Bishop Stephen Gardiner
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Bishop Stephen Gardiner as played by Simon Ward
| Born c. 1497 - Died November 12, 1555 |
Character's Backstory: Reputedly the son of Jasper Tudor's illegitimate daughter, Helen. Jasper Tudor was the uncle who raised the teenaged Henry VII, and shielded him from Yorkist threats. It was thanks to Jasper that Henry Tudor acquired the tactical awareness that made it possible to defeat the far more experienced Richard III at Bosworth (1485). Bishop Gardiner may have been the out-of-wedlock second cousin to King Henry VII, and third cousin to King Henry VIII. Although this connection has no valid proof and maybe just legend.
Basically a conservative Catholic, despite being obliged to recognize the religious independence of King Henry VIII. He supported the royal supremacy but was a thorough opponent of the Reformation from a doctrinal point of view. However, it was suspected that he later repented his advocacy of the royal supremacy. He certainly had not approved of Henry's general treatment of the church, especially during the ascendancy of Cromwell, but he managed to bear Henry's frequent storms of royal indignation with patience. Henry cut him out of his will and was not a member of the group who were given the job of supporting his heir. He was stubbornly opposed to the strident Reform policies of Edward's reign and as a result, was incarcerated in the Tower of London until Edward's death and Mary's accession. He became a great political and religious ally of Mary I when she inherited the throne after Edward's death and she appointed him her Lord Chancellor. He died, probably in his early sixties, and was buried in Winchester Cathedral where his effigy can still to be seen
Positions: Cardinal Thomas Wolsey's secretary, the King's Secretary, Archdeacon of Taunton, and Norfolk, Bishop of Winchester under Henry VIII; Lord Chancellor under Mary I.
Personality Type: Conscientious and ambitious. He has been called treacherous, underhanded and blood thirsty. He was both ridiculed and feared.
Signature Look: Dour and clerical.
Endearing Traits: An intelligent and competent statesman and lawyer rather than clergyman. Very loyal to his political ally Norfolk, with whom he spearheaded the 'old-school' faction at court during the last years of Henry VIII's reign. In his own household he loved to take in young university men of promise; and many whom he thus encouraged became distinguished in after life as bishops, ambassadors and secretaries of state. His house was spoken of by John Leland as the seat of eloquence and the special abode of the muses.
Annoying Traits: Out for the blood of his political enemies such as Cromwell and Cranmer, whom he waited many years to destroy. Hatred for the Reformers at court, including the inoffensive Queen Catherine Parr.
Supported Mary's campaign of terror against openly Reformist subjects.
Links: <a class="external" href="http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/gardiner.htm" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Life of Stephen Gardiner - Luminarium encyclopedia">Life of Stephen Gardiner - Luminarium encyclopedia</a>
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' Wily Winchester'
~Foxe's Book of Martyrs
' I have often squared with you, Gardiner,
but I love you never the worse,
as the bishopric I give,
will convince you '
King Henry VIII
Legend has it that his last words were:
Erravi *** Petro, sed non flevi *** Petro
- Like Peter, I have erred,
unlike Peter, I have not wept -
Edward Latham's Famous Sayings and
their Authors 1906
Mother: Helen Tudor--alleged illegitimate daughter of Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke. Pembroke was paternal uncle of King Henry VII.
Father: William Gardiner, a cloth merchant
Married: Not applicable
Children: None known
Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Wriothesley (Risley in the series)
Princess Mary Tudor
Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury
Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex
Catherine Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk
UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTER QUOTES
DEFINING EPISODES | MEMORABLE SCENES
with Charles Brandon and Edward Seymour