The Rennies of Phantassie

The final lecture in the Antiquarian and Field Naturalists Society Winter Programme was an illustrated lecture entitled The Rennies of Phantassie It was given in the Church of Prestonkirk on Tuesday 18th March by Joy Dodd to an appreciative audience.

Firstly Mrs Dodd traced the background of the name in Prestonpans in the 16th century and the family from James Rennie a slater at Prestonpans c 1680 through to James Rennie [b 1719 ] who came to Phantassie. In 1742 George Rennie of Auldhame and his son James were granted a lease of Phantassie for 21 years and James, then 23 started farming there. From this beginning and with various difficulties the Rennies made an important contribution to Scottish agriculture at Phantassie both as tenants and owners. James’s son George Rennie developed Phantassie into one of the finest farms in the county.The lives of other members of the family were explored. Passing reference only was made to John Rennie the civil engineer who had been commemorated by the society in 2011.In 1840 George Rennie, Junior renounced his rights and the trustees sold the estate to William Mitchell-Innes.

The talk was developed from the article ‘The Most skilful and successful agriculturists; the Rennies of Phantassie’ by Bill and Joy Dodd in vol 24 of the Society’s Transactions [2013]

The next event in the programme will be the annual dinner in the Maitlandfield Hotel on 11th April when the speaker will be Andrew Coulson who will give a talk on the work of the Pinkie Cleuch Battlefield Group.