The Raikes' Legacy

These pages have been prepared by Elizabeth Janson.

Richard Raikes

Richard Raikes settled in Hull 1610 had 5 sons and 8 daughters, with sons Joshua and Richard, and Esther the third daughter remembered. Esther's second husband was William Wilberforce and their descendant is William Wilberforce whio founded the Anti-Slavery Society.

Richard Raikes

Richard Raikes gained an MA from Emmanuel College Cambridge and later was Vicar of Hessle near Hull. He died in 1671 leaving 3 sons and 3 daughters.

Timothy Raikes

Timothy Raikes studied at St Johns College Cambridge and succeeded his father as Vicar of Hessle in 1689. He wed Sarah Partridge of Gloucester and 13 children were born, 4 sons including Robert and Timothy, and 3 daughters survived. Timothy became a merchant in London and gained extensive business connections with Russia.

Robert Raikes

Robert Raikes was baptised 22 Apr 1690 at Hessle and died in Gloucester on 7th September 1757. In 1705 he was bound apprentice to John Barker of Lambert Hill, London to learn the printing trade, and became a pioneer in the newspaper industry. On 25th February 1722 he married Sarah Niblett daughter of John and Abergale Niblett of Lechlade, a village 30 miles east of Gloucester. He set up his printing business in Gloucester and published the first edition of his Gloucester Journal on 9th April 1722. Their daughter, Sarah, was born in 1723 and died February 1739, and her mother died in 1724.

House opposite St Mary de Crypt in Southgate Street
House opposite St Mary de Crypt in Southgate Street, where Robert Raikes lived

Robert's second wife Anne Monde died in 1734 leaving a daughter Elizabeth born 18th March 1731. In 1736 and aged 46, he wed Mary Drew aged 21. The first of their six children is son Robert baptised 24th September 1736 at St Mary de Crypt in Gloucester. The others children are Mary, William, Thomas, Richard and Charles.

Robert was widely known as 'the printer of Gloucester' and produced a weekly newspaper 12¼ by 7¾ inches with 12 columns of local and foreign news, crime reports and sundry advertisements. One area of news forbidden to any newspaper was 'any account of parliamentary debates or proceedings' and Robert was twice charged with doing so, a breach of the privileges of Parliament, on 26th March 1728 and again in 1729. In 1742 he increased the size to 26 by 10½ inches.

Mary took over her husband's business when he died in 1757. She was a clergyman's daughter and had been educated to the standards of her social group. She brought up her own children firmly. They attended the church across the road at St Mary de Crypt. The Crypt had a grammar school founded in 1539 for young children who when aged about 14 went to the Cathedral College School for further education. When aged about 18 the young man could choose to go to university. In the Raikes family, the eldest son was apprenticed to the family printing business in 1755 and freed on 4 Oct 1757 to work with Mary till he was aged 25. Their children:

  1. Robert - followed his father into the business.
  2. Mary - wed 29 May 1770 at St James Bath to Francis Newberry Esq, of Addiscombe, Surrey and Heathfield Park, Sussex.
  3. William - became a Director of the South Sea Company and married Martha Pelly the daughter of a Governor of the Bank of England.
  4. Richard - went to St John's College Cambridge, worked as tutor for the daughters of Lady Guise, and in 1793 was appointed to the Perpetual Curacy of Maisemore, close to Gloucester.
  5. Charles - became a merchant in London.
  6. Thomas

Robert Raikes

This is the Inventor of Sunday Schools.

Robert Raikes was born 1736, Gloucester, and died 5th April 1811 aged 74. On 23rd December 1767 he married Anne Trigge, daughter of Thomas Trigge of Newnham near Gloucester. Anne's brothers were Sir Thomas Trigg and Real Admiral John Trigg. Robert and Anne had ten children, the first daughter and son both died. Six daughters were born before Robert Napier and William Henley were born. Their children

  1. Anne 17 Sep 1771 wed 25 Feb 1799 to Sir Thomas Boulden Thompson
  2. Mary 17 Sep 1773 wed 5 Nov 1796 to Henry Garrett who later became Admiral Garrett
  3. Twin Albinia 12 Sep 1775 wed 14 May 1790 to John Birch, Lieut-Colonel of Royal Westminster Volunteers
  4. Twin Eleanor 12 Sep 1775 wed 20 Jun 1797 to Daniel Garrett Esq.
  5. Charlotte 27 Nov 1776 wed 1 May 1798 to Commander William Stanley Clarke, a Director of the East India Company
  6. Caroline 28 Feb 1779 wed 1803 to Captain James Weller of 23 Regiment of Light Dragoons
  7. Robert Napier 3 Nov 1783 (below)
  8. William Henley 18 Apr 1785 entered the Coldstream Guards to become Colonel. He wed Louisa, youngest daughter of Henry Boulton Esq of Givons Grove, Leatherhead.

