GARDINER, STEPITEN, a celebrated English prelate and statesman, the illegitimate son of Dr. Woodville, bishop of Salisbury, brother of Elizabeth Grey, queen of Edward IV., was b. at Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, in 1483. He studied at Trinity hall, Cambridge, and in 1520 became master of his hall. Soon after, through the patronage of the duke of Norfolk, he was introduced to cardinal Wolsey, who made him his secretary. In this capacity he acquired the confidence and favor of Henry. VIII., and, from his knowledge of the civil and canon law, was sent to Rome in 1527, to conduct the negotiation wills the pope for the king's• divorce from Catharine of Aragon. • He was then usually called Dr. Stephens. His exertions were unsuccessful; but having rendered services at the papal court to the bishop of Norwich, he was by him afterwards appointed archdeacon of Norfolk, while he promoted Wolsey's interests as a candidate for the pontificate. On Ids return, he was made secretary of state, and in the spring of 1531 was advanced to the archdeaconry of Leicester. In Nov. of the same year, he was installed bishop of Winchester. Notwithstanding his allegiance to the pope. he warmly supported the king's supremacy, and wrote a treatise in defense of it, entitled De Vera 05edientia. He was sent on embassies to France and Germany, and invariably opposed all measures attending to a religious reformation in England. He bad a principal hand in the downfall and execution of Thomas Cromwell, in 1540, and he drew up an impeachment of heresy against Henry's last queen, Catharine Parr; but in a personal interview with Henry, she re-established herself in the king's favor, and G. fell into disgrace. At the accession of Edward VI., Jan. 28, 1547, for refusing to
comply with the reformed doctrines, he was committed to the Fleet prison, but released in the following December. In 1548, he was again seized, and committed to the Tower, and on his refusal to sign certain articles submitted to him, was deprived of his bishopric. When Mary ascended the throne in 1553, he was set at restored to his see, and appointed lord chancellor and first minister of state. He took the lead in all the bitter persecutions of the Protestants during Mary's reign, and is charged with great caprice and extreme cruelty; but Dr. Maitland shows that many of the statements regarding G. are gross misrepresentations, and that in very many instances the parties brought before his court were arraigned for treason or sedition, rather than for heresy; and Roger Ascham freely confesses that G. interposed to pro tect him when summoned by the council on a charge of heterodoxy. The management of the queen's marriage with Philip of Spain was intrusted to him, and he officiated at their nuptials. He died Nov. 12, 1555. A treatise, entitled Necenary Doctrine of a. Christian Han, printed in 1543, is said to have been the joint production of G. and Cranmer. G.'s character has been the subject of much criticism; but it can scarcely be doubted that lie was a zealous, though not a spiritually minded, ecclesiastic. His devo tion was that of an out-and-out partisan; but it was nevertheless real, after its fashion; for G. would have given his life to advance the cause' Whieh had eOmmaiided his 'sym pathies and his support.