Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gardner, Thomas

GARDNER, THOMAS (1690?–1769), historian of Dunwich, was ‘salt officer’ and deputy comptroller of the port of Southwold, Suffolk. He was an intelligent antiquary, made numerous local discoveries, and died possessed of large collections, of which the coins formed the most valuable portion. In 1745 he exhibited to the Society of Antiquaries ‘A true and exact platt, containing the boundaries of the town of Dunwich, and the entries of certain records and evidences, and some things now in variance made the 14th of March 1589, by Ralph Agas’ [q. v.] (Gough, British Topography, ii. 249). After much difficulty, occasioned by the loss of most of the town's records, Gardner published by subscription ‘An Historical Account of Dunwich, antiently a city, now a borough; Blithburgh, formerly a town of note, now a village; Southwold, once a village, now a Town-corporate; with remarks on some places contiguous thereto. … Illustrated with copperplates,’ 4to, London, 1754. Prefixed to some copies is a modernised version of Agas's plan by Joshua Kirby. Agas's report of the state of the town and harbour referred to above is printed from the original manuscript then in Gardner's possession at pp. 20–2. Gardner died 30 March 1769, aged 79 (Gent. Mag. xxxix. 215), and was buried in Southwold churchyard near the south aisle, between his two wives Rachel and Mary, with the following inscription:—

Betwixt honour and virtue here doth lie
The remains of old antiquity.

(Addit. MS. 19082, f. 305). Mackenzie Walcott erroneously says ‘his quaint epitaph records thus the names of his two wives’ (East Coast of England, p. 47; cf. Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. iv. 265–6). It refers to the lines on their tombs.

[Authorities as above.]

G. G.