Robert Raikes

Robert Napier Raikes was born on 3rd November 1783. He married Caroline daughter of Very Revd. John Probyn, Archdeacon and Dean of Llandaff, of Longhope in September 1810. Robert graduated, gaining a BA at Oriel College, Oxford and took Holy Orders, and later followed his father-in-law as Rector of Longhope. Rev. Robert Napier Raikes signed his first burial register entry on 5th September 1838. He became ill around the 15th October 1850 and was buried on the 27th March 1851 aged 67. His wife Caroline Raikes was buried 18 April 1879 aged 88, when she was recorded as "of St Johns Paddington". Robert's son, also Robert Raikes, became General Robert Raikes became known as "the Father of the British Army" and died at the age of 96. His daughter Emma was born in 1817 and is buried next to her parents, in 1892, aged 75.

Their era

To quote Frank Booth, who wrote 'Robert Raikes of Gloucester' published 1980, the mid eighteenth century, when Robert was active, was a time of social change. The Raikes family was wealthy and able to ignore the poorer parts of the community. That Robert was different is evident, for he became an influential newspaper Editor and put his ideas into the effort that gave him the title 'Inventor of Sunday School'.
During the reign of George II (1727 - 1760) land formerly the property of the parish and its people, was enclosed and became the property of the landowner who took an 'Act of Enclosure' to Parliament to annex the parish lands so forcing many people out of their village and into towns where they became poorly paid factory, mill or mining workers. The American colonies were lost in 1782. Until the French Revolution of 1789, the poor had no voice in government and were expected to serve the wishes of those with wealth. The French showed this was a danger.
George III (1760 - 1820) saw changes such as the regulation of the sale of gin, in 1788 an Act of Parliament unsuccesfully forbade the use of boys under eight as chimney sweeps.

St Mary de Crypt where Robert Raikes went to school In Gloucester the bad harvest of 1756 caused starvation and local riots. On 13 Sep 1757 Robert took over the Gloucester Journal when his father died. Food shortages continued so in 176 Robert was writing of the poor living conditions suffered by the rioters, and gaining and understanding that the prisons were not detering people from 'breaking the laws'. He also became aware that children who worked in the factories, were badly treated and had no hope. Robert had 8 children enjoying education and so he knew that schools were being established.

He knew that schools were effective civilising agencies, and there were many charity schools in Gloucestershire at least from 1699, and Sunday Schools were also being run for children of some parishes. Robert provided for children outside such plans.

In 1777 The Revd Thomas Stock founded a Sunday School for children of his parish of Ashbury in Berkshire, and he came to Gloucester in 1778. He and Raikes worked together in the selection and employment of teachers for the 4 Sunday Schools they set up.
Robert's first Sunday School was opened in 1780 in Sooty Lane, Littleworth, opposite the city prison, a slum area in which chimney sweeps lived. He chose ladies known for their ability to cope with rough boys, and required them to have clean faces and hands, and combed hair. He knew the children were too poor to have shoes or coats. They were taught to read, and Raikes printed the Bible in 100 parts, and Spelling books for them. He visited their homes, and rewarded cooperation with gifts such as combs. Social training was of special importance, and the resulting changes in the behaviour of children was remarkable and surprising, given the cruel realities of life for the poor.


Longhope's Robert Raikes was born 3 Nov 1783, and on this day his father printed the first announcement on the effectiveness of Sunday Schools. This roused public approval and the support of people able to afford to provide teachers, rooms, food, clothing and reading materials. Writing was not taught, pencils were just being invented in Cumberland, and slates or sandtrays were still in the future. 219b The children were taught to speak correctly, to listen and remember. Six days spent in booring labour was followed by Sunday School where the child was recognised as a person. Robert Raikes as a newspaper editor, knew that individual stories were his most important resource. Robert Raikes was the leading publicist of the Sunday School Movement.

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