Church of England Diocese of Newcastle Rennington and Rock

History of Rennington Village

A Brief History of Rennington Village

Rennington Parish extended much further to the West in ancient times, extending to Alnwick Moor or Aydon Forest together with land extending to Heiferlaw. Rennington and Rock were very much separate villages in times past, being in different land ownerships.

Stamford and Broxfield were considered hamlets in their own right.

In 1267 a survey of Rennington recorded several freeholds in the Township: Philip De Broxfield held 40 acres, Everard Freeman held 24 acres, Hugh De Broxfield held 120 acres and Richard De Broxfield held 48 acres.

In 1290 land near Heckley became the property of Alnwick Abbey and in 1335 the estate in Broxfield was given to the Canons of Alnwick Abbey.

Rennington and Broxfield were owned separately until shortly after 1414 when the land was transferred to the Percy family and being part of the Barony of Alnwick held by The Earl of Northumberland.

Rennington and Rock both suffered by raids from Scots and some of these depredations were recorded in 1574 and 1576.

A survey by the Earl of Northumberland Estate in 1622 records:

'the mannor and towne of Rennington is parcell of the barony of Alnwicke situated in Bamburgh ward 'in a good soyle both for corne and grasse'.

It is recorded that land was divided enclosed in 1720 and 1762 so as to improve the conditions of the tenants and allow them to practice more modern methods of farming.

Henry Ogle, the Schoolmaster and Parish Clerk at Rennington, together with John Common of Denwick were considered to be the inventors of the reaping machine being extensively adopted in America and exhibited by McCormick at the Great Exhibition in 1851.

The old village school was replaced in 1894 by a new school (now the Village Hall) for 60 children and then further extended about 10 years later to accommodate the increased number of children in the Parish, then 120. The pupil roll fell slowly then rapidly when middle schools were brought into use. The school finally closed in 1982 with only 6 pupils on the roll.

In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Rennington like this:

RENNINGTON, a township-chapelry in Embleton parish, Northumberland; ¾ of a mile W by N of Little Mill r. station, and 3¾ N E by N of Alnwick. Post-town, Chathill. Acres, 1,812. Rated property, £ 1,680. Pop., 263. Houses, 51. The property belongs to the Duke of Northumberland. The living is a p. curacy in the diocese of Durham. Value, £ 86. Patron, the Vicar of Embleton. The church is recent; and was preceded by an ancient chapel, originally connected with Lindis-farne priory. There is a national school.

The above was written with reference to The Northumberland Village Book, written by members of the Northumberland Federation of Women's Institutes and published by Countryside Books.

To Present Times

From earliest times this has been an agricultural area, for the name Rennington is derived from the Anglo-Saxon - the farm of Regna's people. Until recent years almost the entire population was employed on the farms. In 1618, in addition to Tristram Philipson's farm, there were two freehold and twelve tenement farms. Tenants were bound to plough a 'yoakinge' of the demesne at Alnwick Castle, to bring lime for repairs and straw for the castle stables. They also had to provide two pecks of oats to feed the bailiff's horses, and still, today, a large area of the village is part of the Duke of Northumberland's estate.

Although there are some new houses, including a small estate on the edge of the village, Rennington has changed little in general plan during the last 300 years. To the south east of the village there stood a wood of oak trees. This part was called Hockwood, a name which is now recognisable in the corrupted form of the Hocket.

The houses, some new built in the 1980's and 2007 along Church Road, others are largely grouped around the village green, with the Victorian school, now used as a village hall, in a prominent position, and the earlier, original school and schoolmaster's house converted to a private residences.