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Paisley

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Paisley, a large parliamentary burgh in the Upper Ward of Renfrewshire and in the NE part of the county. It is a seat of important manufactures, a river port, the political capital of the Upper Ward, and the sixth most populous town in Scotland. It stands on both banks of the river White Cart, about 3 miles from its junction with the Clyde, and is in the Abbey parish of Paisley, which has been already noticed. The town has a railway station, used by both the Caledonian and the Glasgow and South-Western railway companies, and by rail is 3 miles SSW of Renfrew, 3 E by N of Johnstone, 7 W by S of Glasgow, 16 ESE of Greenock, and 33½ NNE of Ayr. There is another station to accommodate the district to the W; and on the line occupying the course of the Glasgow and Paisley Canal there is to be a station at Causewayside. Part of the site is a gentle hilly ridge extending westward from the Cart; part is the N side of a similar ridge running parallel on the S, and the rest is partly low ground lying between and around these ridges on the W-bank of the river, and partly an expanse of level ground lying along the E bank. The height of the low ground is about 40 feet above sea-level. The town itself can hardly be said to be pretty or picturesque, but there is good scenery around, and from the rising grounds to the southward good views of the valley of the Clyde, the Kilpatrick Hills and some of the Grampians, of the valley of the Gryfe, and of Gleniffer Braes and many of the scenes of Tannahill's poems, may all be obtained.

The municipal and parliamentary boundary begins on the NW between Candren and East Candren, and passes southward along Candren Burn to North Breidland; from that ESE -to Potterhill, thence NE to beyond Bathgo Hill (135 feet), and from that north-westward to Knock Hill* (84) on the extreme N, whence it strikes back to the starting point. The distance in a straight line from Bathgo Hill- on the E to Breidland on the W is 3 miles, and from Knock Hill on the N to Potterhill on the S is 2¾ miles, but a considerable portion of the area is not built on, the latter part measuring about 2 miles from E to W and 1½ mile from N to S. The town proper consists of the old town, the new town, and a number of suburbs. The old town occupies the chief ridge westward of the Cart, and covers an area of about a mile square. The new town, which stands on the E side of the river, includes the Abbey buildings, and occupies the ground formerly used as the Abbey gardens. It was founded in 1779 by the eighth Earl of Abercorn, and the streets are pretty regularly laid out. The suburbs of Charleston, Lylesland, and Dovesland form an addition to the S of the old town; Maxwelton, Ferguslie, and Millerston form a long straggling extension to the W. Williamsburgh forms a small extension to the E of the new town, and there are other suburbs at Carriagehill, Castle Head, Meikleriggs, and Mossvale. The streets at Wallneuk and Smithhills to the W of the new town were in existence before it, and Seedhills is so old as to have belonged to the original burgh. The straggling nature of the town causes it to occupy more ground than corresponds with the population. The main line of streets runs from E to W along the road from Glasgow by Johnstone to Ayrshire, and the line from E to W bears the names of Glasgow Road, Garthland Street, Gauze Street, Smithhills Street, The Cross, High Street, Well Meadow Street, and Broomlands Street; beyond which is Fergnslie, and further W Elderslie, Thorn, and Johnstone. From the Cross the old irregular Causewayside Street strikes south-south-westward, and from it a long straight street, George Street, passes westward to Broomlands Street he main cross connection between George Street and Causewayside Street is Canal Street. Below the railway station is County Place, and to the N of the line opposite the station is Old Sneddon Street, from the W end of which Back Sneddon Street (E), Love Street (centre), and St James Street and Caledonia Street along the Greenock Road (W) all branch off. Many of the streets of the new town are named from the fabrics used in the manufactures of the town. The streets of the old town are narrow, and still contain many of the old houses of the 17th and 18th centuries, but changes in this respect are rapidly taking place, as may be seen in the widening of High Street and the many new buildings recently erected or still being built along it. On the rising-ground to the S there are a number of detached villas. To the N of the main line of streets is the railway elevated above the level of the streets. The portion to the E of the station is used by both the Caledonian and Glasgow and South-Western companies, but at the station the lines branch off, the Caledonian passing north-westward towards Greenock, and the Glasgow and South - Western west - south - westward, till near Elderslie it sends off a branch north-westward to Greenock, while the main line passes on to Ayrshire. The Glasgow, Paisley, and Johnstone Canal, after having lost a large portion of its trade, has now been converted into a railway. In its palmy days it is said to have carried over 300, 000 passengers a year in its light passenger boats. So late as 1814 the only carriage communication with Glasgow was by a coach, which conveyed the cotton-spinners and yarn merchants to town once a week on the mornings of market days, and brought them home in the evening.

