Joseph Rainsbury ~1846 - 1905

Wine and Spirit merchant, shopkeeper . Canteen Keeper on Haulbowline Island 1875-1890. No occupation down in the 1901C- odd

Possible photo from Fi ??' seemingly only one of his wife and children


~1846 . Joseph Rainsbury was born to William Rainsbury & Bridget Molloy- year from his d.c. age

1863. A ( license) transfer granted for Joseph Rainsbury, 1 West Beach- Irish Archives Newspapers - he would only be ~17 here

1864. Joseph Rainsbury married Elizabeth Jane Sporle on 27/4/1864 in Queenstown , in the parish church of Clonmel, Cork. His father William Rainsbury, publican, hers Cornelius Sporle, principal Warder of Spike Island . His address Queenstown; hers Spike Island, Queenstown . Both stated as Minors[ under 21, one was able to marry as young as 14 for a boy, 12 for a girl] . She seemingly only 15 . He ~18.


1865. A daughter born to Joseph Rainsbury on 16/7/1865 Queenstown- Irish Newspaper Archives, the Cork Constitution.

1867. Joseph Rainsbury was on a jury in Cork - FMP Newspapers

1867. In Queenstown - Henry & Coghlan's Directory- found on Web, Joseph Rainsbury, of 2 West Beach, is listed as Ferry Boat Proprietor as well as Grocer & Spirit Dealer

1869. mention of Mr & Mrs Rainsburys' public house in a court case 30/6/1869 - Irish Newspaper Archives,

1870. Joseph Rainsbury was living 1, the Beach, Queenstown - FMP Newspapers , people could order copies of the Cork Constitution there


Picture of his West Beach shop- thanks to Anne McSweeney



1871. Joseph Rainsbury, grocer and wine and spirit dealer, 1 West Beach- a Cork Directory 1871

1871. His father, William, died on Haulbowline. Likely Joseph took over the running of the canteen on Haulbowline Island from this date

Children baptised were-IGI & Ancestry trees - Elizabeth Mary Josephine 16/7/1865 Queenstown; William Cornelius 25/4/1867 Cork-1951 Nottingham ; Joseph 29/4/70 Queenstown Cork; Winifred Margaret 30/8/1871 Cork; Lillian Catherine 16/5/1873- 1922 Queenstown ; Maud Josephine 8/6/1878 Cork &

1880. Albert Patrick Rainsbury was born 16/3/1880 at Haulbowline, Cork to Joseph & Elizabeth- IGI

Children of Joseph Rainsbury - 17 born

After this also: George Victor ~1885-1958, Cyril ~1891 & Frederick ~1893. Plus others who died in their first year: 18 Jan 1883 Margaret Florence Rainsbuoy died aged 1 year and 8 months

Their first daughter was called Elizabeth Mary : but we think his mother was Bridget & her mother was Mary and their first son was called William Cornelius, the names of his, then her, father

1870. Joseph Rainsbury, born 1870, died 29/10/1870, son of a shopkeeper, address 1 The Beach Cork - FMP Ireland 1864-1870 Deaths

1875 & 1878. . Winifred Rainsbury,4, established church, father Canteen Keeper, was a pupil at Haulbowline Island School. And ditto, called Winnie, aged 7, in 1878 - FMP National Schools Admisssions

Thus Joseph was on Haulbowline Island from 1870 ( son Joseph born there ) Canteen Keeper probably from 1871 - 1890 at least



Haulbowline : the name of an island in Cork Harbour, the main naval base & headquarters now for the Irish Naval Service. . It has long been a military base. The Navy established a large arsenal on the island and a naval dockyard was built during the Napoleonic Wars . Haulbowline developed in many stages and was at its greatest during WW1 when all its many facilities were utilised. It had at that stage managed to develop it’s dry-dock which was a great boon to augment facilities at other locations around the British Isles. You can picture the convicts walking to and from the site works on a specially constructed causeway from nearby Spike Island.

haulbowline . haulbowline

Haulbowline Island


Causeway linking Spike Island to Haulbowline


Possibly a photo of Joseph's family, ~1885, but odd he is not in it!. Thus could be his wife, Elizabeth Jane, seated with babe George on her lap, and, from l-r, Albert Patrick~5, Winifred/Lillian 14/11. William Cornelius, ~18, just graduated, & Margaret Florence ~4. Odd too that one of the older girls is missing, but maybe Winifred might have left home at 14??

