Last name: Gardner
This interesting surname recorded as Garden and Gardyne, both metonymics for a gardner, and Gardener, Gardenner, Gardiner, Gardinor, Gairdnar, Gairner and Gardner, is of French origins. Recorded widely in England, Ireland, and Scotland, it is both a status and an occupational name, and relates to the head gardner of a noble or even royal house. Derived from the Northern French word "gardin" and introduced into the British Isles after the Norman Invasion of 1066, it is itself a diminutive of the pre 7th century Germanic word "gard", meaning an enclosure. The function of the "gardiniere" in medieval times was a very important one. He was responsible for the kitchen garden, which provided almost the only source of fresh food and herbs, and hence played a critical part in maintaining the health of the household. The use of the word "gardener" refers to one who tends ornamental lawns and flower beds, and is a later application. Interesting examples of early surname recordings include: William le Gardinier of the county of Rutland in 1199, William Gardin of Huntingdon in 1218, and John atte Gardyne of Sussex in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of that county in 1296. Later recordings include: Richard Gardiner, who was a seaman aboard the famous ship "Mayflower" which carried the Pilgrim Fathers to the New World in 1620, but it is understood that returned to England with the ship, and Peter Gardner actually emigrated to the Virginia Colony on the ship "Elizabeth of London" in 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of William del Gardin, in the charters of Oxford in 1183.
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