Gardiner, Stephen

Gardiner, Stephen, 1493?–1555, English prelate. He was educated at Cambridge. He became secretary to Thomas (later Cardinal) Wolsey and later secured the favor of Henry VIII by a mission to Rome to further the king's plans for divorce from Katharine of Aragón. He was made bishop of Winchester (1531) and wrote De vera obedientia (1535), justifying the royal supremacy in ecclesiastical affairs. Thomas Cromwell's fall was in part due to him, and he was the probable author of the Six Articles (1539), which reaffirmed the king's adherence to medieval church doctrines as against those of the Reformation. After the accession of Edward VI he was deprived of his bishopric and put in the Tower of London for five years. When Mary I came to the throne, he was restored to his see and made lord high chancellor. Gardiner was condemned by Catholics for his support of royal supremacy and by Protestants for his opposition to Reformation doctrines.

See J. A. Muller, Stephen Gardiner and the Tudor Reaction (1926, repr. 1970).

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