Reference NumberP/TRY
TitleLease of property on Wapping Wall by Robert Thornton to Thomas and Martha Raynboroughe
DescriptionScope and Content
This collection consists of an assignment of a lease by Robert Thornton, citizen and barber surgeon of London, to Thomas Raynboroughe, mariner of Wapping, and his wife Martha.

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Extent1 document
AdminHistoryThomas Raynboroughe (d. 1622) and wife Martha More (d. 1631) were married in Whitechapel in 1582. Thomas was not only a mariner; he also owned shares in merchant vessels, a sixteenth part in three (the Barbara Constance, Liley and Rainbow) and a forty-eighth part in the Royal Exchange. Most if not all of these vessels were engaged in the Levant trade. By the time of his death he had moved to Greenwich, and had income from property in Essex.

Thomas and wife are chiefly remembered because of their descendants. Their eldest son William (1587-1642) became a sea captain in the Levant trade; he successfully resisted attackers on his trading voyages and was appointed to lead the naval expedition against the Sale (Moroccan) privateers in 1637. A peace treaty was concluded, about 350 captives released, and Charles I rewarded Thomas. His proposal in 1638 to attack Algiers was not taken up. His long association with Trinity House (he had been Master 1633-1634) continued - he was a founder of the poor seaman's fund, administered by Trinity House, in 1638; and his maritime expertise was drawn on by the House of Commons when he became MP for Aldeburgh, Suffolk, from 1640 until his death.

William married a daughter of Rowland Coytmore (another Wapping mariner and ship owner, of the Virginia and East India Companies), who died very young, and he then married Judith Hoxton, daughter of a Wapping shipwright. While William was a man of note in Britain and the Mediterranean, his family - there were grown children from both his marriages - had a yet more diverse, and transatlantic, significance.

The most striking figure was his eldest son Thomas, whose short life included trading with the Turkey Company, activity in the Parliamentary navy from 1642 (and a brief period as Vice Admiral), daring soldiering in many Civil War engagements, and eloquent radicalism as a Leveller. He was killed in a bungled kidnap attempt by some cavaliers in 1648. He was one of the most vivid actors in the English Revolution...and in death became the most prominent of the Leveller martyrs. (Source: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography).

William's daughter Martha (?1617-1660) married firstly Thomas Coytmore, a sea captain, and they sailed for Massachusetts in 1636. Coytmore continued to sail the Atlantic and died in a wreck off Cadiz in 1645. In 1647 Martha remarried, becoming the fourth and last wife of the governor of Massachusetts John Winthrop (1588-1649). He had led the emigration to Massachusetts in 1630 and 'was more responsible than any other individual for the character of its institutions' (Source: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography). He was almost 60 when he married Martha, and he died less than two years afterwards.

This was not the only North American link in the family of William Rainborow. No less than four of the six children who lived to adulthood spent years in New England. Besides Martha, there was her older brother William junior, who having spent 1639-1642 in Charlestown went back to England to fight as a Parliamentary officer. He was an extremist like Thomas and became a Ranter, eventually returning to New England after February 1661 and was last known at Boston in 1673. A younger sister Judith (b. 1642) married Stephen Winthrop (1619-1658), a son of Governor John, and accompanied him to Boston in 1643; they returned to England in 1648. Lastly, the youngest brother Edward, a shadowy figure, had spent some time in New England by the 1670s.

Source: this background was supplied on deposit. For more detail see:

K. R. Andrews, 'Ships, Money and Politics: Seafaring and Naval Enterprise in the Reign of Charles I', 1991, p. 173;
A. Tinniswood, 'The Rainborowe?', 2013, pp. 8-14, 22, 38, 138-39, 187, 257, 327-28, 337, 404 etc;
N. A. M. Rodger, 'The Safeguard of the Sea. A naval history of Britain I', 1997, pp. 385-425;
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) entries for Thomas and William Rainborow, and John Winthrop.
Merchant ships
Wharves in Tower Hamlets
Maritime history
ArchNoteCatalogued by Richard Wiltshire, 13 August 2021
Access StatusOpen
RequestNO - This does not represent a physical document. Please click on the reference number and view list of records to find material available to order at file or item level.


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