St John's Church
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More explanation of Sir Robert Gardener’s tomb in St John’s Church, Elmswell
I have checked up on the arms of Sir Robert Gardener which are:-
There are many different branches of the Gardener family with different arms and different crests, and so he could well have chosen a rhino to be different from all of them because arms relate to one individual, not a family.
It is always difficult knowing why someone chooses a particular animal or other charge for their arms unless there is a pun on their name (e.g. Shakespeare has a spear) or some obvious connection with their history or profession. I have checked Gardener's life and can't see any obvious connection with rhinos and their country of origin: perhaps he just liked the animal and its history and the mystery surrounding the properties of its horn. There is also the point that there were numbers of people applying for grants of arms in the late Tudor period, and as so many knights and others already had chosen lions, these new applicants often turned to the Bestiaries to find more exotic animals, e.g. the griffin.
Hope this helps, let me know if another explanation comes to light.
Best wishes. Chloë Cockerill, 21st April 2015
Article dated 1872 - 3 pages in .pdf format
White's 1874 directory had this to say...THE CHURCH (St. John), consisting of nave, aisles, chancel, and a fine tower containing five bells, stands on a commanding eminence. It was thoroughly restored, and a new north aisle waa built in 1872, at an expense of about £1500, raised by subscriptions and by local efforts. The south aisle was rebuilt in 1862, at a cost of about £500, defrayed by rate and subscription. The chancel was beautified in 1864, solely at the expense of the Rev. W. H. C. Luke, the present rector. The tower was repaired by Mrs. Blakely, in memory of her first husband, Captain Long. The east window, which is of stained glass, was inserted by Mrs. Connell, an aunt of the rector's, to the memory of several deceased members of her family. In the church is a good organ, presented by the rector in 1864, and in the south aisle a carved oak screen in a tolerable state of preservation. There is a matrix of a fine floriated brass cross to a former rector in the south chantry. It contains an elegant mural monument in memory of Sir Robert Gardiner, Kt., who was Chief Justice of Ireland 18 years, and died in 1619, aged 80. The figure of Sir Robert, nearly as large as life, and well executed, is in a recumbent posture, and his son is represented as kneeling at his feet.
Kelly's 1916 directory had this to say...The church of St. John the Divine, erected by the monks of Bury and situated on an eminence, is an edifice of local flint with stone dressings,in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, vestry, nave, aisles, porch and an embattled western tower containing 5 bells, two of which, however, are cracked: the base and angles of the tower , which was restored in 1913, and the porch exhibit fine flint work in various devices: in the church is a monument to Sir Robert Gardiner, a benefactor to the parish: the chancel was almost entirely rebuilt in 1864: the north aisle was built in 1867, and a short time previous to this the nave was repaired and fitted with an open timber roof and oak benches: the octagonal font is of the Decorated period: the pulpit and carved litany desk, both of oak, were presented by W.Luke esq.: the wrought iron, screen, with gates separating the chancel from the nave, was erected in 1864 by the then rector as a memorial to his parents, to whom there is also a mural brass: the nave was restored in 1911; the walls were decorated in colour in 1884 and several memorial windows have been erected: the church affords about 300 sittings. In the churchyard are the remains of an ancient cross. The register dates from the year 1553.
1. St John's Church .. Full size