Thomas Rainborowe (c.1610-1648)

March 2005
6 black and white illustrations
164 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843831211
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press

Thomas Rainborowe (c.1610-1648)

Civil War Seaman, Siegemaster and Radical

Whitney R.D. Jones

Biography of Thomas Rainborowe - now being recognised as one of the most important players in the English Civil War.
This book offers an account of the life and career of Thomas Rainborowe, a significant figure in the English Civil War in both military and political terms. His involvement in the sea-borne Irish Expedition of 1642 was followed by service as an infantry leader within the Eastern Association and the New Model Army, where he achieved particular distinction as a siege commander. In the context of the New Model's burgeoning political role, Rainborowe emerged at the Putney Debates [a landmark in the history of the political philosophy] as perhaps the most cogent spokesman for the radical/Leveller cause; but his association with the abortive Leveller-inspired mutiny at Ware, and his hostility toward continued negotiation with Charles I, led to his fall from grace with Cromwell and the `grandees'. Despite this, he re-emerged as a pre-eminent siege-commander at Colchester; but, en route to impose a more rigorous siege of Pontefract Castle, he was assassinated at Doncaster, in highly suspicious circumstances, in November 1648.
Written in a lively and accessible style, this is the first full-length study of a man whose importance has been hitherto neglected.


A lively account of an important, yet hitherto neglected individual. CASEMATE

A wide-ranging and informative account of Rainborowe's career, providing the context for a life which, for many, seemed historically significant for only an instant in time. [...] Brings Rainborowe's remarkable career into sharper focus. WAR IN HISTORY
Of value not only as the first full length study of [Rainborowe] but also because it places Rainborowe's political role in context. [...] An excellent overview [that] stands as the first point of reference for the academic and general reader. JOURNAL OF MILITARY HISTORY
Whitney Jones is to be congratulated for providing us with the first modern, scholarly biography of Thomas Rainborowe. HISTORY
The nearest thing to a biography that can be created round this figure, thrashing out the basic facts of his life and offering a good argument for his importance. Though the result is necessarily a slim volume, it is a rich one. [...] A fine study of an enigma. TLS
A work of fine, careful, traditional scholarship. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW
A useful study, which handles the sources and authorities critically, and makes telling points about the military and political history of the Civil War. NORTHERN HISTORY
Particularly good in explaining Rainborowe's combination of military expertise on sea and on land.... Also has much valuable information about the role of the infantry in the war and about siege warfare. CROMWELLIANA
[A] concise and well-judged study. A perceptive and balanced account of a complex figure blessed with courage, skill and integrity, if not always with good judgment. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW