Main Street, Renton
Renton, known locally as "The Renton", is a village in Dunbartonshire; a place of just over two thousand souls.
Renton is particularly famous for the village's association football side. Renton FC was one of the 11 founder members of the Scottish Football League and winners of the 1885 and 1888 Scottish Cup, producing many famous players.
The Renton takes its name from Cecilia Renton (daughter-in-law of Tobias Smollett) after whom the modern sandstone, 'model' village was named in 1762. Dalquhurn Bleachworks in 1715 and Cordale Printworks in 1770 were responsible for attracting new industrial workers. At the north of the village stood the Place of Bonhill, a residence from 1642, to the South was Dalquhurn House.
Two parallel north-south streets, Main Street and Back Street were first joined by Station Street, Stirling Street, Burns Street, Thimble Street, Market Street and Red Row. In late Victorian times, the village extended southwards to Leven Street, Alexander Street and John Street. Further expansion occurred in the 1930s as housing was built in the grounds of Cordale House.
In the early 1960s the majority of the sandstone properties in the village were compulsory purchased by Dumbarton County Council, demolished and replaced by with Brutalist-style concrete houses and flats. The majority of these have since been replaced by proper houses, with their own front and back doors, by the Cordale Housing Association.
Renton has traditionally been a stronghold of radical left-wing politics; during the 1930s it had Communist councillors, Buster Lamont, never toed the Labour Party line and independent councillors such as Jimmy McKenzie (1960/70s), and since 1999 it has been represented on the council by Jim Bollan, at present the Scottish Socialist Party's only councillor.
Renton lies on the main road, A82 as was, between Alexandria and Dumbarton. Renton railway station is on the line from Glasgow to Balloch. It has a footbridge across the River Leven to the Strathleven Industrial Estate (once a major source of employment), and a minor road, with a steep 33% hill, across Carman Hill to Cardross.
Robert the Bruce's Palace
Despite a report that appeared in The Observer on Sunday 22 February 2009 stating that the buried ruins of the castle of Robert the Bruce had been found in the Pillanflatt area of Renton, this interpretation has yet to be confirmed. While there is strong evidence from charters to indicate the presence of a manor or hunting lodge belonging to Bruce in the area, this is more likely to have been located in the vicinity of Mains of Cardross, to the south of the Pillanflat, rather than in the area to the north of it. Stone, plaster and mortar are not generally susceptible to scientific dating techniques, and lime mortar was used from the Roman period up to the late 19th or early 20th centuries.
According to Bruce Historian Stuart Smith, a charter dating from 1362 charter states that Robert the Bruce resided between Kings Park of Cardross and the lands of Pillanflatt, bounding the lands of Dalquhurn. This would suggest a site to the south of the Pillanflat, but to the north of Castle Park, in the vicinity of what is now Mains of Cardross.
In recent times, Renton has seen some major social regeneration most notably, although not restricted to, housing; Much of this can be attributed to Cordale Housing Association, who have revitalised what was a severely deprived area. The committed work of community activists such as Cllr Jim Bollan and Archie Thomson MBE also contributed to the redevelopment of Renton. The community spirit of Renton really does produce remarkable characters, as the history books show. True character in the village still remains in the shape of Tom Swan's sweet shop.
The Village maintains a strong character and identity. People from the village are both widely regarded and known as both Rentonians and from "THE Renton".
Renton FC won the World Cup in 1888, when the footballing world was in its infancy and played almost exclusively by British clubs. It was a World Cup Championship by default – nevertheless Renton's claim is undisputed. They won the Scottish Cup with a 6-1 thrashing of Cambuslang FC. They then beat cup-holders West Bromwich Albion, who had prepared in Scotland for two weeks. The score was 4-1 in front of a record 10,000 fans at Hampden Park. Renton endorsed their title with an away win against "The Invincibles" of Preston North End. A "Champion of the World" sign was proudly displayed on the pavilion at Tontine Park. They were ahead of their time in training for stamina and strength. Their weapon was Renton's own famous "chicken bree", the ingredients never disclosed but it was probably port wine switched with a couple of eggs administered daily.
Quoiting (pronounced kiteing) was a popular sport amongst the male villagers. Quoiting greens were found in Renton, Alexandria, Hardgate and many Ayrshire villages. Quoits were heavy iron rings, rounded on one side, flat on the other and weighed 8-12 pounds but could be up to 23 pounds. They were hurled at a steel pin driven into a three-foot square clay bed, with the common length of the green being 18 yards. Renton were Scottish Champions in 1949 and 1986. There is a photograph of the victorious 1949 team in Renton Railway Station.
There are several recreational and consumer related facilities in Renton. Such as the ma centre, a new mini supermarket and healthy living centre, and of course Tom Swans Sweet Shop along with a bakery, florist, pub, bowling green, freemasons lodge. Tontine Park is also used most Saturdays and Sundays for football games.It is home to local youth football team Renton Youth, renton craigandro and renton amateurs.
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- Kelbie, Paul (22 February 2009). "Lost and found: 14th century palace of Robert the Bruce in West Dunbartonshire". Science. The Observer (Guardian). http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/feb/22/robert-the-bruce-palace-remains. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
- Jim Murphy (28 September 2007). Renton: Between the Wars 1914-18 and 1939-45. Carman Centre. ISBN 978-0-9557511-0-3.