Wyton is a small hamlet about one mile to the East of Bilton in the East Riding of Yorkshire. In the nineteenth century it became a popular residence for merchants and professionals seeking to escape the deteriorating urban landscape of Hull. William Raines was one of these professionals, and he owned for many years Wyton Lodge. However, unlike his neighbours, his family had been landowners in Wyton since at least the early seventeenth century (Pevsner & Neave, York and the East Riding, pp.78, 325).
William Raines came from a junior branch of a family that could trace its Yorkshire heritage back to William Raines of West Newton whose will is dated 1487. This William Raines' son, Anthony of West Newton, had one child by his first wife and at least five by his second, the eldest of whom was his son, William (d.1565). William Raines's son and heir, Lawrence (d.1583) seems to have been the first to own lands in Sproatley. He had at least six children, all living in Aldborough and Sproatley. His fourth son, William, was a minor when he died and became ward to the Constables of Burton Constable in the East Riding. William Raines died in 1631, his eldest three sons having predeceased him. His fourth son, Henry, seems to have been the first to live at Wyton in the early seventeenth century. His son, also Henry (d.1660) was the first to start the family tradition of being buried in Bilton church, though no monument now remains (DDCV/204/23; East Yorkshire Family History Society, Bilton).
Henry Raines was the common ancestor of the senior line of the Raines family and the William Raines whose papers form this collection through his eldest son, Henry Raines (1681-1747), and second son, John Raines (1690-1752). The latter married Ann Wilkinson and had at least seven children. He and his wife are both buried at Bilton. Their eldest surviving son to have a male child was William Raines, who was a captain in the East Yorkshire Militia (see DDCV/204/60-6; DDCV/204/23; East Yorkshire Family History Society, Bilton).
This William Raines was born in 1737. He married Ann Caley of Doncaster (1751-1781) and died in 1798. They are also both buried at Bilton. Their only child, William, was born in 1771. He married first Fanny (Franciscae) Brownely (b.1779) and by her had two sons and two daughters. She died prematurely from tuberculosis in 1807 and William Raines then married Agnes Grace Dawson who outlived him (d.1846). Their only child died young. William Raines died in 1833; he, his two wives and infant daughter are all buried in Bilton. His eldest son by Fanny, William Raines (b.1800), studied law and became a barrister at Lincoln's Inn before returning to the East Riding. He became a judge in the county courts and died unmarried in 1874. The papers in the collection were deposited with solicitors as a result of his death without issue. William Raines left his personal estate between three male friends and relations including Thomas Perronet Edward Thompson. He left legacies to servants and female relatives and his real estate he left in the hands of trustees to provide annuities to various sisters, cousins and female members of the family. A personal legacy of £100 plus an annuity of £150 per annum went to Maria Elizabeth Harvey of 17 Portsea Place, Connaught Square in London (DDCV/204/23; DDCV(2)/62/2; East Yorkshire Family History Society, Bilton).