This section contains a number of separate subpages. They cover a lot of Rayners from far and wide. It is most likely that the Rayner line started in Great and/or Little Maplestead, a village some three to four miles from Halstead. Details found in the Essex Records Office (ERO) suggest that the oldest known ‘Rainer’ – a son of Raedwald (King of the East Angles), was killed in battle in 617AD (see Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People). Then, found in the Domesday Book of 1087, “a ‘Raner’ held Smeetham (Hall) for the Count (Eustace)”. Smeetham Hall is in north Essex and can be seen on the Internet as it is today.

I believe the Rayners spread from the Maplestead villages to Halstead where the name became firmly identified as ‘Rayner’.Variants of the name – “Raynor”, “Rainor”, “Rainer”, “Reyner”, etc, were brought about by early baptisms where the priest thought he knew best how to spell the name – as often the parents could neither read nor write their names.

The objective is to follow the Rayner families of my birthplace, Halstead in Essex. I can trace my line back to the early 1600’s. To make the family tree I am using Brother’s Keeper by John Steed. This can be downloaded free from his website.