In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Renfrewshire like this:
Renfrewshire, maritime co., in SW. of Scotland, bounded N. by the river Clyde and Dumbartonshire, E. by Lanarkshire, S. by Ayrshire, and W. by the Firth of Clyde; greatest length, NW. and SE., 31 miles; greatest breadth, NE. and SW., 14 miles; area, 150,785 ac., pop. 263,374. The principal streams, all flowing to the Clyde, are the Black Cart, the White Cart, and the Gryde. The surface in the S. and SW. parts of the co. is hilly, and somewhat bleak and moorish; it thence undulates to the banks of the Clyde, along which there is some rich and lowlying land. ...
(For agricultural statistics, see Appendix.) Coal, ironstone, and lime-stone are abundant; copper ore occurs near Gourock and Lochwinnoch. The principal industries, besides mining and agriculture, are the mfr. of cotton and thread, sugar-refining, and shipbuilding. The co. comprises 20 pars, with parts of 4 others, the parl. and police burghs of Greenock (1 member), Paisley (1 member), and Port Glasgow and Renfrew (part of the Kilmarnock Burghs), the police burghs (suburban of Glasgow) of Crossbill, Kinning Park, Pollokshields, and Pollokshields East, and the police burghs of Gourock, Johnstone, and Pollokshaws. For parliamentary purposes the co. is divided into 2 divisions - viz., Eastern and Western - each returning 1 member. The representation of the county was increased from 1 to 2 members in 1885.
For an overview of how the county has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern of Renfrewshire -- but you should check this covers the area you are interested in.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Renfrewshire | Map and description for the county, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 09th December 2013
Click here for more detailed advice on finding places within A Vision of Britain through Time, and maybe some references to other places called "Renfrewshire".