Recorded in several forms including Rensale, Renshell, Rinshell and Ringsell, this is an English surname. It is locational from a now "lost" medieval hamlet which at various times was recorded as Ravenshaw or even Rainshaw, the modern spelling being 'dialectal'. This hamlet was a township within the parish of Prestbury in East Cheshire, although it seems to have disappeared before the 17th Century. The origination is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Raven", a personal name of considerable popularity, plus the suffix "shaw", a wood. These habitational surnames were amongst the first developed surname forms, and equally they rapidly developed variant spellings as the nameholders moved away from their original villages. In the case of this name the variants also developed because the townships had ceased to exist, so there were few definable spelling links. The early recordings include, in 1561 Sir Rauffe Renshae who was buried at Prestbury and presumably the same as below; whilst Alice Raynshawe of Prestbury appears in the Wills List of 1570, John Rainshaw of Sale in 1647, and John Renshell of Mobberley, Cheshire, given as being a yeoman in 1661. All had their wills registered at the county town of Cheshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sir Ralph Renshae, which was dated 1547 - 1553. He was also the Vicar of Potte, in East Cheshire, during the reign of King Edward V1, known as "The Boy King", 1648 - 1654. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was 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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