Thomas Rainbow came from a long established family in Hanslope dating back to Daniel Rainbow in 1693. They were all farm labourers and lace makers.
Thomas was born about 1794 and was the eldest of five children. Ruth was born in 1804 the youngest of thirteen children to another old Hanslope family traceable back to Richard Carter in 1590.
In the photo he is wearing moleskin knee breeches and a stock round his neck. That kind of folded tie or stock was out of fashion by the 1830s but lingered on in the country side. Her bonnet dates to the 1850s, when small muslin or lace caps were worn indoors. A larger 'poke bonnet' would have been worn over the top for outdoor wear. Ruth's dress dates from about 1860 so this photo was probably taken around the late 1860s.
Thomas worked as an agricultural labourer. Ruth was decribed as a 'labourer's wife' so she probably worked on the farm as well. They lived in Long Street and then in old age moved to Back Street. They didn't live on a farm so they probably didn't live in tied cottages which gave them a degree of autonomy and independence, which is how Thomas worked as a carter for a while.
Thomas and Ruth had eleven children of which seven lived to adulthood. The girls were lacemakers, Betsy Maria from the age of six, and the boys worked on farms, although George went to Wolverton to work in the Railway and Carriage Works, and Frederick became a shoemaker.
Thomas and Ruth lived to a good old age; Thomas died in 1874 aged 78 and Ruth in 1872 aged 68. They must have been well loved by their family because they erected a handsome gravestone in Hanslope churchyard in their memory.
This photo was cherished by Betsy Maria, who married Andrew Nichols. It was passed on to their daughter Minnie Nichols who married John Rolls. Their daughter Gertie Rolls, who was the last generation of this line to live in Hanslope, married Bertie Weatherley. She was my Great Aunt and passed the photo on to me.