Renews is located just south of Fermeuse on the eastern Avalon Peninsula in the region known as the Southern Shore. It was referred to by the French explorer Jacques Cartier in 1536 as "Hable Rougnose." The name "Renews" is believed to have been derived from the word "rogneux," which means a "rugged or scrappy shor". As with many other communities in the area, Renews was originally used in the 16th and 17th centuries as a seasonal fishing station by European migratory fishers from Portugual, France and England. Permanent settlement of the area was proposed as early as 1610 by the London and Bristol Company of England. However their plans were delayed due to the reported presence of the pirate Peter Easton. Renews was subsequently settled and became the new home for the residents of the failed colony of Aquaforte in 1618. Although the majority of the settlers during the 17th and 18th centuries were of English origin, by the 19th century significant numbers of people of Irish descent settled in the region.
While visiting Renews in 1951, Leach collected songs from the following members of the community: