Recorded as Rennick, Rennock, Rennocks, Rennox, Renwick, and possibly others, this is a Scottish Border surname, which can be English or occasionally Scottish. It is locational from the little village of Renwick, eleven miles from the town of Penrith in Cumberland. The place name, and hence the later surname is believed to translate as 'The dairy farm (wic) of Rann,' the latter being an abreviated form of the Anglo Saxon personal name 'Randolf'. Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes to live somewhere else. Spelling over the centuries being at best indfifferent, and local dialects very thick, lead to distortion and often 'sounds like' spellings. The plural spellings where they exist with locational surnames such as this, can indicate that the name means 'of Renwick' and curiously is not dissimilar to the French 'de' or the Polish 'ski', indicating ownership. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of James Renwick. He was believed to be the last person to be executed in Scotland for religious reasons. This was dated 1688, in the records of the Scottish coventers during the reign of King James IInd of England and VIIth of Scotland 1685-1689. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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