This ancient Scottish name is a locational surname deriving from the place called Renton in the parish of Coldingham, in the former county of Berwickshire. The placename means "settlement associated with Raegen or Rein", from a shortened form of various Old English pre 7th Century compound personal names with the first element "regen", govern, with "tun", homestead settlement. The Rentons of Renton were hereditary foresters of Coldingham in the reign of William the Lion, and the Richard Renton recorded below is also recorded as "Ricardus forestarius". The Rentons were an influential family of burgesses in Berwick during the 14th Century; John de Rainton or Rayneton, burgess and collector of customs in Berwick from 1325, received a charter of lands in Kirklambirton in circa 1332. One William, son of William and Elspeth Renton, was christened at Cockburnspath, Berwickshire, on December 6th 1668. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ricardus de Reningtona, which was dated circa 1190, Historial Manuscripts of Scotland, during the reign of King William the Lion, King of Scotland, 1165 - 1214. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as 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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