The Gardiner (Gardner) family
Revd Michael Gardiner was born in 1552, the son of Henry Gardiner, and Michael was a son of his father’s second marriage, to Mary Haward. He was educated at Christ’s College, Cambridge, receiving his MA in 1577. He was a fellow of the college from 1574 to 1583, and was appointed Rector of Littlebury in Essex in 1573, and then Greenford. (He was Rector of both parishes until 1618). He was Rector of the Parish of Greenford Magna (Great Greenford) from 1584 until his death in 1630, a term of office of 46 years, the longest of any of Greenford’s Rectors, and one unlikely to be exceeded.
He was married to Margaret Browne in 1583. She was born in 1562 and died at Greenford in 1623.
Michael Gardiner was buried in the chancel of Holy Cross Church on 24 August 1630. His eldest son, Henry, arranged for a memorial to be placed on the wall of the chancel in 1632. This nicely executed sculpture shows the couple kneeling at prayer and is believed to be the work of Nicholas Stone. It bears a long Latin inscription.
The second son, Michael, presented two silver flagons to the church in memory of his father in 1640.
The Gardiners had six children, five boys and one girl. The youngest child, George (b.1599) has been identified as the George Gardiner who is thought to have travelled from Bristol in the ship “Fellowship” in 1637 and appears in Rhode Island in 1638, and from whom a large number of people in North America are descended. However, there does not seem to be any certainty that they are one and the same person. Despite this Greenford Church welcomes many visitors from the USA following their family history.