Edwin GARDINER (1828–1869)
His wife Mrs Sarah GARDINER, née Panter (c.1830–1872)
St Michael section: Row 35, Grave L47½

Edwin Gardiner



WHO DIED OCT 21, 1869,





WHO DIED JUNE 18, 1872,





Edwin Gardiner was born at George Street, Oxford in 1828 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 20 April. He was the son of the builder James Gardiner and his first wife Mary. See separate grave of his father for more on his family background.

Edwin’s parents moved to Walton Place (now Walton Street) by early 1830, but by the spring of 1841 they had moved back to another part of George Street, this time to No. 8 on the south-eastern side (which is in St Michael’s parish). At the time of the 1841 census Edwin (13) was at home there with his parents and younger sister Sarah (6). His mother died there on 14 January 1845, and his father married again in 1848.

By 1851 Edwin (23) was a builder. He spent census night at the home of his future wife Sarah Panter and her brothers at South Stoke, Oxfordshire.

Sarah Panter was born in Swanbourne, Buckinghamshire in c.1828, the daughter of the yeoman or farmer Charles Panter. At the time of the 1841 census she was aged 13 and living at South Stoke village with her parents Charles and Mary Panter; her two brothers Joseph, who was an agricultural labourer and William, who was a shoemaker; and her two sisters Sarah and Ann. By 1851 Sarah (22) was the housekeeper to her two brothers: Joseph (27) was now a brickmaker and William (26) was still a shoemaker. Her future husband Edwin Gardiner was paying a visit.

On 24 January 1853 at South Stoke, Edwin Gardiner married Sarah Panter, the eldest daughter of the yeoman Charles Panter. They do not appear to have had any children. They first lived at St Paul’s Terrace after their wedding, and then at Plantation Road. He then took a job as clerk of works in Banbury, (staying first at South Bar Street and by 1857 at High Street there), while his wife remained in Oxford. These four addresses were revealed in the London Gazette of 3 February 1857, where a notice declared that Edwin Gardiner was an insolvent debtor due to appear before the County Court on 18 February.

At the time of the 1861 census Edwin Gardiner (33), still a builder’s clerk of works, was staying at Bishopstone in Swindon, while his wife Sarah (31), who described herself as a carpenter’s wife, was back home at 8 Worcester Place with an elderly female boarder.

Sheldonian head

By 1867 the couple had moved to Edwin’s father’s old house at 8 George Street. In that year Edwin carved new emperors’ heads to stand outside the Sheldonian Theatre, and the following report appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 27 July 1867:

THE HEADS IN FRONT OF THE SHELDONIAN THEATRE. — The first of the restored heads in front of the Sheldonian Theatre was completed on Wednesday last, and is an exact copy of its venerable predecessor. It has been cut in white Milton stone by Mr. Edwin Gardiner, of George-street, and presents a remarkable contrast in colour to the old ones still remaining. The stone-work of the wall in which the railings are placed, and the pillars supporting the heads, are being similarly restored.



Right: Photograph of the Laughing (or Thirteenth) Head taken by Henry Taunt around the end of the nineteenth century. This may be one of the heads carved by Edwin Gardiner

Edwin died at 8 George Street in 1869:

† Edwin Gardiner died at 8 George Street at the age of 41 on 21 October 1869 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 27 October (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

His death notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 23 October read: “Oct. 21, at No. 8, George-street, Oxford, aged 41, Mr. Edwin Gardiner, builder, leaving a sorrowing widow to mourn her loss.”

His effects came to nearly £800. A sale of the following property connected to his work was held at his premises at 8 George Street on 31 March 1870:

Well-seasoned OAK, ELM, and MAHOGANY BOARDS and PLANKS, DRY DEALS and BATTENS, prepared FLOORING, CARPENTERS’ BENCHES & CRAMPS, new DOORS, and other Joiners’ Work, a powerful CRAB, dry and clean PINE BOARDS, SCAFFOLD POLES, a four-wheel PHAETON, a SOCIABLE, and other Effects, the property of the Late Mr. Edwin Gardiner, builder.

This was followed by another sale at Gardiner’s premises at 8 George Street on 6 April:

A well-assorted Stock of BUILDERS’ IRONMONGERY, OFFICE FIXTURES, Carpenter’s TOOL CHEST and tools, and about 600 Pieces of PAPER HANGINGS, and other Effects (the property of the late Edwin Gardiner builder).

At the time of the 1871 census Sarah Gardiner (40), who now described herself as a carpenter’s widow, was living at Dayman’s Farm House in Summertown with her sister Miss Ann Panter (37); and Francis A. T. Swan (a boy aged nine born in Lincolnshire), was paying them a visit.

Mrs Gardiner died in 1872:

† Mrs Sarah Gardiner, née Panter died at Summertown at the age of 42 on 18 June 1872 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 22 June (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).



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