely of French, Scottish, and English ancestry.
  • Battle of Bosworth Field
  • The Welsh accounts state that Sir William Gardner killed King Richard III with a pollaxe. The Welsh account reads, "Richard’s horse was trapped in the marsh where he was slain by one of Rhys Thomas’ men, a commoner named Wyllyam Gardynyr."[citation needed] Afterwards, Gardner was knighted for bravery.
  • The only dispute of this action is credited to English historians who stated that King Richard III was killed in battle with a pollaxe mistakenly by Rhys ap Thomas. Although it was Rhys ap Thomas' military prowess which led to the downfall of King Richard III's forces, it was indeed William Gardner who killed the last King of England to die on the battlefield. Both Gardner and Thomas were knighted on the battlefield by King Henry VII and Gardner eventually married the illegitimate first cousin of the King himself.
  • King Richard III was the last King of the Plantagenet dynasty. Gardiner's actions would lead to his son becoming Lord Chancellor of England and the rise of his wife's family, the Tudors. Without his action, the modern monarchy under Elizabeth II would never have come to be. This is due to the fact that Henry VII is the great grandfather of James I, the direct ancestor of all the Kings and Queens following himself.
  • Later life
  • William Gardner, Gardiner, or Gardynyr, later married Helen Tudor, born c. 1459, reportedly an illegitimate daughter of Jasper Tudor, 1st Duke of Bedford and 1st Earl of Pembroke, by one Mevanvy or Myvanwy ferch N (born Wales, died bef. 1485), and lived at "the Bank" in Surrey, England. He lived his life as a cloth merchant. It is most likely that Gardner later died from natural causes.
  • He is most noted today for being the father of Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester (c. 1483[1] /c. 1497[citation needed] – 12 November 1555), Richard Gardiner (1486 – 1548) and William Gardiner (1488 – 1549).
  • References
  • "Gardiner Generations & Relations, Vol. I" by Richard Thomas Gardiner
  • "The Making of the Tudor Dynasty" by Roger Thomas
  • 1.^ Karen Lindsey, xvii, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived, Perseus Books, 1995
  • From:


  • Dear Newsgroup ~
  • Jasper Tudor, K.G., Duke of Bedford, Earl of Pembroke (died 1495), the enigmatic uncle of King Henry VII of England, had one known illegitimate daughter, Ellen (or Helen), who became the wife of William Gardiner, Citizen and Grocer of London. Ellen and her husband, William, in turn had one known child, Thomas Gardiner, who was Prior of Tynemouth.
  • For evidence and particulars of the Gardiner family, see the following sources:
  • Gibson, A descriptive and historical guide to Tynemouth (1849): 106- 108.
  • Memoirs Chiefly Illustrative of the Hist. & Antiqs.of Northumberland 1 (1858): 166.
  • Benolte et al., Vis. of Sussex 1530, 1633-4 (H.S.P. 53) (1905): 122 (Owen pedigree).
  • Broadley, Doctor Johnson and Mrs. Thrale (1910): 280-281.
  • Chrimes, Henry VII (1972): 54, footnote 3.
  • Muller, Stephen Gardiner and the Tudor Reaction (1970).
  • The first source listed above (Gibson) may be viewed at the following weblink:
  • Complete Peerage, 2 (1912): 73, footnote d (sub Bedford) alleges without foundation or any documentation that Jasper Tudor's daughter, Ellen (or Helen), was the mother of Stephen Gardiner, the famous Bishop of Winchester. Bishop Gardiner is known, however. to have been the son of a John Gardiner, of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, possibly by a wife named Agnes [Reference: ODNB, biog. of Stephen Gardiner].
  • I might note that Charles Cawley's Medieval Lands database repeats this same error regarding Bishop Gardiner, and, like Complete Peerage, supplies no documentation. I assume Cawley got his information from Burke on whom he seems to rely for much of his information. The same error can be found in Burke as early as 1831. See the following weblink for Burke:
  • If anyone has furrther particulars of Ellen Tudor and William Gardiner, or their issue, I'd very much appreciate hearing from them here on the newsgroup.
  • Best always, Douglas Richardson, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • From:


  • William Gardiner1,2
  • M, b. circa 1452
  • William Gardiner was born circa 1452 at of London, Middlesex, England; A skinner by trade.2 He married Helen Tudor, daughter of Sir Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke, Duke of Bedford, Lord Deputy of Ireland, circa 1475; They had 1 son (William, Prior at Blyth & at Tynemouth) & 4 daughters (Philippe, Margaret, Beatrice, & Anne).1,3 William Gardiner left a will on 25 September 1485; Besides his children, he mentioned his siblings (Richard, Robert, John, Maud, & Alice).2 His estate was probated on 8 October 1485.2
  • Family Helen Tudor b. c 1455, d. a 1502
  • Citations
  • 1.[S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 675.
  • 2.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. II, p. 560.
  • 3.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. II, p. 558-559.
  • From:


Not the father/parents of Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, Lord Chancellor

  • William Gardiner1
  • M, #107545
  • Last Edited=5 Mar 2009
  • William Gardiner married Helen Tudor, daughter of Sir Jasper Tudor, 1st and last Duke of Bedford and Mevanvy (?).1
  • He lived at London, England.1
  • Child of William Gardiner and Helen Tudor
    • 1.Stephen Gardiner2 b. 1483, d. 1555
  • Citations
  • 1.[S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 130. Hereinafter cited as Britain's Royal Family.
  • 2.[S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume II, page 73. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  • From:


