The surname of RENTON as a locational name 'of Renton' in the parish of Coldingham, Berwickshire. The Rentons of Renton were hereditary foresters of Coldingham in the reign of William the Lion and Ricardus forestarius appears in record as Ricardus de Reningtona. In the 14th century the Rentons were an influential family of burgesses in Berwick. During the 15th century the family terminated in the direct line in a daughter who married Ellem of Ellemsford. Renton in the parish of Cardross, Dumbartonshire was named from Cecelia Renton. The town was founded in 1782. 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. Other instances of the name include Thomas Rentoun who rendered to the Exchequer the accounts of the baillies of North Berwick in 1557, and Archilbald Renton was a notary public in Berwick in the year 1561. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Registered in Lamberton, County Berwick.
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