Charlie Gardiner, Folksinger


Charlie Gardiner, Folksinger


Cecil James Sharp (22 November 1859 – 23 June 1924) was the founding father of the folklore revival in England in the early 20th century. Many of England's traditional dances and music owe their continuing existence to his work in recording and publishing them. He travelled extensively and painstakingly recorded folk songs for posterity.

One such journey took him to Oakridge where he collected two songs; 'George Ridler’s Oven' and 'The Outlandish Knight' from Charlie Gardiner.

Cecil Sharp visited Charlie Gardiner aged 73 at (Far?) Oakridge on 11 April 1911 when he sang George Ridler’s Oven and The Outlandish Knight.

Charles Gardiner was baptised at Bisley on 6 May 1838, the son of Benjamin and Fanny Gardiner. His family had lived for many years in the Oakridge Lynch area. The family name was usually spelled ‘Gardner’ until the 1860s.

His father, Benjamin, married Fanny Toles, a weaver, also from Oakridge Lynch on 2 November 1837 whilst working as a sawyer in Oakridge Lynch. Benjamin’s father was Giles Gardiner, also a weaver.

By 1841 Benjamin and Fanny had set up home in Avensis Green, Oakridge Lynch where Benjamin was working as an agricultural labourer and had two sons, Charles, and George born in 1840.

By 1851 Benjamin was still working as an agricultural labourer in Avensis Green, Fanny was working as a weaver and they had another son, John S. born about 1847. They then had a daughter, Harriett, baptised on 5 May 1853 and another son, William, baptised on 1 April 1854, both in Bisley.

By 1861 Charles, George and John were all working as labourers as was Benjamin and Fanny continued to work as a weaver. They also had living with them a 12 year old boarder, working as a silk thrower.

Charles Gardiner married Harriet Hunt, the daughter of John Hunt, a railway labourer, in Oakridge Lynch on 19 January 1862. Charles and Maria had a son, Alfred John, who was baptised 4 October 1863, then a daughter, Maria who was baptised on 1 September 1867 and a son, William, baptised on April 2 1871, all at Oakridge Lynch.

Alfred died early, at least by 1911. A further child, Charles, had been baptised on 30 March 1871 but probably died at birth.

In 1881 the family were living in the parish of Bisley. Charles was working as a general labourer and his children, Alfred and Maria, were both working as silk throwsters in the silk industry.

By 1891 Charles and Harriett were living in Oakridge Lynch where Charles was working as a woodcutter. His children, Maria and William, were still living at home when Maria was working as a dressmaker and William possibly as a bone worker.

By 1901 Charles was still working as a woodcutter but he and Harriett had separated and were living in different houses in Oakridge Lynch. Their children, Maria and William, were both living with Harriett, Maria continuing to work as a dressmaker at home and William working as a timber feller.

By 1911 Charles was still living in Avens Green and working as a wood cutter in woods and hedges. Harriett was still living separately in Oakridge Lynch and Maria and William were both still living with her, Maria working as a dressmaker and William as a timber feller.

Harriett Gardiner died and was buried in Oakridge on 18 July 1912. Charles Gardiner of died in Oakridge on 12 January 1913 when probate was given to Maria Gardiner and William Gardiner, timber feller. Charles and Harriet’s son, William, married Mary Ella Gardiner of Sapperton, the daughter of a carpenter, on 30 August 1913.

At the time he was working as a labourer. William Gardner died whilst still living at Oakridge Lynch on 19 November 1934 and a Mary E. Gardiner died in the Stroud registration district in 1930.

Notes by Carol Davies May 2015



Carol Davies


1. You can find out more about Cecil Sharp and his activities here

2. You can find out about the folksong 'George Ridler's Oven' here and here and hear excerpts here.

As you will read, the words have a secret meaning, well known to the members of the Gloucestershire Society, which was  founded in 1657 three years before the Restoration of Charles II. The Society consisted of Royalists, who combined together for the  purpose of restoring the Stuarts. 

3. You can find out about the folksong 'The Outlandish Knight' here and hear it here.


“Charlie Gardiner, Folksinger,” Oakridge Archives, accessed May 19, 2024,

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