Mary Gardiner (1713 - 1748)

Mary Gardiner memorial by Peter Scheemakers

Mary was the wife of Stephen Gardiner; her father was Thomas Carthew of Benacre in Suffolk, and her mother the eldest daughter of Thomas Powys, Knight, Judge of the Queen’s Bench. We know this from the inscription on her monument, showing that women could only define their standing by that of their menfolk.

She is buried in the middle of the sanctuary in St George Tombland, a very prestigious location, and her monument is on the north wall above.

The Gardiners also presented the church with a set of gilt communion plate in 1751 – two cups, two patens, two flagons, an alms dish, and a strainer-spoon. (These are usually on display in the Cathedral Treasury.)



The Monument

Mary Gardiner memorial by Peter ScheemakersMary Gardiner memorial by Peter Scheemakers

It is known to be by Peter Scheemakers (1691-1781), ‘The Famous Statuary’, one of the most successful sculptors of eighteenth-century England. He is best known for his Shakespeare monument in Westminster Abbey of 1739, and this choice of sculptor gives an indication of the social standing of the Gardiners.

It is very typical of 18th Century monuments being of a "roman" design, with the deceased depicted as a cameo like "medallion" portrait.

Click here for a readable view of the inscription

Mary Gardiner memorial by Peter Scheemakers

What the monument tells us.

A cherub (or Putty) is depicted watching over Mary & drawing a veil over her life