The RENNIE'S were extensive owners of land in the district of Craig in Angus from the middle of the 15th century. Symon Renny was bailie of Inverkeithing in 1362. John Rayny was the burgess of Stirling in the year 1436, and Andro Renny a follower of the earl of Cassilis was respited for murder in 1526. Herbert Rainie sat in Parliament for Dumfries in 1572, and was provost of the burgh at that time, and afterwards until 1592. Notable members of the name mention John Rennie (1761-1821) the famous engineer was born in East Lothian. He set up in London in 1791, as an engineer and soon became famous for building the Kelso, Leeds, Musselburgh, Boston and the old Southwark and Waterloo Bridges and planning London Bridge. His second son Sir John (1794-1874) completed London Bridge to his father's design in 1831. The name has many variant spellings which include Rainy, Rainnie and Renny. The first people in Scotland to acquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial. Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles. Before the 1066 Conquest names were rare in England, the few examples found were mainly adopted by those of the clergy or one who had taken holy orders. In 1086 the conquering Duke William of Normandy commanded the Domesday Book. He wanted to know what he had and who held it, and the Book describes Old English society under its new management in minute detail. It was then that surnames began to be taken for the purposes of tax-assessment. The nobles and the upper classes were first to realise the prestige of a second name, but it was not until the 15th century that most people had acquired a second name. The associated arms are recorded in Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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