Robert Reneger was a 16th century sea captain and privateer, described in a document of 1541 as a merchant of Southampton. He was made a senior steward of the town in 1543 and sheriff in 1546. In 1548 he achieved the position of controller of the port of Southampton. His younger brother John became a burgess in 1542.

According to Richard Hakluyt, Robert was an established trader to Brazil by 1540. He appears to have been a successful merchant, owning at least three ships. Sea captains were often licensed by the monarch to harrass and capture ships of their enemies, and this was probably the case with Reneger. In 1545 he intercepted the Spanish ship San Savadore and made off with her cargo valued at over 29,000 ducats. Later in the same year he commanded three of his own ships in a fleet that was sent against the French navy. These exploits probably made him wealthy enough to buy, in 1548, the manor of Boughton from the Earl of Southampton. He also seems to have owned a property in the town, near to God’s House Hospital. He died in c.1558.


Further reading:
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004, Volume 46


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