Stephen Gardiner (1483-1555) became bishop of Winchester in 1531 and held the position until 1551, when he was replaced by John Ponet because of Gardiner’s resistance to the religious changes being made during Edward VI’s reign. Mary restored Gardiner to the see of Winchester when she took the throne in 1553. Gardiner spent much of his time in London, especially when Lord Chancellor under Queen Mary, but at his death in 1555 he was buried in Winchester Cathedral.
The bishops of Winchester had two Hampshire residences, both of them grand houses built by bishop Henry of Blois in the twelfth century. Wolvesey Palace was located just to the east of Winchester Cathedral, while the other house provided a rural retreat nine miles to the southeast of Winchester at Bishop’s Waltham. Gardiner’s household accounts covering the period from 1546 to 1551 pertain to both Hampshire houses, as well as to the bishop of Winchester’s great London house on the south bank of the Thames, near the future site of The Globe. A reward to the king’s minstrel and expenses on musical instruments indicates that Gardiner enjoyed secular musical entertainment in addition to liturgical music.