Margaret (Fryer) Gardner

Margaret (Fryer) Gardner (abt. 1598)

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Margaret Gardner formerly Fryer aka Friar, Frier
Born about in Sherborne, Dorset, Englandmap
Daughter of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Wife of — married 28 Apr 1617 in Sherborne, Dorset, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died [date unknown] in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts Baymap
Profile last modified 23 Mar 2020 | Created 29 Jul 2014
This page has been accessed 1,657 times.
The Puritan Great Migration.
Margaret (Fryer) Gardner migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
Join: Puritan Great Migration Project
Discuss: pgm

Please refer to Edit Notes (below) with respect to presenting a cohesive view of what we know of Margaret.



Margaret Frier was baptised 25 June 1598 in Sherborne, Dorset. No parents name given.[1]

A Walter Friar and Grace Mullins married in Sherborne in the right time frame to be her parents. (See image from Dorset record office)
There is no evidence to suggest she was daughter of Margaret Merritt.

She married Thomas Gardiner there in 1617.[2]

She probably died shortly after the 1636 birth of her last child.

Research Notes

Disputed Origins

From The American Genealogist, volume 30 (1953), p 156:

"The surname Friar appears to have been first stated in print by the Rev. Joseph B. Felt, well over a century ago. Neither Dr. Gardner nor Mr. Moriarty was ever successful in finding Mr. Felt's evidence; but it would be well not to reject the possibility that Friar (or a variant) is right until we can either prove that the true name was something else or explain how the error arose."

And even if her maiden name was Friar (of whatever spelling variant), there is no documentation of her parents. Possibilities that need confirmation through solid documentation include:


"B. Margaret Friar: This is the name many times stated to have been that of that earlier wife of Thomas(1) Gardner whose existence is demonstrable from the allusion in his will, dated 7 Dec. 1668, probated 29 March 1675 [Essex Wills, file 301:62: Probate Records, 2:423], to his then wife Damaris, "mother-in-law" of the sons. Damaris was the Widdow Shattock who joined First Church, Salem, 2 July 1641. When the earlier wife died and the second marriage took place are unknown, but Damaris died on 28 Nov 1674, a month before Thomas(1) Gardner died in 29 Dec 1675. Thomas(1) Gardner's name appears fifteenth on the covenant of First Church, signed 6 of 6th month 1629, and a woman named Margaret Gardener is the next member of the family to join on "1639-24-1" [24 Mar 1639/40?]. On "15-10" in the same year, in any case later than the date of Margaret's admission, the name of Tho. Gardener Junyr appears. Though he was by this year certainly old enough to be married, and it is possible that Margaret was his wife, the baptisms of his children do not start until 28 Jan. 1643/4, so I am inclined to agree with Dr. Gardner and Mr. Moriarty that Margaret was actually the name of the earlier wife of Thomas(1) Gardner."


  1. Dorset History Centre; Dorchester, England; Dorset Parish Registers. 1598 June 25 Margaret Friar bapts (Ancestry has her indexed for some reason as Margaret Lalane)
  2. Dorset History Centre; Dorchester, England; Dorset Parish Registers; Sherborne combined register, Reference: PE/SH:RE1/1: 1617: 28 Thomas Gardiner et Margarete Frier nuptia



Also, see Edit Notes at Thomas Gardner. As well, we will expand this Edit Notes section for Margaret as we go along. This section will disappear after Profile work is accomplished. However, we will have notes appended to Research Notes with respect to pending research and updates.

Supporting material

  • Starting with proposed parents for Margaret - Marriage of Walter Friar and Grace Mullins. His will (1610) mentions Margaret among his children. This was before the Gardner marriage (unfortunately). However, someone saw the Thomas and Margaret connection 200 years ago (which New England researchers heard about).
  • See Sherborne focus page for a list of the images (currently, snips/snaps, soon the whole image) that will support the coming changes.

Pending changes

Like we will do with respect to pending changes at the Thomas Gardner page, we will itemize pending changes here.

  • For each of those snaps on the right side (above) that were taken from images at Sherborne's repository, there is the full picture. These were retrieved from (we need to get the reference address). My ancestry account does not, currently, have access to their images (will turn it on - unless someone looks for these and gets the URL). We do not want to make a copy here.
  • ...

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Comments: 19

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The alleged mother Elizabeth died in 1685. I she were really old say b. 1585, she would not be old enough to have this daughter b. 1598. Savage "speculated" that Margaret might be Thomas' sister, which is at least logical, although still speculation. I am highly in favor of disconnecting from these parents.
posted by Anne B
I set the 'uncertain' button as I cannot remove the parents.

We have a better alternative that needs a little more scrutiny.

posted by John M. Switlik
edited by John M. Switlik
Ok thanks, As long as I know nobody minds, I can remove them. Will wait to make sure nobody on Thomas end minds.
posted by Anne B
Margaret is PP, but it looks like there's agreement that her parents should be removed.
posted by M Cole
2nd thanks. I hadn't noticed that Thomas Fryer was in Savage's material.

The will of Walter Friar (image attached here) does have a Thomas as his son.

Margaret is mentioned, as well, but this is before the marriage to Thomas Gardner.

posted by John M. Switlik
Isaac, It has the 'uncertain' button turned on.

Changes are pending. Walter and Grace have more pull. There is a will, albeit before the Thomas Gardner marriage.

posted by John M. Switlik
What are we to make of the fact her bio currently includes this statement:

"Also removed as suggested parents Thomas Friar and Elizabeth Merritt"

And yet, those people are currently linked as her parents?

Which is it?


posted by Isaac Taylor
We do not know Margaret's death date, at this time. Findagrave ought to point back to this WikiTree work for the couple. I put in a suggestion to that effect to the FAG record keeper. Thank you.
posted by John M. Switlik
Marked as false suggestion, FAG is a guess.
posted by Bobbie (Madison) Hall
Dear Project manager, Please note there is a Suggestion that needs your attention! Thanks.

posted by Paula (Hawkins) Reinke
So we don't lose this link.

Should all of the children of Thomas Gardner-159 be detached from his second wife, Margaret ___?

I am wondering if John Gardner of Hingham is the John born in Sherborne, Dorset in December of 1624. After looking a little further, I will start a G2G.

posted by John M. Switlik
Fryer-892 and Unknown-197698 appear to represent the same person because: same person; please merge.

28 Thomas Gardiner et Margarete Frier nuptia Dorset History Centre; Dorchester, England; Dorset Parish Registers; Sherborne combined register, Reference: PE/SH:RE1/1

There are Friers, in the town prior to this but didn't spot a Margaret

found. 1598 June 25 Margaret Friar bapts (Ancestry has her indexed for some reason as Margaret Lalane) same ref as above.

She is unlikely to have a mother born in Sussex

posted by Helen (Coleman) Ford
Her LNAB is not in accordance with wikitree policies. We need a single spelling, not two.

Also, what is the "LRD" notation in her name?

And... can we find better sources? (There seem to be several on the profile of her husband.)


posted by Jillaine Smith
Data note: USA too early in death place.
posted by L Sauls

Margaret is 16 degrees from Donald Howard, 10 degrees from Julia Howe and 11 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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Categories: Puritan Great Migration