* Knock Hill is the traditional spot where Marjory Bruce, wife of Walter, the High Steward of Scotland, was thrown from her horse and killed (1316); and till 1779 there were remains of a pillar or cross, said to have been erected to mark the place, and known a Queen Blearys Cross, although Marjory never was Queen, and Blear-eye was the name given to her son, afterwards Robert II, and not to herself. The monument was destroyed in the year just mentioned by a farmer. who used the pillar as a door lintel and the stones of the supporting steps to repair a fence.

History.-The derivation of the name is somewhat doubtful. The older forms are Passelet, Passeleth, and Passelay, for which the conjectural derivations have been given of ` the moist pasture-land ' from the British Pasgel-laith, or ` the flat stone shoal ' from the British Bas-leeh or the Gaelic Bas-leae, the latter derivation having reference to the ledge of rock running across the channel of the White Cart near the town. In the 16th century the name was changed into Paslay and Pasley, and in the course of the 18th century it took its present form. Paisley was till very recently looked on as the site of the Roman station of Vanduara, properly Vandogara, mentioned by Ptolemy, the identification resting mainly on the resemblance of the name of the station to the British Gwen-dwr or ` white water, ' which was supposed to have been the name then given to the White Cart. Principal Dunlop, writing in the end of the 17th century, and Crawford, who published his history of Renfrewshire in 1710, both describe Roman remains in the neighbourhood. Principal Dunlop says: - ` At Paisley there is a large Roman Camp to be seen. The prætorium or innermost part of the camp is on the west end of a rising ground, or little hill, called Cap Shawhead, on the south-east descent of which hill standeth the town of Paisley. The prætorium is not very large, but hath been well fortified with three fosses and dykes of earth, which must have been large, when to this day their vestiges are so great that men on horseback will not see over them. The camp itself hath been great and large, it comprehending the whole hill. There are vestiges, on the north side, of the fosses and dyke, whereby it appears that the camp reached to the river Cart. On the north side the dyke goeth alongst the foot of the hill; and if we allow it to have gone so far on the other side, it hath enclosed all the space of ground on which the town of Paisley stands, and it may be guessed to be about a mile in compass. Its situation was both strong and pleasant, overlooking the whole country. I have not heard that any have been so curious as to dig the ground into this prætorium; but when they tread upon it gives a sound as if it were hollow below, where belike there are some of their vaults. Near to this camp, about a quarter of a mile, stand two other rises or little hills, the one to the west, the other to the south, which with this make almost a triangular form, where have been stations for the outer guards. The vestiges of these appear and make them little larger than the prætorium of the other camp of the same form, without any other fortification than a fosse and a dyke. 'The large camp must have been at Oakshawhead, and the outposts at Woodside and Castle Head, but the extension of the town has now obliterated the traces of them. Gordon, in 1725, traced a military road from the great Clydesdale Road at Glasgow, across the Clyde by a ford that remained till 1772, and on to Paisley. In his Celtic Scotland, published in 1876 (Vol. i., p. 73), Dr Skene combats the old view, objecting to the Gwen-dwr theory on the principle that rivers do not change their names, and also giving reasons for thinking that Vandogara was at Loudoun Hill, on the river Irvine in Ayrshire; and so the matter rests.