1890. A labourer in Lough( suburb in the south of Cork)when son Joseph born 1/10/1890

1892. Clerk of St Nicholas Church when son Robert born 30/3/1894 in Prosperity Square . His occupation given as Clerk on 13/7/1892 when his son, William Cornelius, married in St Finnbarrs

1893. In Guys Directory as living Prosperity Square, - FMP

1894..Joseph Rainsbury given as a government official on the m.c. of his daughter Winifred

1901C.Joseph Rainsbury, 52, b. Cork, no occupation, was living Drinane Street, Cork no. 5., with his wife, Elizabeth, b.England, eldest 3 children Haulbowline, youngest 2 Cork . Son, Albert, 21, Medical Student . 4 rooms, 5 windows in front. Class of house 2nd

Rainsbury Joseph 52 Male Head of Family Church of Ireland
Rainsbury Elizabeth 48 Female Wife Church of Ireland
Rainsbury Lillain 18 Female Daughter Church of Ireland
Rainsbury Albert 21 Male Son Church of Ireland
Rainsbury George 16 Male Son Church of Ireland
Rainsbury Cyril 10 Male Son Church of Ireland
Rainsbury Fredrick 8 Male Son Church of Ireland
ODonnell Emily 22 Female Visitor Church of Ireland
Walton Jack 24 Male Boarder Church of Ireland
Wilkens Charles 24 Male Boarder Church of England
Randall Geory 23 Male Boarder Church of Ireland
Clark James 23 Male Boarder R C

No death for Joseph of Elizabeth on civil records-

1901-1905. Joseph Rainsbury moved to Sheffield with his wife, youngest 2 sons, and, maybe, son George Victor also his daughter Lillian -WHY?

1905. Joseph Rainsbury, 59, formerly grocer(master) of 87 Leadmill Road, Sheffield, died 12/9/1905 in Sheffield Workhouse . Cause of death: Tubercular Ulceration of Bowel, diarrhea, exhaustion . Informant was his son, Albert P Rainsbury of 16 Lavitts Quay, Cork, on 13/9/1905 -this interesting: could he have got from Cork so quickly or had he already been summoned? His wife & 3 children were probaly in Sheffield at the time: Cyril 14, Frederick 13, and Lillian 23- but the latter might have just moved there post 1905/7 to look after her brothers. Also, his oldest son, William Cornelius Rainsbury, 1867, was a doctor in Notts in 1905- not very far away!!. No probate !. This d.c. ordered 23/5/2017


His wife Elizabeth Jane Rainsbury, b.~1851, died Sheffield Oct 1907. No probate .Should I order this certificate??

Do Sheffield Workhouse Records exist??or a Sheffield trade directory 1901-1905??

No mention in FMP Newspapers

1911C. Fredrick Rainsbury 19 & Cyril Rainsbury 20 in 1911C Sheffield. Both engineer fitters, living in 4 rooms at 5 Paget Street, Newhall Road with sister Lillian Rainsbury 32- Ancestry

Lillian Rainsbury Head Single Female - 32 1879 Cork Ireland Resident  
Cyril Rainsbury Brother Single Male Engineers Fitter Gun Shop 20 1891 Cork Ireland Resident  
Fredrick Rainsbury Brother Single Male Engineers Fitter Gun Shop 19 1892 Cork Ireland Resident


5 Paget Street on the extreme left - photo~1965


1912. A Robert Frederick Rainsbury , youngest son of the Late Joseph & Elizabeth Rainsbury, died 14/2/1912, he was 19, thus born ~1892 , "5, Paget Street, NewhaJl Road, for Burngreave Cemetery" Sheffield- FMP Newspapers .

Contact with Helen Spencer, a gggrand daughter of Joseph- via a daughter, Kathleen, of William Cornelius :

I have put your queries to my mother, Mary (85). She is Albert's great neice.  She says: Joseph Rainsbury was governor of Haulbowline Island, Cork and may possibly have been a publican at some time. 

  She always thought that Albert's (Cousin Bertie) middle name was "Wolfe".

  She remembers her Uncle Sherwood (nephew of Albert) recounting a family story that when training to be a vicar, Albert said to his father that he "could do the Lord's work a lot better if he had a motorcycle". We don't know if he got one.

  I remember going to vist Uncle Bertie once (only) with my mother, Grandmother Kathleen and her sister Eleanor. We had tea at the vicarage in Knossington, Leicestershire. I was about 10 or 12  - I'm now 52! the vicar at Knossington must be Albert Patrick's son?

  Sorry, we don't know why he went to Framlingham.

  I should be most interested in any Rainsbury family history as we know very little. 

Note:The Great Island Historical Society Cork has the 11000 transcriptions done by the late Luke Kennedy of all the burials in Clonmel Old Church Cemetery, Cobh.