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Trip Planner Europe  /  UK  /  Scotland  /  Renfrewshire  /  Renfrew


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Renfrew HistoryThe name Renfrew comes from the Old British rhyn frwd meaning "point at the current"; the River Cart enters the Clyde by the town. Renfrew's recorded history began with the granting of land in the area to Walter fitz Alan, the High Steward of Scotland by King David I in the 12th century. The strategic location of this castle was to prevent the eastern expansion of the lordship belonging to Somerled, the Lord of the Isles, and to protect western Scotland from Norse invaders. Eventually the hereditary title of High Steward came to form the surname Stewart.Renfrew Castle was situated in what is now part of the well-known Braehead shopping complex. It was located on the King's inch or King's island. This location both added to the castle's defences but also added to its strategic positioning on the Clyde. Many street names close to this area demonstrate the survival of knowledge of this citadel. 'Orchard Street' is a reference to the royal orchards for example.Later in the 12th century, King Malcolm IV, grandson of David, finally demanded Somerled's fealty. In 1164, Somerled sailed to Renfrew and attacked an assembling Scottish army in a conflict known as the Battle of Renfrew. The outcome was a defeat of the Lordship of the Isles and the death of Somerled. The Lords of the Isles were eventually stripped of their lands and titles in 1493, as a consequence of conspiring with an earlier King of England (Edward IV) to overthrow the Scottish monarchy. Since that time, "Lord of the Isles" - as with "Baron of Renfrew" - has been a courtesy title of the heir to the throne and both are currently held by The Prince Charles, heir to Queen Elizabeth II.
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