This ancient Scottish surname recorded in many forms including Rantoul, Rintoul, Rentoul, and the 18th century London spellings of Rentall, Rentell and Rentill, is one of those which have managed for centuries to avoid the limelight. Indeed they could almost be described as one of the 'lost tribes of Britain', so quiet have they been over the centuries. They derive their name from a place originally known as 'the lands of Rintoul', in the parish of Orwell, Kinrossshire. It is said that the early charters refer to an 'enclosed estate' which between the years 1362 and 1640, bore the name 'Rentoule', but no surname recordings are to be found from the period. What is certain is that the surname when eventually it was recorded, has an epicentre, at the villages of Orwell and Cleish, in Kinross. It is said that some nameholders claim French-Huguenot descent, but this does not seem likely. The name, at least not in this spelling, is not seemingly recorded in France, and the first known recording dates preceed the Huguenot period by sometime. Examples of the surname recordings include John Rintoul, who married Martha Rid at Orwell, on December 20th 1695, Richard Rantoul, a witness at St Botolophs without Aldgate, London, on February 5th 1764, and Elizabeth Rentoll, christened at the church of St Katherine's by the Wardrobe, London, on May 16th 1772. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Alexander Rentowle, which was dated 1642, in the records of the county of Kinross, during the reign of King Charles 1, known as 'The Martyr', 1625 - 1649. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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