Not the mother/parents of Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, Lord Chancellor

  • Helen TUDOR
  • Born: ABT 1459
  • Father: Jasper TUDOR (D. Bedford))
  • Mother: Mevanvy ?
  • Married: William (John) GARDINER (b. ABT 1446)
  • Children:
    • 1. Stephen GARDINER (b. 1483, Bury, Lancashire - d. 12 Nov 1555) (m. Margaret Grey)
    • 2. Alice GARDINER (m. Robert Perrot)
  • From: TUDOR


Gardynyr, Wyllyam (1450 - 1495) - male

b. 1450 in Midlands, Oxfordshire, England

d. 1495 in The Bank, Surrey, England

See GARDINER, GENERATIONS AND RELATIONS by Thomas Richard Gardiner ,1991, Leonardtown, Maryland, Vol I, pg. 1:

   "Wyllyam Gardynyr, was born about 1450 in Midlands, Oxfordshire, England; he died in 1495 in The Bank, Surrey, England. He married in1485, in London, England, Helen Tudor, daughter of Jasper Tudor, first cousin to Henry VII, as found on Betham's Genealogical Table DC X in Guildhall Library, London, England. This William Gardiner actually signed his name "Wyllym Gardynyr" which may indicate that he was of Welsh origin as were the Tudors, who spelled their name "Tudur " and "Tewdr" during that period.
   "Why William Gardiner was allowed to marry into the Royal Family remains unclear, but historians have hinted that it was because of his aid to Henry VII, then Earl of Richmond, in defeating Richard III , in the Battle of Bosworth Field, near Leicester, on 22 August, 1485 . Jean Molinet, a Chronicler from Burgundy, covering this battle, described the scene in this manner (taken from the book, THE MAKING OF THE TUDOR DYNASTY, by Roger Thomas): "During the vigorous hand-to-hand fighting with the axe, sword and pike, both Richard III and Henry Tudor, each surrounded by a vanguard, watched from the sidelines, a safe distance apart. Richard, so confident of victory that he was wearing his crown, could observe from a higher level along the hill side, that his own personal vanguard was superior to Henry's and decided to end the battle quickly by slaying Henry Tudor.
   Sir William Stanley was standing by with an uncommitted force of 3,000 men, ready to rout the loosing side. Richard III spurred his horse and in quick time, with his vanguard, engaged Henry in combat. As Richard went for Henry to deliver his mortal blow, one of Henry's men, a Welsh halberdier, intervened, knocking off Richard's crown, then giving one mighty swing, smashed Richard's helmut into his skull . Seeing that their leader was slain, his vanguard began to withdraw and immediately Sir William Stanley ordered his men after Richard' s fleeing troops, thus ending the battle in Henry's favor.
   Richard's crown was recovered from a thornbush and later placed on the head of Henry Tudor who then proclaimed himself King of England . This act of slaying Henry's adversary in an otherwise losing situation was the most important single effort in the making of the Tudor dynasty, and thus allowed the marriage of William Gardiner, believed to be the Welsh halberdier, to Helen Tudor a few months later.
   There has been some dispute as to how a person from the English Midlands could be described as a Welshman by the Burgundy writer, Jean Molinet, but the solution to the mystery is found in the book itself concerning the number of Sir William Stanley's warriors who, in their eagerness to give support to Henry, then Earl of Richmond, pressed ahead to join forces with Henry as his forces moved through Wales, on their way to engage Richard III's army. Jean Molined may have had no way of knowing from where the halberdier hailed. Although much information on him is lacking, this William Gardiner remains as the earliest member of our Gardiner line from whom I can trace our ancestry on a generational basis, with a great degree of certainty.
   William Gardiner and his wife, Helen Tudor, resided on the south bank of the Thames River just across from the walled city of London, prior to the establishment of any town, in an area that was then known simply as "The Bank". His magnificent home was located somewhere between the more recent towns of Bermondey and Southwalk in the county of Surrey. He also retained many of his holding in the Midlands near Oxon Ford, now known as Oxford.
   Another member of Sir William Stanley's troops who was a long time acquaintance, if not close friend, of William Gardiner, was by name , Roland Warburton, who was noted for his arrival at Bosworth Field on 21 august, 1485, the eve of the Battle, with money to pay the three thousand men under Stanley's command. His arrival in the nick of time, no doubt, did much to lift the morale of the troops, making them more eager for action. It would be interesting to know how this man's family name came to be used in naming the Manor at Piscataway Creek and Potomac River which Luke Gardiner received in trade from Luke Barber for St. Richard's Manor on the Patuxent in 1662, almost two hundred years later. Luke Barber had named his Manor, on the northern side of Piscataway Creek in what is now Prince George's County, Maryland, "Barberton Manor." Several years after the trade, Luke Gardiner changed the name to Warburton Manor. Was it to commemorate the event at Bosworth Field, some two hundred years before? Intensive research on my part did not uncover a single document on which I could make such assumption, but somewhere one may exist."

The foregoing article is cited with additional authorities in BRITISHROOTS OF MARYLAND FAMILIES, Robert A. Barnes, Gen. Pub. Co., Baltimore,1999, pp. 293-4.


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Sir William Gardiner's Timeline

Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
October 8, 1485

date of probate

St Giles, Buckingham, England