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Gardiner, Sir Christopher

Sir Christopher Gardiner, fl. 1630–32, figure in the early history of the Massachusetts Bay colony. When the Puritans arrived in Massachusetts Bay in 1630, they found that Gardiner had preceded them. Although he was living with a woman who was not his wife, the colonists left him alone until it was discovered that he had deserted several wives in Europe and was an agent of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who claimed title to the land the Puritans occupied. Forced to leave, Gardiner went to Maine and then to England, where, in 1632, he was one of the leading witnesses before the privy council in Gorges's attempt to have the Massachusetts charter revoked. His career has provided inspiration for a number of literary works, particularly for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Rhyme of Sir Christopher" in Tales of a Wayside Inn.

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