The Full Wiki

More info on Charles Rainsford

Charles Rainsford: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charles Rainsford
3 February 1728 – 24 May 1809
Place of birth West Ham, Essex
Place of death 29 Soho Square, London
Resting place Tower of London
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Rank General

General Charles Rainsford (3 February 1728 – 24 May 1809) was a British Army officer.



He was the second son of alderman Francis Rainsford (died 1770) and his wife, Isabella and received his first education from a cleric friend of Francis's at Great Clacton. His uncle, also Charles Rainsford (died 1778), was deputy lieutenant of the Tower of London and used his influence to get him made second cornet in General Bland's 3rd dragoons in March 1744, a unit at that time active in the Flanders theatre of the War of the Austrian Succession. Rainsford joined it immediately, carrying its standard at Fontenoy and soon after being appointed ensign in the Coldstream Guards. With his new unit he returned to England to face the Jacobite rising, rising to major of brigade and colonel's aide-de-camp. He then served as private secretary to Tyrawley, governor of Gibraltar (1756–7) before returning to England again in 1760. The following year he was given a company to command under Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick in Germany, before re-joining Tyrawley as aide-de-camp, brigadier-general and chief engineer in 1762 to face the threatened Spanish invasion of Portugal. Ordered home in 1763, with promotion second major in the Grenadier Guards and equerry to William, duke of Gloucester (1766–80), he commanded the army detachment at the king's bench prison at Southwark after the May 1768 riot.

He also served as MP for Maldon (1772–74) until his patron William Nassau de Zuylestein, 4th Earl of Rochford's nephew and heir was elected. He also held Bere Alston (1787–88) thanks to help from Algernon Percy, Lord Lovaine (brother of Hugh Percy, 2nd Duke of Northumberland), leaving it over the Regency Bill, with Lovaine backing the government, but Gloucester and Northumberland opposing it. He was rewarded by Northumberland with Newport, Cornwall (1790–96), before leaving parliament. He had taken little part in parliamentary proceedings, serving at the same time as governor of Chester (1776–96), king's aide-de-camp (1777–82), commander of the troops stationed in Hyde Park and then Blackheath against the Gordon Riots (1780) and nominal commander of the Minorca garrison (1782, though it surrendered to the Spanish before he arrive to take up the post). He was also elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1779 (he was also a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, a Rosicrucian, a freemason and a dabbler in alchemy). He was then sent to be Robert Boyd's second-in-command at Gibraltar on the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, and took over after Boyd's death as Governor (1794–95). On his return to England he became governor of Cliff Fort, Tynemouth, his last active posting. On his death in London in 1809 he was buried in a vault in the chancel of the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London, alongside his first wife, his father and his uncle Charles.

Marriages and issue

  1. on 18 July 1775 Elizabeth (1758–1781), daughter of Edward Miles
  2. on 16 February 1789, Ann Cornwallis (d. 1 February 1798), youngest daughter of Sir William More Molyneux of Loseley Park, Guildford - the marriage remained childless.

He and Elizabeth had three children:

  • Colonel William Henry Rainsford (bap. 1776, d. 1823)
  • Julia Anne
  • Josephina, baptised with Sir Joseph Yorke as godfather, died in infancy


His nearly forty volumes of manuscript are now held by the British Library.

External links

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
John Bullock and John Huske
Member of Parliament for
Maldon, with John Bullock

Succeeded by
John Strutt and John Savage Nassau
Preceded by
Viscount Feilding and Earl of Mornington
Member of Parliament for
Bere Alston, with Viscount Feilding

Succeeded by
Viscount Feilding and John Mitford
Preceded by
Sir John Riggs Miller and William Mitford
Member of Parliament for
Newport, with Viscount Feilding

Succeeded by
William Northey and Joseph Richardson
Military offices
Preceded by
George Augustus Eliott
Commander-in-Chief, Ireland
Succeeded by
John Burgoyne
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Robert Boyd
Governor of Gibraltar
Succeeded by
Charles O'Hara


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address