Howwood location map
Located approximately 6 miles south-west of Paisley.
The name "Howwood" means "hollow in the wood", and in the past the village was sometimes called "Hollowood". The population numbered just a few hundred throughout the 18th century and most of the 19th century. Since the 1970s, new housing has increased the population to around 1500 today.
The remains of Elliston Castle can still be seen in Howwood. Elliston Castle was a strong tower-house with walls measuring six to nine feet thick, and was once the home of the Semple family. Other old
village landmarks include the Howwood Inn built around 1770, and Howwood Parish Church, built around 1859 and formerly known as Elliston Chapel.
The main industry in Howwood for many years was bleaching. Bleaching was an essential part of the textile process, and was carried out in Bowfield and Midtownfield bleaching works. When the bleaching works were first established they bleached the wicks of candles, then moved on to the bleaching of thread from the huge thread factories of Paisley, and latterly to cotton fabrics. The last bleaching works closed in the 1960s, and the Bowfield site is now a country club.
Newtown of Beltrees, a small hamlet close to Howwood, is sometimes called "Glenhead", which is the name of a local farm. The lands of Beltrees belonged to the Semple family and once contained a castle. Unfortunately no traces of Beltrees castle remain.
In the 18th century the children of
Beltrees attended school in Lochwinnoch. Frequent flooding of the road often made
it difficult to get there, and so a school
for Beltrees was built. The school
remained in use until around 1924, and
the old schoolhouse still stands. In this photograph the schoolteacher chats while the children line up to go into the school.
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