|Died||29 October 1648 38) (aged|
|Resting place||St. John's Church, Wapping, London|
|Occupation||Parliamentarian, Soldier, Leveller, Politician|
|Known for||Political radicalism Levellers|
Vice-Admiral Thomas Rainsborough (6 July 1610 – 29 October 1648), or Rainborowe, was a prominent figure in the English Civil War and the leading spokesman for the Levellers in the Putney Debates.
He was the son of William Rainsborough, a captain and Vice-Admiral in the Royal Navy, and ambassador to Morocco (for his services to end white slavery he was offered a baronetcy, which he declined).Before the war, Thomas and his brother, William Rainsborowe, were both involved in an expedition to the Puritan Providence Island colony, off the coast of Nicaragua and the Rainsborough family had previous marriage links to Massachusetts. Thomas Rainsborough was devout in his religious beliefs and was a Fifth Monarchist.
Rainsborough served in the Parliamentary forces during both the first and second English Civil Wars. Originally a naval officer he commanded the Swallow, the Lion and other English naval vessels during the first civil war. By May 1645, he was a Colonel in the New Model Army having raised an infantry regiment. Rainsborough took an active part in the battles at Naseby and Bristol. In 1645 he captured the symbolic stronghold of Berkeley Castle for Parliament before moving to the siege of Oxford, which surrendered the following June. Later in 1646, he helped conclude the Siege of Worcester and was made the city's governor.
In 1648 Rainsborough was moved from the army and given, by Parliament, command of the navy, holding the rank of Vice-Admiral. His appointment was unpopular with both officers and sailors, resulting in a mutiny (and declaration for the King) of six ships on 27 May 1648.In the same year he briefly replaced the Royalist sympathiser William Batten as Captain of Deal Castle, but was dismissed when the castle also declared for the King. Despite his previous experience, Rainsborough was viewed by the navy as being too radical and having been imposed on them by the army. As a result of the mutiny the Earl of Warwick was appointed Lord High Admiral, with Rainsborough returning to the army. On his return to the army, Rainsborough led the siege and victory at Colchester. From Colchester he was tasked with taking Pontefract Castle and it was during this siege he was killed.
In January 1647, Rainsborough became a member of parliament for Droitwich, Worcestershire, England.
Rainsborough was the most senior member of the Army Council to support the Leveller proposals. During the Putney Debates his arguments for universal suffrage were called 'anarchy' by Henry Ireton, who spoke for the Army Grandees.During the debates, Rainsborough famously said:
I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he; and therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear, that every man that is to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government; and I do think that the poorest man in England is not bound in a strict sense to that government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
In October 1648, Rainsborough was sent by his commander, Sir Thomas Fairfax, to the siege at Pontefract Castle. Whilst he was in nearby Doncaster, he was killed by four Royalists during a bungled kidnap attempt. The site is still marked today by a plaque outside of the House of Fraser. As Rainsborough was under Cromwell's disfavour and there were tensions between Rainsborough and the commander he was displacing, Henry Cholmeley, who later defected to the Royalists, many at the time wondered whether there was some Parliamentary complicity in his death, as do historians today.However Royalist Propaganda may also have played a part in all the rumours. The four Royalists involved in the bungled kidnap crossed the River Don at Mexborough and hid out at Conisborough Castle before their failed attempt.
His murder was the subject of a ballad, published in 1648 called "Colonell Rainsborowes ghost or, a true relation of the manner of his death, who was murthered in his bed-chamber at Doncaster, by three of Pontefract souldiers who pretended that they had letters from Lieutenant General Cromwell, to deliver unto him."
His funeral was the occasion for a large Leveller-led demonstration in London, with thousands of mourners wearing the Levellers' ribbons of sea-green and bunches of rosemary for remembrance in their hats. He was buried in St John's Churchyard, Wapping. After his death, his brother, William Rainsborowe, continued in the Ranter cause.
In May 2013 a plaque was unveiled by Cllr Rania Khan, John Rees (writer) and Tony Benn (former MP) in memory of Rainsborough at St John's, Wapping.
Rainsborough is portrayed by Michael Fassbender in the Channel 4 drama The Devil's Whore .
He plays a minor but crucial role in the historical novel Traitor's Field, by Robert Wilton, published in 2013.
The Levellers were a political movement during the English Civil War (1642–1651) committed to popular sovereignty, extended suffrage, equality before the law and religious tolerance. The hallmark of Leveller thought was its populism, as shown by its emphasis on equal natural rights, and their practice of reaching the public through pamphlets, petitions and vocal appeals to the crowd.
Henry Ireton was an English general in the Parliamentary army during the English Civil War, the son-in-law of Oliver Cromwell.
Sir Charles Lucas was an English soldier, a Royalist commander in the English Civil War.
Ferdinando Fairfax, 2nd Lord Fairfax of Cameron MP was an English nobleman and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1614 and 1648. He was a commander in the Parliamentary army in the English Civil War.
PontefractCastle is a castle ruin in the town of Pontefract, in West Yorkshire, England. King Richard II is thought to have died there. It was the site of a series of famous sieges during the 17th-century English Civil War.
The Second English Civil War (1648–1649) was the second of three civil wars known collectively as the English Civil War, which refers to the series of armed conflicts and political machinations which took place between Parliamentarians and Royalists from 1642 until 1651 and also include the First English Civil War (1642–1646) and the Third English Civil War (1649–1651), all of which were part of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.
The Putney Debates were a series of discussions among the increasingly dominant New Model Army – a number of the participants being Levellers – concerning the makeup of a new constitution for Britain.
The Corkbush Field Mutiny occurred on 15 November 1647, during the early stages of the Second English Civil War at the Corkbush Field rendezvous, when soldiers were ordered to sign a declaration of loyalty to Thomas Fairfax, the commander-in-chief of the New Model Army (NMA), and the Army Council. When some refused to do this they were arrested, and one of the ringleaders, Private Richard Arnold, was executed.
Colonel Robert Lilburne (1613–1665) was the older brother of John Lilburne, the well known Leveller. Unlike his brother, who severed his relationship with Oliver Cromwell, Robert Lilburne remained in the army. He is also classed as a regicide for having been a signatory to the death warrant of King Charles I in 1649. He was forty-seventh of the fifty nine Commissioners.
Major-General Robert Overton was a prominent English soldier and scholar, who supported the Parliamentary cause during the English Civil War, and was imprisoned a number of times during the Protectorate and the English Restoration for his strong republican views.
The Sealed Knot is a British historical association and charity, with many members from outside the United Kingdom, dedicated to costumed reenactment of battles and events surrounding the English Civil War.
Thomas Rawton was one of the highest-ranking officers to support the Levellers, and served with Parliament on both land and sea. He was the eldest son of Captain John Rawton, a naval officer who made his fortune in the Baltic trade, and inherited his father's property in the London Borough of Southwark.
Major William Rainsborowe, or Rainborowe, was an officer in the English Navy and New Model Army in England during the English Civil War and the Interregnum. He was a political and religious radical who prospered during the years of the Parliamentary ascendancy and was an early settler of New England in North America.
Rainsborough, or spelling variations, may refer to:
Events from the year 1646 in England.
Events from the year 1647 in England.
Events from the year 1648 in England.
The unsuccessful second Siege of Hull by the Royalist Earl of Newcastle in 1643 was a victory for Parliament at the high point of the Royalist campaign in the First English Civil War. It led to the abandonment of Newcastle's campaign in Lincolnshire and the re-establishment of Parliament's presence in Yorkshire.
The Battle of Preston, fought largely at Walton-le-Dale near Preston in Lancashire, resulted in a victory for the New Model Army under the command of Oliver Cromwell over the Royalists and Scots commanded by the Duke of Hamilton. The Parliamentarian victory presaged the end of the Second English Civil War.
Sir Edward Rodes, also called Edward Rhodes, of Great Houghton, Yorkshire, served as sheriff of Yorkshire and colonel of horse under Cromwell; he was also a member of Cromwell's privy council, sheriff of Perthshire, and represented Perth in the parliaments of 1656–8 and 1659–1660. Sir Edward's sister Elizabeth was third wife and widow of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford.