Wolverhampton BTW

Jane Gardiner

Gardiner, Jane née Arden, 1758—1840

by Benjamin Colbert

Jane Arden was born in Beverley, Yorkshire, the daughter of John Arden, itinerant science lecturer. During her early years in Beverley she befriended her near contemporary Mary Wollstonecraft, a pupil of her father. As a young woman, she worked for a time as a governess, first for the family of Sir Mortdant Martin in Burnham, Norfolk, and then, from 1780, for that of Lord and Lady Ilchester in Redlynch, Somerset. Later she set up a 'Ladies Boarding School' with her sister Ann, first in Beverley and eventually in Eastgate, London.

She married a Mr. Gardiner in 1797 and began writing for children, her first book being The Young Ladies' English Grammar (2 vols, 1801) followed by An Excursion from London to Dover (1806) and A French Grammar (1808). An Excursion was cause for some controversy when John Evans (1767-1827; ODNB), author of The Juvenile Tourist (1804), accused 'Mrs. Jane Gardiner, of Elsham Hall' of plagiarising his book, in the preface to its 3rd edn (1809). Whether coincidentally or otherwise, Gardiner published no more after that date.


Gardiner, Everilda Anne. Recollections of a Beloved Mother. London, 1842. Print.

Todd, Janet. Mary Wollstonecraft: A Revolutionary Life. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2000. 14-18, 30-35. Print.

'Unpublished Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft'. Shelley and His Circle. Ed. K. N. Cameron. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1961. 2:933-38. Print.


Title Published
An Excursion from London to Dover 1806

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