The first authentic reference to the present place must, therefore, be supposed to be in 1157, when King Malcolm IV. granted a -charter in favour of Walter, the son of Alan, High Steward of Scotland, confirming a gift (not now extant) of certain extensive possessions, which King David had conferred on Walter. Lands called Passeleth formed part of those specified in the grant; and on these lands, on the E bank of the river, Walter founded the famous Abbey of Paisley. No village appears to have been on the lands when the monastery was founded, but the opposite bank was soon occupied by one inhabited by the retainers and ` kindly tenants' of the monks, to whom it belonged. Under the fostering care of the church, and belonging to an abbey specially favoured by the Bruces and Stewarts, it must have thriven, and towards the end of the 15th century it had an opportunity of thriving still more, for Abbot Shaw, who had sided with the rebellious nobles against James III., obtained from the new government in 1488 a charter creating the village of Paisley a free burgh of barony, with ` the full and free liberty of buying and selling in the said burgh, wire, wax, woollen and linen cloths, wholesale or retail, and all other goods and wares coming to it; with power and liberty of having and holding in the same place, bakers, brewers, butchers, and sellers both of flesh and fish, and workmen in the several crafts, . . . likewise to possess a cross and market for ever, every week, on Monday, and two public fairs yearly, for ever; namely one on the day of St Mirren, and the other on the day of St Marnoch; ' and in 1490 the abbot and chapter granted to the magistrates of the burgh in feu-farm the ground on which the old town stands, and certain other privileges. The neighbouring burgh of Renfrew, to which the Paisley people had formerly been subject, looked on all this as an invasion of its privileges, and entered into a series of quarrels with the new burgh, and even went the length of violently seizing goods exposed for sale in order to compel payment of customs. The result of a lawsuit was a decision in favour of the magistrates of Paisley, given, however, on the ground that that town lay within the regality of the abbey, and was not therefore included in the charter granted to Renfrew in 1396, as the regality grant to the abbey was of prior date to that given to the burgh. This settled the matter, and the town remained subject to the abbot, and after the Reformation to the commendator till 1658, when the magistrates purchased the superiority of the town and other privileges from William Lord Cochrane, who was then Lord of Paisley. In 1665 they obtained a royal charter confirming the burgh in its lands and privileges, and in 1690 an act of parliament to allow them to hold two additional fairs. From this time, Paisley, holding directly of the Crown, has had practically all the privileges of a royal burgh, except that down to the passing of the Reform Bill of 1832 it had no direct parliamentary representative. In 1489 King James IV. in the course of his military operations visited the town, and he was here again in 1504 and 1507. It was at Paisley that the Lords of the Congregation assembled in 1565, but on the appearance of the royal troops at Glasgow they moved off to Hamilton. In 1597 there was expectation of a visit from the Queen, and in 1617 James VI. himself made his appearance at the abbey, where he was hospitably entertained; but there is a local tradition that `the bailies supplicated his Majesty not to enter into their bounds, their common burse being then so miserably reduced that they could not entertain him with that sumptuousness befitting their respective estates.' The next visit of a member of the royal family was that paid by the late Duke of Albany, when at Blythswood House, in 1875. In 1588 and again in 2602 the town suffered severely from the plague; and the gates, of which there were then five-one at the Bridge, one at the foot of St Miren Street, one in High Street, one in Moss Street, and one in the School Wynd-were guarded with great vigilance, while no person was allowed to admit any one into the town by the gardens behind the houses. There was another outbreak of plague in 1645. In 1649 the town seems to have furnished a troop of horse for service in the army that was defeated at Dunbar, and subsequently the magistrates again provided six troopers for service against the English-proceedings which procured for the inhabitants the presence of a garrison of Cromwellian soldiers, whose support seems to have been felt as a very heavy burden. Paisley does not seem to have suffered so much as other places in the west during the Covenanting troubles, but the Cross was the scene in 1685 of the death of two farmers named Algie and Park from the neighbouring parish of Eastwood, who were executed for refusing to take the oath of abjuration. They were buried at the Gallowgreen, near the foot of Maxwellton Street; but when it was to be built on in 1779 their remains were removed to Broomlands burying-ground, which now forms part of the cemetery, and an obelisk was there erected to their memory in 