German Gardiner, BLESSED, last martyr under Henry VIII; date of birth unknown; d. at Tyburn, March 7, 1544; secretary to, and probably a kinsman of Stephen Gardiner, and an able defender of the old Faith, as his tract against John Frith (dated August 1, 1534) shows. During the years of fiery trial, which followed, we hear no more of him than that “he was stirred up to courage” by the examples of the martyrs, and especially by More, a layman like himself. His witness was given eight years later, under remarkable circumstances. Henry VIII was becoming more severe upon the fast-multiplying heretics. Cranmer fell under suspicion, and Gardiner was (or was thought to have been) employed in drawing up a list of that heresiarch’s errors in the Faith. Then the whim of the religious despot changed again, and the Catholic was sacrificed in the heretic’s place. Still he was the last victim, and Henry afterwards became even more hostile to Protestantism. Gardiner’s indictment states plainly that he was executed for endeavoring “to deprive the King of his dignity, title, and name of Supreme Head of the English and Irish Church“, and his constancy is further proved by this circumstance, that Thomas Haywood, who had been condemned with him, was afterwards pardoned on recanting his opinions. His other companions at the bar were Blessed John Larke, priest, whom Blessed Thomas More had presented to the rectory of Chelsea (when he himself lived in that parish), and also the Ven. John Ireland, who had once been More’s chaplain. They suffered the death of traitors at Tyburn.
J. H. POLLEN