Captain Peter Rainier, RN may be identified with the Peter Rainier baptized at St John's Church at Hackney on 24 August 1784 to John and Susannah Rainier. He was from a naval family with a Huguenot background. His uncle was Peter Rainier (1741-1808), an Admiral of the Blue, commander-in-chief of the East Indies station in the French wars and MP for Sandwich 1807-8. Unmarried, he left most of his fortune (estimated at £250,000) to be divided between two nephews, Admiral John Spratt Rainier and Captain Peter Rainier. Peter was appointed a Captain in the Royal Navy, aged 21, on 17 January 1806. He saw service in the Java campaign of 1806-7, and was responsible for taking the Spanish ship San Raphael a prize in January 1807. She was carrying 500,000 dollars in specie and 1,700 quintals of copper. In January 1814, in command of the Niger, Captain Rainier assisted at the capture of the French frigate La Ceres. He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 4 June 1815 and naval aide-de-camp to William IV in 1830. He commanded the Britannia (120 guns) between October 1831 and February 1835. He died in Southampton on 13 April 1836.

Captain Rainier appears in Southampton in 1818, voting for the Tory candidates at the June general election. A political squib issued by the anti-Chamberlayne faction during the 1820 election characterised Rainier as one of those land and water rats whose votes had recently been bought: "This Animal was caught in the Mount, a Place near Alexander-ia, and was brought over in a Ship belonging to the Royal Navy" (Southampton Archives D/Z 1022/1/1). He was a member of the Corporation: nominated a serving burgess on 1 September 1826, junior bailiff on 2 October 1827, senior bailiff on 30 September 1828 and sheriff on 6 October 1829. He was one of ten aldermen elected in December 1835 to serve in the post-Reform Corporation. Rainier qualified as a county magistrate in 1825, on the basis of land held in All Saints parish. He was married to Elizabeth Crow Rainier (born in Middlesex). Two children are known to the marriage:

1) Caroline Rainier, who married Captain Ebenezer Jones of Wynnstay Place, Wrexham at All Saints Church, Southampton on 6 July 1841.
2) Ellen Catherine, who married Lieutenant William Yolland of the Ordnance Survey on 18 July 1843, also at All Saints Church.

Captain Rainier lived in some style at his residence in Hamilton Place. An auction of effects after his death in 1836 included a grand cellar of wine, valuable paintings, hot house and green house plants, tropical fruits, two large 6-pound guns, billiard table, globes, books and charts. The house, with its large garden, was let. His widow (described in the 1851 census as landed proprietor and fundholder) lived at 9 Rockstone Place until her death, aged 68 years, on 31 October 1852. She was buried in the catacombs under All Saints Church.

His eldest son, also Peter Rainier, entered the Royal Navy on 2 December 1824, later followed by a brother Charles. Peter served in the North Sea, in the Mediterranean, the West Indies and in the Lisbon station, the later on his father's ship Britannia. He obtained his commission on 18 July 1835, serving off the coast of Africa, in the Coast Guard and, from July 1848 as Admiralty Agent on board a contract mail steam-vessel (William R O'Byrne, A naval biographical dictionary, 1849). By 1849, Lieutenant Rainier is in Southampton, living at 9 Rockstone Place. Later moving to Shirley (Cedar Cottage, Anglesea Road) and later Millbrook (The Friars), Peter and his wife Ingaretha had nine children between 1854 and 1870. Ingaretha died in February 1875, aged 44 years. Peter died in Shirley, aged 73 years, with the naval rank of Commander.


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