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George Gregory GARDINER (1806-1890)

Biographical Details

George Gregory Gardiner (1806-1890) was the father of Caroline Florence Mourilyan (née Gardiner), who was the sister-in-law of Eugénie Sladden (née Mourilyan).  He was also the minister at the church where the Mourilyans worshipped in Paris.

George Gardiner was born about 1806 in Bath, the son of John Gardiner.  He was educated at Bath Grammar School, Hyde Abbey School, Winchester, and Exeter College, Oxford, where he gained BA in 1827 and MA in 1830.  George took holy orders and for a time, was minister of the Octagon Chapel, Bath.

George married Catharine McClintock in 1831 at Clifton, Bristol, but Catharine died in June 1834 at Bath.  George married again on 9th April 1839 at St Andrew’s, Clifton, to Frances Mary Touchet.  They had seven sons and two daughters:  George Edward (1840-1897), Caroline Florence (1841-1922), Selena Harriet (1843-1918), John William (1844-1923), Henry R (1847-?), Charles Gregory (1848-1903), Frederic Evelyn (1850-1928), Francis Lionel (1851-1883) and Robert Septimus (1856-1939).

In 1851, the family moved to Bonn, Rheinland, Prussia, where George became the English chaplain.  In 1859 they moved to Paris as Reverend Gardiner had accepted a post as Chaplain of the English Protestant Chapel in Avenue Marboeuf.  This chapel had been built in 1844 at 10 Rue Marboeuf to replace an earlier building which had been established in 1824.  The chapel where the Gardiners worshipped was demolished in 1883; it was replaced by the present-day St George’s Anglican Church which was developed on a new site.

The Siege of Paris, which lasted from 19th September 1870 to 28th January 1871, put an end to the Gardiners’ time in Paris.  They left Paris in a hurry, shortly before the capture of the city by Prussian forces which led to French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and the establishment of the German Empire as well as the Paris Commune.

Returning to England, Reverend Gardiner was offered locum positions at Worcester and Plymouth.  At the time of the 1871 census, they were living in Chapel House, Princess Square, Plymouth.  George’s occupation was still given as “English Chaplain, Paris”.  Whilst it is likely that the Gardiner family as a whole remained in England, there is evidence that George returned to Paris for a short time as there is mention of him giving instruction to the young Eugénie Mourilyan and newspaper notices of weddings at the British Embassy in Paris in October 1871 indicate that Reverend Gardiner conducted at least two weddings.  Strangely, one of the weddings was that of Baron von Ziesegar and Susan Lardner who were to become the parents of Alice, his youngest son Robert’s future bride (Robert and Alice’s wedding took place in 1896, six years after Reverend Gardiner’s death).

In 1872 George Gardiner became Rector of St Leonards-on-Sea, a position he retained until his death.

Reverend Gardiner died at 31 Marina, St Leonards-on-Sea on 11th November 1890, aged 84.

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