NEW YORK -- Robert David Lion Gardiner, the 16th lord of the manor of Gardiners Island, a private island east of Long Island, died at his home in East Hampton yesterday, He was 93.
Mr. Gardiner's title came from a hereditary royal land grant dating back more than 360 years to England's King Charles I, who gave the island to Lion Gardiner, Mr. Gardiner's ancestor, in 1639 as a reward for defeating the Pequots.
The island was a pirate stopover in the 17th and 18th centuries and provided a home to the buried treasure of pirates including Captain William Kidd.
Gardiners Island is 7 miles long and 3 miles across and includes more than 1,000 acres of forest and 1,000 more of meadow and wetlands. It's the largest privately owned island in the country, Gardiner family spokeswoman Jeanne Toomey said.
Mr. Gardiner had no children and spent more than 20 years battling with a niece, Alexandra Gardiner Creel, and her husband, who shared access to the island with him and stand to inherit it. The dispute was about the island's future and conditions of a family trust, which owns the island.
Mr. Gardiner feared that his niece would sell the island to developers upon his death, although she has said she intends to preserve it.
Mr. Gardiner leaves his wife, Eunice.