RENTON, a surname
derived from lands in Berwickshire of that name, forming part of the
barony of Coldingham. In old charters it is spelled Regnintun,
Reignintun, Raynton, &c. The ancient family of Renton of Renton held the
office of forester over the woods of the priory of Coldingham from the
days of William the Lion, and this being hereditary, led them to assume
the name of Forester in preference to that of Renton. In the 15th
century the family ended in a female.
David Renton of Billy in
the Merse, a descendant of the ancient foresters of Coldingham, became,
in the beginning of the sixteenth century, proprietor of the estate of
Lamberton, in the same county. Agnes, daughter of Renton of Billy, was
the first wife of Alexander Lesly, first earl of Leven, the commander of
the covenanting army at Dunse Law in May 1639. The family sold the
estate of Billy about the beginning of the 18th century.
Sir Thomas Renton, M.D.,
second son of William Renton of Moscastle, of the house of Billy, became
so eminent in his day, by his skill in the cure of ruptures, that he was
called to London in 1719, and appointed physician to Chelsea Hospital.
He was knighted by George I., who made him his own physician
extraordinary, and conferred on him a present of £5,000 in money, with a
yearly pension of £500. His majesty also gave orders to Lord Cartaret,
then secretary of state, to cause a patent to be drawn out creating Sir
Thomas a baron of Great Britain, under the title of Lord Renton, but he
declined the peerage. He often attended the king in his journeys to
The Rentons of Lamberton
were in 1836 (Hist. of Coldingham Priory, p. 147) represented by
Alexander Campbell Renton, Esq., grandson of the last lineal descendant,
Lieutenant-colonel Alexander Renton.