The Gardiner surname is of early medieval French origins, derived from the Old French word “gardinier”. It is also an occupational surname that derives from the word “gardin” with a meaning of “little clearing” and the Germanic word gard, which is an enclosure cleared for agriculture. It was introduced into England shortly after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The role of a gardener in medieval times was a person that grew medicinal herbs and fruits and vegetables and they were associated with the monasteries of the time. In the medieval times the monastery was a house of learning where advances in farming occurred.
The surname of Gardiner is one of the earliest surnames recorded in the pipe rolls of the County of Rutland in 1199 during the reign of King John (1199-1216). Camden says, “Wise was the man that told my Lord Bishop (Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester) that his name was not Gardener as the English pronounce it, but Gardiner, with the French accent, and therefore a gentleman.” It is most characteristically found in the midland counties of England, mostly represented in Essex, Lancashire and Warwickshire Counties.
Some other early bearers of the Gardiner surname are: Geoffrey le Gardiner, Oxfordshire, 1273 in the Hundred Rolls, Walter le Gardiner listed in the Subsidy Rolls for London in 1292 and John atte Gardyne listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296. Among some later recordings we find Richard Gardiner who was listed as a seaman aboard the ship “Mayflower” which in 1620 departed Plymouth England and landed on Plymouth Rock which is modern day Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Peter Gardner who settled in the colony of Virginia in 1635.
A few of the notable bearers of the Gardiner surname that carried a Coat of Arms were Charles Lawrence Weare Gardiner, Esq. of Coombe Lodge, County Oxford who was born November 15, 1849 and died March 13, 1866.
Their motto being Deo non fortunae which means To God not fortune. This family of Gardiners held seats at Coombe Lodge, Whitchurch, Reading and the Temple, Goring.
Philip Thomas Gardner, Esq. of Conington, County Cambridge, who was born December 30, 1847 and married Emily Elizabeth who was the 3rd daughter of John Forbes Calland, Esq. of Upper Forest County Glamorgan. They had issue Emily Mildred who was born February 11, 1878. His Coat of Arms is described as Az. a chevron erm. between three griffins’ heads erased arg. Quartering Hatton and Ascham. This families crest is a Saracen’s head, wreathed and couped at the shoulders ppr. A sample of this Coat of Arms can be found below.
This family held a seat at Conington Hall in the County of Cambridge.