RENFREW (anciently Strathgryffe), a co. in Scotland, 31 m. long, by 13 broad, is bounded on the n. and w. by the river and Firth of Clyde, on the s. by Ayrshire, and on the e. and D. by Lanarkshire. Area, 254 sq.m., or 162,428 acres; pop. '61, 177,561; '71, 216,947.
Renfrew is very unequal in its surface, and consequently in the nature and quality of its soil; the highest portion of it, composing two-thirds of its surface, reaches to a height of 1240 ft above the level of the sea, and gradually declines to a level extending to some 12,000 acres. Renfrew was divided in 1815 into the upper and lower wards, with a sheriff-substitute for each. Owing to the great demand for dairy produce in the large towns in or near the county, nearly two-thirds of the arable Lind is kept under grasses. There are extensive mineral deposits in the county, employing a large num ber of people, and constituting a great source of commerce and wealth. The minerals wrought are coal (accompanied always by iron),limestone, and sandstone. In respect of commercial and manufacturing importance Renfrew is second only to Lanark of Scotch counties. The manufacture goods, comprising silk, cotton, and muslin fabrics, is carried on to a great extent. The center of these branches of industry is Paisley; but weaving is carried on in almost every village in the county. The good roads and rail
ways, together with the seaports of Greenock and Port Glasgow, afford ready means of transit both for home and foreign trade. The chief towns, besides these ports, are Ren frew (q.v.), Paisley (q.v.), and Johnstone (q.v.). Besides the Clyde, and some small streams, there are three rivers of considerable size, called the Black Cart, the White Cart, and the Gryffe. Of the whole acreage of Renfrew there were, in 1876, 92,994 acres under all kinds of crops: 18,187 acres were under corn crops, 7,360 under green crops, 18,556 in clover and grasses under rotation, and 48,582 in permanent pasture. There were in the co. in the same year 3,128 houses kept for agricultural purposes, 25,090 cattle, 32,909 sheep, and 1917 pigs. The valued rent in 1674 was £69,172 Scots, or £5,764. The valuation for 1878-79 was £643,906, exclusive of railways and public works, valued at £78,684. The parliamentary constituency, returning one member, in 1878-79 was 5,872.
Renfrew was the chief patrimony of the Stewards of Scotland, granted to them in 1404 by Robert III., since which time the eldest son of the reigning sovereign has borne the title of baron of Renfrew.