Civil War Collections II-IV: Miscellaneous Notes and Extracts

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 Eng MSS 234-236
  • Dates of Creation
      19th Century
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      various sizes. 3 volumes (196 folios, 296 folios, 198 folios);

Scope and Content

Transcripts, extracts, and notes, chiefly relating to the Civil War in the North of England. MS 235  largely concerns William Rainborow.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Rainborow (bap. 1587, d. 1642), naval officer, was baptized at St Mary's, Whitechapel, on 11 June 1587. By 1618 he was sailing to the Mediterranean for the Levant Company. From his father he inherited shares in a number of merchant ships and in or before 1625 was made an elder brother of Trinity House. Shortly afterwards he became co-owner and master of the Sampson, a heavily armed merchantman of 500 tons, newly built at Limehouse, which he regularly commanded on voyages for the Levant Company to and from Constantinople, sometimes carrying English diplomats.

His contribution to the ship money fleets reflected Rainborow's determination to make the most of an overdue opportunity to rally England's maritime resources in the interests of its seafaring community. In 1635 he was Lindsey's flag captain, and bolstered the royal fleet by supplying both the Sampson and the Royal Exchange on charter as part of the contingent from the City of London. Northumberland selected him as flag captain in 1636. At the end of the year Rainborow played a full part in Northumberland's detailed inquiry into the fleet's most serious deficiencies. He was among the founders of a poor seaman's fund, to be administered by Trinity House, in September 1638, and in 1639 proposed a scheme for arming colliers as support craft for a great army. Rainborow died about 12 February 1642, and was buried on 17 February in St John's Chapel, Wapping.

Source: Brian Quintrell, 'Rainborow, William (bap. 1587, d. 1642)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press -