Legend has it that William Wallace and his men camped at what is now Roebank reservoir to the south of Bowfield.
They then marched the mile or so across the Lands of Bowfield to nearby Elliston Castle where they faced the enemy. The ruins of the castle can still be seen today, at the foot of the Linister Road (sharp left at end of Club drive).
The “Bleaching Fields” were established by John Wilson and Patrick Campbell in the Eighteenth Century on the Lands of Bowfield on what was originally the site of the West Muirdykes Farm steading.
In the late nineteenth century, as the textile industry expanded in Renfrewshire, Bowfield provided the smog – free air and spring water so vital to the grass bleaching process. Fabrics were laid out to bleach in the sun on the grass fields. Substantial premises were required to cope with the boom as the process modernised and moved “indoors”! Bowfield then employed over 200 people and saw trading on a global scale – as far afield as Karachi and Rangoon.
Changing industrial practices led to a decline in the mid Twentieth Century and in 1958 the mill closed. The property was acquired by Robert Campbell in 1963 and was reverted to agriculture and a stud farm.
Bowfield Riding and Country Club was established in 1976 by the Campbell family, who pioneered the country club concept in Scotland with the conversion of the disused mill and farm buildings. The clean fresh air of the open countryside was an obvious asset to the location of The Country Club and membership flourished from an original 100 members to today’s 2000.
From being a private club, Bowfield opened to the public when a small hotel wing was developed in the 1990’s. At this time it became part of the Stonefield Castle Group, which had varied Hotel, Leisure and Tourism interests. Still frequented by Members and Member’s clients, the 23 bed-roomed Hotel has now become popular with the business community of Glasgow and the West of Scotland offering a relaxing haven from city life and being a convenient stop for international travellers.
In 2002 the Club opened an extension to its leisure facilities, with a new Spa, Gymnasium, Exercise Studio and a children’s “Farm Club” – being constructed on the site of the Riding Stables.
Manorview Hotels purchased the Club out of receivership in 2012 and have started on an extensive development program, beginning with the new gym facility opened in late 2012.