Son of William Rathbone III and Rachel Rutter.
m. (17 Aug 1786) at the Friends Meeting House, Shrewsbury Hannah Mary(1761-1839), eldest daughter of Richard Reynolds, of Bristol, a philanthropist and partner with the Darby family in the Coalbrookdale Iron Works, Shropshire and Hannah Mary (née Darby). She was born at Ketley and had a Quaker upbringing. She was buried in the Hunter Street Burial Ground. Eight children:
William Rathbone V (1787-1868)
Richard (2 Dec 1788 - 10 Nov 1860)
Hannah Mary (1791-1865) m. (4 Jan 1831) Dr William Reynolds
Theodore Woolman (4 Aug 1798 - 15 Aug 1863)
Benson (26 Aug 1800 - 27 Oct 1834)
William IV was a Liverpool ship-owner and merchant, involved in the organisation of American trade with Liverpool. Originally a member of the Society of Friends, he felt compelled to write a Narrative of Events in Ireland among the Quakers (1804) in protest against religious intolerance in the Society. As a committed opponent to slavery, he was a founder member of the Liverpool Committee for the Aboliton of the Slave Trade.
In 1788, he leased the family house and estate of Greenbank, then part of the Toxteth Park estate, to serve as a country retreat for his young family, and purchased the freehold of the house in 1809, the year of his death. He was buried at Liverpool Friends' Burial Ground.
William Rathbone IV and Hannah Mary in the Rathbone papers
The papers of William Rathbone IV (RP II) date from 1777-1809 and include:
- RP II.1 - General correspondence (169 items)
- RP II.2 - Deeds (3 items)
- RP II.3 - Quaker material (11 items)
- RP II.4 - General papers (23 items) including notes, collected newscuttings and printed circulars relating to public and personal affairs of WR IV
The papers of Hannah Mary Rathbone I (RP III) date from 1773-1839 and include:
- RP III.1 - General Correspondence (274 items)
- RP III.2 - Deeds (1 item)
- RP III.3 - Personal Papers (3 items, including diaries and MS notes)
- Rathbone, William b.1757, A narrative of events that have lately taken place in Ireland among the Society called Quakers, with corresponding documents and occasional observations printed by M'Creery for J. Johnson: Liverpool, 1804.
- A memoir of the proceedings of the society called Quakers, belonging to the monthly meeting of Hardshaw, in Lancashire, in the case of the author of a publication entitled a narrative of events which have lately taken place in Ireland etc. printed by M'Creery for J. Johnson: Liverpool, 1805.
- Rathbone, William b. 1819, A sketch of family history during four generations, compiled from old letters and papers Privately published: Liverpool, 1894. Chapter 2, pp 9-51 'William Rathbone (IV)'
- Nottingham, Lucie, Rathbone Brothers: from merchant to banker 1742-1992 Rathbone Brothers Plc, 1992. Chapter 3, pp15-22 'William Rathbone IV'
- Ironbridge Gorge Museum - holdings include a copy letter book of William Rathbone IV's letters out including notes on Quakerism, philosophy and theology 1805-1808