The Rainborowes: One Family’s Quest to Build a New England
In The Rainborowes, acclaimed historian Adrian Tinniswood tells the story of this all-but-forgotten clan for the very first time, showing how the family bridged two worlds as they struggled to build a godly community for themselves and their kin. The Rainborowes’ patriarch, William, was a shipmaster and merchant whose taste for adventure and profit drew him into the expanding transatlantic traffic between England and its colonies in the New World. Eventually two of his daughters settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, marrying into the upper echelons of New England society. Back in England, meanwhile, William Rainborowe’s sons threw themselves behind the English parliament in its rebellion against King Charles I. So, too, did many New World settlers, who returned to England to fight for the parliamentary cause. When the monarchy was restored in 1660, many of these revolutionaries quit their homeland for New England, where their dreams of liberty and equality were much closer to being realized.
Following the Rainborowes from hectic London shipyards to remote Aegean islands, from the muddy streets of Boston to the battles of the English Civil War, Tinniswood reveals the indelible marks they left on America and England—and the profound and irrevocable changes these thirty years had on the family and their fellow Englishmen in Europe and America. A feat of historical reporting, The Rainborowes spans oceans and generations to show how the American identity was forged in the crucible of England’s bloody civil war.
senior commanders were worried at the turn events were taking. On Monday, November 8, when the agitators turned up expecting a free debate on the question of whether it was safe to leave the king with any powers at all, an angry Cromwell repeated his conviction that the widening of the franchise “did tend very much to anarchy” and threatened to withdraw his agreement to it. Officers and agitators were sent back to their regiments. The council was adjourned.8 Then everything changed. On the
the army marched into London on Saturday, December 2.7 Early on the following Wednesday, Thomas Pride’s regiment of foot and Nathaniel Rich’s regiment of horse took up positions in Palace Yard, while the regiments of Hardress Waller and John Hewson patrolled the neighboring streets. Pride stood on the steps with Sir Hardress Waller and Lord Grey of Groby, an MP who shared the radicals’ views on prosecuting King Charles. Pride had with him a list of about 180 MPs whose interests did not coincide
grieved that they do not come that I am almost out of heart,” William wrote to the Admiralty in London.1 But help was at hand and from an unexpected source. When the fleet arrived in Sallee Road, the simmering tension between the followers of Muhammad al-Ayyashi in Old Sallee and the pirates across the Bou Regreg in New Sallee had just erupted into open conflict. Al-Ayyashi, whom the English called “the Saint,” was determined to oust the Hornacheros from their citadel on the south bank at New
the Sea of Marmora carrying goods for the Levant Company, which had a monopoly on the trade. Bales of West Country cloth, dyed bright red, violet, burgundy, or green, which were sought after all over the Ottoman Empire, had to travel in company ships, or the merchant would have to pay a prohibitive 20 percent surcharge. So did the return cargoes: Persian silks, Turkish mohairs, and currants from the Greek islands. Old Thomas Rainborowe’s status as a ship owner needs a little qualification. He
kept in the garrisons, and are to be employed in the service of Ireland, [would] be forthwith disbanded.”3 At the beginning of April 1647, the London press reported that Colonel Thomas Sheffield’s regiment of horse, in which William Rainborowe was still serving as captain, was to be disbanded. A week later Parliament announced that it had accepted Colonel Sheffield’s offer to take his regiment to Ireland instead. But many officers and most of the common soldiers were less than enthusiastic at