Julian James Gardner: A farmer from UP is claimant to baron title

KASGANJ: 75-year-old Julian James Gardner is a direct descendant of Colonel William Linnaeus Gardner, who came to India in the late 18th century.

Referred to as ‘angrez’ by the rustic villagers, Julian practices farming, rears poultry and cattle with a small landholding at Soron in Kasganj, some 140 km away from Agra.

Belongs to an Anglo-Indian family, Julian have a good legacy and lived with a dream — to see his family being recognised as the rightful claimant of the barony of Uttoxeter in Britain.

“Although I have the documents to prove my case, I don’t have the cash or resources to pursue legal proceedings and engage lawyers (to fight the case through the committee of privileges at Westminster). I have never been to London. My home has always been Kasganj,” says Julian to Times OF India.

“Our ancestors owned property till Dadri close to Ghaziabad border, but over time, the land shrunk to a couple of acres. Today, we live a humble but peaceful life,” says the patriarch.

Author William Dalrymple, who spent a day with the family in 2003 while researching his book ‘White Mughals’ convinced of the genuineness of the family’s claims.

When TOI sought his views on the Gardner family, in an email response, Dalrymple replied that Julian “really does seem to be the legitimate claimant (to the barony).” “It’s a remarkable story,” he added.