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THIS county lies south of the Clyde, opposite to Dumbartonshire,
and divided from Argyllshire by the Firth of Clyde, being
bounded on the south by Ayrshire and east by Lanarkshire; it
extends from north-west to south-east about 30 miles, by 10 to
15 broad, and comprises 153,332 acres, or 239.6 square miles of
land and 2,794 of water; it is a large trading and manufacturing
centre, and contained in 1891 a population of 290,798, and in
1901, 268,432, viz: males, 129,862, and females, 138,569. Parts
of the county have been transferred to Lanarkshire and Ayr-
shire, and part of Lanarkshire to Renfrewshire, under the
"Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1889." The county in size
is the twenty-eighth, and in population the fourth, of the
counties of Scotland.
Early History. — When the Roman invaders advanced In A.D.
80 from the Solway Firth, this district was occupied by the
*' Damnii," a British tribe; the principal Roman station was
established near where Paisley now stands, and called "Vanduara,
which was an outwork to the left flank of the great wall of
Antonine. After the retreat of the Romans in 410, the Cumbrian
Britons, with a capital city at Alclyde (Dumbarton), retained a
hold on all the country west of the Lothians, which they held
until 756, and in 1097 this part was regularly incorporated with
the Scottish kingdom under Edgar. In the reign of David 1.
Walter, the son of Alan, fled from Shropshire during the
troublous conflicts of Maud and Stephen, and settled in the
district, where David I. made him steward and gave him lands
to support the dignity of his office. Besides these possessions,
he subsequently acquired the whole district of Strathgryfe and
the western half of Kyle, in Ayrshire, which hence was called
Kyle Stewart. Such was the manner in which the first of the
royal family of Stewart settled in Scotland. At this period the
country in this quarter was in a semi-barbarous state, but
Walter the Stewart introduced new and civilised usages. He
settled many of his military followers on his lands, and by
founding the abbey of Paisley, introduced a body of instructed
men, who taught the ancient people domestic arts and foreign
manners. For several centuries this district formed a portion of
Lanarkshire. In 1404 Robert III. created a principality, con-
sisting of the barony of Renfrew and the whole of the Stewart's
^estates, with the earldom of Carrick and the barony of King's
Kyle, all of which he granted, in a free regality, as a provision
for his son James ; and this principality continued, in after
â– times, the appropriate appanage of the eldest sons of the Scot-
tish monarchs. In consequence of these arrangements, the
identity of the barony of Renfrew and the shire of Lanark was
'dissolved, and the former placed under the jurisdiction of a
separate sheriff. Baron Renfrew is at the present time one of the
titles of H. R. H. the Prince of Wales. At Langside, in the
extreme east of the county, was fought, 1568, the battle so fatal
to Queen Mary, and ending in her flight to England.
Soil, Produce and Manufactures.— The soil of the county is
-very much diversified. In those parts of the high grounds
which are not covered by heath and moss, a fine light soil on a
gravelly substratum is generally found. In the portion com-
.posL'd of detached hills the surface is a thin earth, based nn
gravel; and in the level districts the plough or spade sinks
through a deep, rich brown loam. More than one-half of the
shire, comprehending the west and south-east portions, is hilly,
and devoted to pasture. The cultivated districts comprise the
Ttorth, the north-east, and the centre of the county, and consist
partly of low elevations, and partly of a level tract of rich loam
between Paisley and the river Clyde. The hilly part varies
in elevation from 500 to 1,250 feet; Misty Law, the hill of great-
est altitude in the shire, is 1,663 feet high. Owing to the great
•demand in this county for dairy produce, and that also of the
;garden and the fold (arising from the vicinity of large and
populous towns), nearly one-half of the land in the shire is kept
under grass. Nevertheless the system of agriculture is of the
most advanced kind, the crops in general being excellent, and
comprising wheat, oats, beans, turnips and potatoes, of which
latter great quantities are grown for Glasgow and the markets
of other large towns.
The chief crops, as shewn by the " Agricultural Returns for
Great Britain, 1902," was: oats, 10,676 acres; wheat, 1,503;
beans, 224; total *orn crops, 12,596 acres ; potatoes, 3,083
acres; turnips and swedes, 2,191; cabbage &c. 366; total green
crops, 5,798; hay, 19,115 acres; clover, eainfoin and grasses
(not for hay), 11,-450 acres; permanent pasture, 42,138 acres.
The total area of land is 153,332 acres of which 35,771 are
mountain and heath land (used for grazing), and 94,103 woods
and plantations. The live stock in 1902 comprised: 2.673
horses uspd solely for agriculture and brood mares; unbroken
horses, G82 ; cows and heifers in milk and in calf, 17,243; other
cattle. 9,803; ewes kept for breeding, 16,634; other sheep,
23,255; sows kept for breeding, 96; other pigs, 1,046.
The minerals are of considerable value, coal, limestone, iron-
stone and sandstone abounding in various parts of it; the first-
named being wrought principally in the neighbourhoods of
Renfrew, Bishopton, Quarrelton, Nitshill, Neilston, and other
places. The production of fire-clay in 1901 was 65,351 tons,
value £11,436; of coal, 2,346 tons, value £762; of iron ore,
125,553 tons, value £43,944; of oil shale, 446 tons; other
minerals raised in 1901 were, barytes, 1,070 tons; gravel and
sand, 6,671 tons; igneous rocks, 64,297 tons; limestone, 37,803
tons ; sandstone, 74,489. In point of commercial and manu-
facturing importance this county is second only to that of
Lanark, and with it unites in constituting the great manu-
facturing dstricts of Scotland. The goods produced are chiefly
of cotton and silk, including, amongst various articles and
fabrics, shawls of infinite diversity in texture and price. Whilst
Paisley is the head-quarters of the trade in these articles, the
business of weaving is pursued, to a greater or less extent, in
almost every town, village and hamlet. Another important
branch is the manufacture of sewing cotton, which is carried on
very extensively at Paisley. Besides those already mentioned,
there are numerous bleachfields, calico and shawl printing works,
dyeworks, immense flax-spinning mills, linen thread, sailclokh,
paper, starch, and earthenware manufactories,' large iron
foundries, engineering, ship and boat building works, distilleries,
breweries, sugar refineries, and many other branches of commerce
of a varied and important character. The free export of manu-
factured goods is promoted by the different seaports on the
CIvde, especiallv Greenock, by which also foreign produce is
imported. The Forth and Clyde canal connects this county with
many other shires. The fishing and general shipping trade is
centred at Greenock, under which place particulars are given.
Rivers, Lakes and Railwavs. — The principal streams are the
White Cart, the Black Cart, and the Gryffe, all of which ulti-
mately unite and fall into the Clyde below Inchinnan Bridge;
that is, about half-wav down the river between Glasgow and
Port Glasgow. The White Cart (which, by way of distinction,
is generally denominated the Cart) rises at Eaglesham, in this
county, and in the high grounds of East Kilbride, in Lanark-
shire; and, passing Paisley in its course, joins the Gryffe at
Inchinnan Bridge. The Black Cart issues from the loch of
Castle Semple, in Lochwinnoch parish, and flowing northward
falls in with the Gryffe at Walkinshaw. The Gryffe rises in the
high grounds above Largs, and flows eastward until it meets
the Black Cart; the Gryffe bestows the name of Strathgryfe
upon the vale through which it flows. The lake3 are Castle
Semple Loch, Queenside Loch (in the parish of Lochwinnoch),
two lochs in Neilston parish, and several smaller ones. The
first-named (Castle Semple) is situate in the southern border of
the county; its banks are beautifully wooded in some places,
and it contains a small island, on which stand the ruins of a
castle. The Glasgow and Kilmarnock branch of the Glasgow
and South Western railway runs through the eastern portion of
the county, via Barrhead, leaving it at Lugton, the Caledonian
railway running a line over the same ground, as far as Pollock-
shaws and thence trending eastward to East Kilbride, while
through the centre of the county, by Paisley, Johnstone and
Beith to Ayr, runs the main line of the Glasgow and South
Western, with a branch from Paisley northward to Renfrew,
and one from Johnstone by Bridge of Weir to Greenock. The
Caledonian railway runs a line through Paisley and along the
south bank of the Clyde, to Port Glasgow and Greenock, with
a branch via Upper Greenock to Wemyss Bay, and the line
from Glasgow to Yoker cuts through the north-east angle of
the county. The Caledonian Railway Company are now (1903)
constructing a branch from Giffnock on the Bothwell and
Pollockshaws section to Dunlop on the Kilmarnock branch, and
one from near Giffnock to Houston on the Greenock branch.
Divisions, Representation &c. — Renfrewshire comprehends 14
entire, and parts of 2 civil parishes and 35 ecclesiastical
parishes, with parts of 14 others. It contains two representative
burghs— Port Glasgow and Renfrew — which join with Ruther-
glen, Dumbarton and Kilmarnock in returning one member to
Parliament. Greenock and Paisley each send a representative,
and the county, under the " Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885,"
is separated into the East and West Divisions, and returns two
members, instead of one as formerlv. The Parliamentary con-
stituency in 1903 was:— East Division, 13,682; West Division,
Eastern Division, Michael Hugh Shaw-Stewart esq. D.L., J. P.
Carnock, Larbert, Stirlingshire; & 20 Mansfield street W &
Carlton club, Pall mall S W, London
Western division, Sir Charles Bine Renshaw hart. F.R.G.S.,
D.L., J. P. Barochan, Houstoun ; Garvocks, Greenock; & 82
Cadogan square S W & Carlton club, Pall mall S W & Garrick
club, Garrick street W C, London

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