Rainsford Papers

Repository: Longford County Archives

Identity Statement

TitleRainsford Papers
Archive ReferenceIE LDCA/P8
Web Link to this Entryhttps://iar.ie/archive/rainsford-papers
Creation Dates1771-2007
Extent Medium1 box (including reference material)


Creator(s): Brooke, Robert Carty, Ross D'Olier, Isaac Felton, Josephine Knox, Alexander Morgan, James Rainsford, Alice Rainsford, Frederick Taylor, Rev. John Wesley, Rev. John

  • Administrative History ↴

    The Brooke family descend from Dr William Brooke of Dromovana, County Cavan. His eldest son, Rev. William and his wife Lettice Digby had a son Henry (c.1703-83), barrister-at-law and author, who lived at Rantavan House, Mullagh, County Cavan. Henry’s most enduring work is ‘Gustavus Vasa’, a play of 1739, which was banned because of its indirect references to Sir Robert Walpole, the then prime minister, and contemporary politics. Henry married his young cousin Catherine Meares of Meares Court, County Westmeath, and they had twenty-two children, twenty of whom died young; only two, Arthur and Charlotte, survived into adulthood. Charlotte (c.1740-93) was a noted author, and had a remarkable interest in the Irish language; she taught herself Irish and collected manuscripts and stories. In 1789, she published the Reliques of Irish poetry, consisting of translations of poems alongside their Irish versions. She died at Cottage, Moneylagan, County Longford on 29 March 1793, where she had stayed with her friends, the Browne family, for some time. She was buried in St Paul’s Churchyard, Newtownforbes. Robert Brooke (c.1710-84), a brother of Henry the author, was an artist, as was his son Henry (1738-1806). That Henry was a Methodist and was friendly with Rev. John Wesley. Henry’s younger brother, Robert (1744-1811), served in the army of the British East India Company, and, based on his experience of textile production in India, he tried to establish a new industrial town on his lands in Kildare, which he named Prosperous. Robert later served as governor of St Helena. The artistic streak continued in the family, passing to Henry’s son, William Henry (1772-1860). Maria Jane, sister of William Henry Brooke, married Isaac D’Olier LL.D (1771-1841), a member of a distinguished Dublin family of Huguenot origin. Theodosia, daughter of Isaac and Maria, married Rev. John Taylor (1804/05-1866), who served in various parishes in Cavan – Kildallon, Arva, Templeport and Killinkere. Their daughter, Catherine Taylor married Dr Mark Moore of Farnham Street, Cavan; and their daughter, Maud, married Ross Carthy Rainsford, who served in the R.I.C. Ross Rainsford was born in Dundalk, County Louth, in 1858, son of Joseph Godman Rainsford D.D. (1833-1908) and Maria Susan Carthy, daughter of Ross Carthy of Carlingford, County Louth. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Rainsford’s R.I.C. career as a district inspector (1882) and county inspector (1906) took him around Ireland, serving in counties including Galway, Queen’s (later Laois), Mayo and Leitrim. He was pensioned in 1920 and due to the War of Independence, he and his family moved to Belfast. The Carthy connection raises the other link between the collection and Longford, in that an ancestor, Ross Carthy (or Carty) served as an officer in the Royal Longford Militia. He served as an ensign from 19 September 1805; was commissioned as a lieutenant on 6 December 1809; and eventually resigned in December 1854. Ross and Maud Rainsford had two sons - Cecil and Frederick - and three daughters - Alice, Primrose and Marie. The younger son, Frederick Fitzpatrick Rainsford (1909-99) was a bomber pilot in the R.A.F. during World War II and a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was one of the main organisers of the ‘Berlin Airlift’ in 1948-49, following the Soviet blockade of the western part of the city, and was honoured with the office of the Commander of the British Empire for that endeavour. Later, he served as a diplomat, with his final posting being as deputy British Consul General in New York.
  • Archival History ↴

    The Rainsford papers were donated by Mrs Josephine Ralph Felton (nèe Rainsford) on 2 July 2009. The collection is named in memory of her late father, Air Commodore Frederick F. Rainsford C.B.E., D.F.C. The first ten items in the collection - the Rainsford letters – originated with Mrs Felton’s Brooke, D’Olier and Taylor ancestors in her paternal grandmother’s line. They begin with Henry Brooke (1738-1806), then his daughter, Maria Jane D’Olier and then her daughter, Theodosia Taylor. They were passed to Theodosia’s daughter, Catherine Moore, to her daughter, Maud Rainsford, and then to her son, Frederick Rainsford, who passed them to his eldest daughter, Josephine Felton.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Brooke, Robert Carty, Ross D'Olier, Isaac Felton, Josephine Knox, Alexander Morgan, James Rainsford, Alice Rainsford, Frederick Taylor, Rev. John Wesley, Rev. John ↴

    In general, the collection consists of two parts: the Rainsford letters, dating from the period 1771-1839, and a letter written by Ross Carty (1806); and correspondence and notes concerning the Rainsford letters and the history of the Brooke, D’Olier and related families. The Rainsford letters include two letters from Rev. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, to Henry Brooke (1738-1806). There are also items including correspondence about Ross Carthy Rainsford’s R.I.C. service and a typescript of a memoir by his daughter Alice, which covers the early part of her life.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Accruals ↴

    No accruals expected.
  • Arrangement ↴

    The collection is arranged as follows:
    The Rainsford letters, 1771-1839;
    Ross Carty’s letter, 1806;
    Provenance and significance of the Rainsford letters;
    Correspondence and related notes on the Brooke and D’Olier families;
    Ross Carthy Rainsford (1858-1942);
    Alice Rainsford (1902-85), daughter of Ross;
    Pedigrees of, and notes on, the Brooke and Rainsford families.

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Available in Library HQ.
Conditions Governing ReproductionNo photocopying is permitted.
Creation Dates1771-2007
Extent Medium1 box (including reference material)
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Finding Aids Item-level descriptive list Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

There are no Allied Materials

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteMartin Morris
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions40603