Recorded as Rainsbury, Rainsberry, Ransbury, Raynsbury and possibly others, this is an English locational surname. It originates from Rainsury, a diminished medieval village near the town of Dulverton, in the county of Somerset. The name probably means 'Raven's fort (or barrow)' although other explanations are possible. It is unclear when the place was first recorded although 'Regnaburie' is given in the Domesday Book of 1086, and this may apply to this former village. Lost or diminished medieval villages are a silent feature of the countryside of the British Isles, and at least five thousand surnames are estimated as coming from such sources. As to why they disappeared, has been the subject of several books, and new explanations are coming forward all the time but most relate to changes in agricultural practices, the infamous Enclosure Acts, when landowners were empoered to seize the common grazing lands, as well as natural disasters such as flood, coastal erosion, and the Great Plagues. This surname is well recorded in the surviving registers of Greater London, and the first recording is believed to be that of Alice Rainsbury who married Thmas Davis at St Johns Hackney, on September 8th 1628.
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