Renfrew - Encyclopedia


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RENFREW, a royal, municipal and police burgh and county town of Renfrewshire, Scotland, near the southern bank of the Clyde, 7 m. W. by N. of Glasgow, via Cardonald, by the Glasgow & South-Western and Caledonian railways (5 m. by road). Pop. (1891) 6777; (1901) 9296. Industries include shipbuilding (the construction of dredgers and floating. docks is a speciality), engineering, dyeing, weaving, chemicals and cabinetmaking. The Clyde trust has constructed a large dock here. Renfrew belongs to the Kilmarnock district group of parliamentary burghs (with Kilmarnock, Dumbarton, Rutherglen and Port Glasgow). Robert III. gave a charter in 1396, but it was a burgh (Renifry) at least 250 years earlier. About 1160 Walter Fitzalan, the first high steward of Scotland, built a castle on an eminence by the side of the Clyde (still called Castle Hill), the original seat of the royal house of Stewart. Close to the town, on the site of Elderslie House, Somerled, lord of the Isles, was defeated and slain in 1164 by the forces of Malcolm IV., against whom he had rebelled. In 1404 Robert II. bestowed upon his son James (afterwards James I.) the title of Baron of Renfrew, still borne by the prince of Wales.

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