All posts tagged: Liverpool

The Rathbone Family History

Basil Rathbone wrote about starting his acting career in the Shakespearean company led by his cousin, Sir Frank Benson. This post will take a closer look at the Rathbone family. Just how closely were Basil and Sir Frank related? Not close at all, as it turns out. Basil’s great-great-great-grandfather, William Rathbone III, was also Frank’s great-great-grandfather. The Family Tree diagram below shows that William had two children: William and Sarah. He actually had more children, but we are focusing on William and Sarah because Basil Rathbone is descended from William, and Frank Benson is descended from Sarah. William Rathbone III, who lived in Liverpool from 1726 to 1789, built his fortune in merchant shipping. The company traded in a variety of products, including timber, salt, iron bars, linen, leather, tobacco, tallow, wheat, rye, and rice. The Rathbones (William and his son William IV, who joined his father in the family business) never became involved in the lucrative slave trade. In fact, the Rathbones were ardent abolitionists. Both father and son were founding members of the …