Show ContentsRainfurd History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Rainfurd family

The surname Rainfurd was first found in Lancashire at Rainford, a chapelry, in the parish and union of Prescot, hundred of West Derby. 1

The early history of this name is obscure since there wasn't a Rainford recorded in Lancashire at the time of the Domesday Book in 1086. The earliest record of the name was Raineford, which was listed in Merseyside in 1198. At that time, the place name literally meant "ford of a man called Regna, or boundary ford." 2.

They are descended from Rayne, in Essex, which was held in 1086, before and after, by the Bishop of London. Rayne was also held by Roger de Raismes, a companion in Arms to William Duke of Normandy at the Battle of Hastings, and from this latter noble we can assume they moved north into Lancashire. Roger was from the Castle of Rames in Normandy to the west of Bolbec, in the arrondisement of Havre. The family retained their ties with Essex as we shall see.

William de Reynford was listed in Lancashire in 1246 as was John Raynford in the Assize Rolls there in 1401. 3

Early History of the Rainfurd family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rainfurd research. Another 116 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1350, 1550 and 1690 are included under the topic Early Rainfurd History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rainfurd Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Rainford, Rainsford, Raynsford, Raynford, Rayneford and many more.

Early Notables of the Rainfurd family

More information is included under the topic Early Rainfurd Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Rainfurd family to Ireland

Some of the Rainfurd family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Rainfurd family

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Rainfurd or a variant listed above: Edward and Mrs. Rainsford, and their son Edward, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630; Captain Rainford who settled with his wife and three children in Jamaica in 1774.

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X) on Facebook