MR. RENWICK, Depute Town Clerk of Glasgow, is a native of Peeblesshire, born in 1841, and educated latterly at the burgh school. For some years he was in the office of a firm of law agents, who transacted much of the public business of the county, but in 1865 he obtained an appointment from the late Sir James Marwick, then Town Clerk of Edinburgh, and so formed an official connection which, continued in Glasgow, lasted till the retirement of Sir James in 1903. Some years before 1865 Sir James had begun those historical researches with which his name is so prominently associated, and which have done so much to augment our knowledge of the municipal institutions of the country. In the prosecution of this work, especially after the formation of the Scottish Burgh Records Society in 1868, assistance was obtained from Mr. Renwick, and the value of his services is attested by many cordial acknowledgments. Finding such pursuits congenial, Mr. Renwick has from time to time engaged in historical investigations on his own account. But before noticing these it may be mentioned that having acquired the necessary qualifications, including attendance on the law classes at Edinburgh University, he was admitted a Notary Public in 1874, and that since 1873 he has had charge of the Conveyancing Department of the Town Clerk's office in Glasgow. In 1885 he was appointed a Depute Town Clerk, and succeeded Mr. Cunninghame, who then retired, as Keeper of the Burgh Register of Sasines. In this register all transfers of property situated within the ancient royalty of Glasgow are recorded, it being in fact the continuation, adapted to modern requirements, of the 16th century Protocol Books, abstracts of which, edited by Mr. Renwick, were published a few years ago.
While the Burgh Records Society were passing through the press their volume of Charters and Records relating to Peebles, a volume which, according to Dr. William Chambers, its editor, owed its existence mainly to Mr. Renwick, the latter was contributing to a local newspaper a continuation series of extracts from Peebles records embracing the period 1652-1714. On the publication of the Burgh Record volume in 1872, Mr. Renwick contributed to the same newspaper an analytical summary of its contents. Besides occasional newspaper and magazine articles, Mr. Renwick's other publications relating to the burgh and shire of Peebles are the following:- (1) Gleanings from the Records of the Burgh of Peebles, 1604-53, published in 1892; (2) Historical Notes on Peeblesshire Localities, published in 1897; (3) Aisle and Monastery: St. Mary of Geddes Aisle in the Parish Church and the Church and Monastery of the Holy Cross of Peebles, published in 1897; (4) Peebles: Burgh and Parish in Early History, published in 1903; and (5) Peebles during the Reign of Queen Mary, also published in 1903. In 1897 the Town Council of Peebles conferred on Mr. Renwick the freedom of the Burgh "in recognition of his services in Historical Research, and specially in connection with the Records of the Burgh of Peebles."
In 1884 Mr. Renwick, at the request of the Town Council of Stirling, edited a volume of Charters and other Documents relating to that Burgh, A.D. 1124-1705. The issue of that volume induced the late Sir Michael Connal and Mr. J. Guthrie Smith, prominent members of the Glasgow Stirlingshire and Sons of the Rock Society, to organise a scheme for the further publication of the Burgh's Records under the same editorship. This resulted in the issue of two volumes of "Extracts from the Records of the Royal Burgh of Stirling," (1) 1519-1666, published in 1887, and (2) 1667-1752, published in 1889. In 1893 Mr. Renwick edited a volume of "Extracts from the Records of the Royal Burgh of Lanark, with Charters and Documents relating to the Burgh, A.D. 1150-1722."
Our knowledge of the City of Glasgow, in its historical and Archaeological aspects, has been considerably enlarged by the "Abstracts of Protocols of the Town Clerks of Glasgow" (1530-1600), which were issued in 11 thin volumes between the years 1894 and 1900. For genealogical and topographical purposes these books are of the highest value, while they also contain much that throws light on the social manners and customs of the citizens. "Historical Glasgow," forming the leading part of one of the Handbooks compiled in connection with the British Association's meeting in 1901, embodies a concise sketch of the city's progress from early till modern times. Advantage has here been taken of the recent publication of charters and records to correct and supplement the work of previous local historians who had not always the opportunity of access to authentic sources of information. "The Barony of Gorbals," contributed to The Regality Club in 1900, contains a full historical account of an interesting suburb of Old Glasgow, while "The Archi-episcopal Temporalities in the Regality of Glasgow," contributed in 1906, embodies much useful information derived from original sources.
At the Old Glasgow Exhibition of 1894, Mr. Renwick was entrusted with the arrangement and cataloguing of exhibits in the Charters and Manuscripts Section. "Scottish History and Life," published in 1902, was mainly based on materials supplied by the Loan Collection in the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1901, and to that work Mr. Renwick contributed the article on "Scottish Burghal Charters." Tonewspapers and other periodicals he is also an occasional contributor, chiefly on historical and Archaeological subjects connected with Glasgow. Glasgow Records, 1663-90, issued in 1905, and Glasgow Charters, 1649-1707 (with appendix 1434-1648), issued in 1906, were under the joint editorship of Sir James Marwick and Mr. Renwick. A continuation volume of Glasgow Records brings the series of extracts down to the year 1715, and a volume of "Glasgow Memorials" embodies the result of investigations into some of the more interesting questions connected with local history.
Index of Glasgow Men (1909)