Rayner is really the only major R in my family tree. It occurs quite early on as the maiden name of my father’s mother, Fay Rayner – confusingly known as Pat in the family. She had a brother, Victor. Although both are dead, I’m conscious that they have rather a lot of direct family still living, so I’m not going to dwell too much on them here.
Fay and Victor were the children of Leslie Gordon Rayner and Victorine Hayward. I spoke a little about how they met and married in the post Fearless Females 2012: Meeting and marrying. Suffice to say that early in their married life the couple had relocated from East London/Essex to Wakefield for Les’s job, and Fay was born there in 1938.
Leslie was born in 1910, in Leytonstone, Essex, and was the youngest by some way of five brothers: William Henry Rayner (b. 1897), Alec Maxted Rayner (b. 1894), Herbert Victor Rayner (b. 1897) and Edgar Stewart Rayner (b. 1900). Their parents were William Henry Rayner (sr) and Emma Winter. The couple seem to have married in 1889, so it struck me as rather strange that their first child was not born until eight years later.
It becomes apparent that the couple are living apart in 1891. Emma is at home with her parents in Surrey, while William Henry is (eventually!) to be found living in barracks at Isleworth (and claiming to be unmarried – but then all his fellow servicemen are too!) Presumably it was his military service that kept the couple apart and prevented them having children. I would like to find out more about this, but haven’t as yet.
Leslie’s older brothers, of course, were exactly the right age to have been called up during the First World War, and I have succeeded in tracking down some records for Alec Maxted on Ancestry. Alec joined the Royal Fusiliers in 1908, when he was apparently aged just fourteen. Later he married Kathleen Moran and had eight children, according to one of their grandchildren who contacted me via Ancestry.
Unfortunately, further information on Leslie’s other brothers has not been forthcoming.
Their father William Henry Rayner was born in 1871 to parents William George Rayner and Ellen Sawkins. They had two other children that I know of: Leonard Rayner (b. 1872) and Arthur Rayner (b. 1875). Leonard married Mary Elizabeth Fenby in Islington in 1899. I have very little further information on Arthur at the moment.
There was an alternative possible marriage for William, to Ellenor Good, who could of course easily have been known as Ellen. However, this took place in Bethnal Green, whereas the marriage at St George, Hanover Square is more in keeping with the couple’s residence in 1871, also at St George, Hanover Square, and the registration of William Henry’s birth in Chelsea.