The Rayners were a family of booksellers and stationers in Southampton. Charles Smith Rayner appears to have been in Southampton only during the 1840s - the 1841 census records him in Hammersmith and the 1851 census in Shropshire. He is listed as a bookseller and stationer at 180 High Street in the 1843 street directory and an engraving of St Paul’s Church in London Road, Southampton was published by Charles Smith Rayner in c.1841 (image below).

John Frederick Rayner (senior) appears on the 1841 census aged 18. His occupation is given as "printer" and he is listed, with Charles Rayner aged 21 and Ann Rayner aged 16, in High Street, Southampton. In the 1851 census, the address is more fully 180 High Street, and he has been joined by his brother Henry G. aged 19, and his sister Elizabeth aged 15. His occupation is now "Bookseller and Newsagent". From 1857 to 1871 street directories give his private residence as (variously) Bassett, Bassett Wood and Bassett Common. Bassett was a hamlet in the parish of North Stoneham at that time. The 1861 census gives the address as Bassett Common. In 1899 he was living at “The Shrubberies”, High Road, Swaythling. He died there on 23 August 1911.

John Frederick (senior) married Esther Marks on 21 June 1853 at his local church, All Saints on the corner of the High Street and East Street, very nearly opposite 180 High Street. Their children were also baptised at All Saints.

Charles Woodhouse Rayner, John Frederick’s brother and business partner, who appears with him on the 1841 census in the High Street premises, has left by 1851, and is shown in subsequent street directories as a bookseller, newsagent and stationer in Totton and then in Bridge Street, Southampton. From c.1869 until his death in 1871 he was the publisher of the Southampton Observer. Charles’ wife Charlotte became the “sole proprietress” of the Southampton Observer until her own death on 10 April 1879. After her death, her manager, George Buxey, who had been her husband’s foreman, took over the paper, which continued publication until 1909.

Between 1847 and 1849, Charles Woodhouse Rayner and John Frederick Rayner published a newspaper called variously the Southampton Royal Mail Packet, Post Office and Railway Chronicle, and the Southampton Chronicle, and Royal Mail Packet, Post Office, Railway, Visitors, and Steam Packet Passenger’s Guide. Its main content was timetables and other information for travellers. In 1849, they published a directory for Southampton and neighbourhood.

Henry Glover Rayner appears in the directories of the 1880s as bookseller and stationer at 25 Above Bar Street and 25 Avenue Road. He died on 20 January 1891.

According to the Hampshire Genealogical Society memorial inscriptions index for the old cemetery, Hill Lane, six members of the Rayner family are buried in adjoining graves:

Eva Marie, wife of John Frederick Rayner junior, died 18 January 1908, aged 54.
Esther, wife of John Frederick Rayner died 9 February 1890.
John Frederick Rayner died 23 August 1911.
Esther daughter of the above died 18 June 1927.
Ann Rayner died 25 February 1904 aged 79.
Elizabeth Rayner, sister of the above, died 31 March 1923.

St Paul's Church, London Road

Image Unavailable

Engraving published by Charles Smith Rayner, c1841


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