1835. Between 1677 and 1697 a considerable number of reputed witches were executed, but none of the cases except that afterwards alluded to are of any general note. With the rest of the west the district hailed the Revolution of 1688 with great eagerness, and furnished its quota to the Renfrewshire men who went to Edinburgh to support the Convention. There is no record of the behaviour of the burgh in connection with the Union in 1707, but in 1715 we find a number of the townsmen binding themselves to raise and maintain a body of men because `considering the immenent danger we are in from the threatned invasion of the Pretender, and the danger from many within our own bossoms that are to joyn with him,. . . it lyes upon all honest men as their indespensable duty to provid tymously for the defence our Soveraign and our own sacred and civile interests.' In August- of the same year a guard of 20 men was set every night, two flags were purchased, and a number of muskets, and 20 men were sent to the Duke of Argyll at Stirling, and one hundred and twenty Paisley Volunteers also joined the expedition against the Macgregors [see Loch Lomond]. During the rebellion of 1745 Paisley raised a company of militia to aid the Hanoverian forces, and was in consequence fined £1000 by Prince Charles Edward when he was at Glasgow, £500 of which was paid. From this time till 1819 the history of the town is connected with the development of trade, but in that year a body of Chartists from Glasgow, who had been attending a great reform meeting at Meiklerigs Moor, attempted to march through the town with flags contrary to an order of the magistrates. The police interfered, and serious rioting ensued, lasting for several days. The Paisley Chartists took an active part in the Unions and in the intended rising on 1 April 1820, and many of them had in consequence to flee -to America. Except the outbreaks of cholera in 1832, 1834, and 1848, and the troubles thereby occasioned, the subsequent history of the place may be said to be trading and municipal.

The town is the `Greysley' of Alexander Smith's story Of Fred Hagart's Household, where the town, as it appeared 50- years ago, and as in some respects it still appears, is thus described: ` Greysley had no variety of occupation. It was to all intents and purposes a weaving town. - During the entire day, in the old-fashioned, crooked side-streets, the monotonous click of the loom and the sharp whir of the shuttle were continually heard. While trade was brisk, Greysley stuck to its work a lived well; when depressed-it stood in groups about the market-place and the corners of the streets, and in the evenings read and argued over the fiercest of political newspapers. Thirty years ago trade was good; and in the spring and summer evenings the weaver, having comfortably dined, bird-nested- or botanised, and later still discussed European and local politics in coxy taverns, went to bed with- the idea that he was the most intelligent of human beings, and that Greysley generally was the axis on which the world revolved. In the eastern extremity of the town was an old abbey with old graves about it, and at night the moon silvered very prettily the broken arches and the fine traceries of the main window. Past the abbey, across the bridge, through the market-place and away westward, ran the principal street, till it disappeared in a sort of open suburb of houses of one story, across whose windowpanes festoons of birds' eggs were hanging, and on whose window-sills flowers were blowing in summer, and where loom and shuttle were constantly heard. In the market-place was an inn, a picture of a ferocious Saracen, with a crooked scimitar, stuck upon the front of it like a hatchment; and on market days, at the open windows, groups of rosy-faced farmers were continually smoking and drinking ale. Beside the inn was a tall steeple, with a dial with gilded hours; and on a parapet beneath the clock, Roman candles were displayed-the grown-up inhabitants could remember-on great occasions, when a prince was born, or when Lord Wellington gained another victory in Spain. Then Greysley had a river which came flowing into it very prettily from the moors; and at the entrance to the town, flanked on either side by flour-mills, where meal was continually flying about, said river tumbled with creditable noise and foam over a ridge of rocks. These rocks were regarded by the inhabitants with pride, and great was the uproar when the river came down after a day's rain, or better still, when a six weeks' frost broke up, and the boards of ice were wedged and jammed and crushed and broken there. The river came into Greysley with a bold look enough, but after its fall over the rocks it lost spirit, and sneaked through the town in a broad, shallow stream, which carters and their horses forded on occasion; at the further end of the town stood a small disconsolate quay, which seemed always waiting for vessels that never came. The scenery around Greysley was distinctly pretty. To the south rose a range of green hills, and one with a taste for the picturesque could hardly employ his time better than by walking to the summit, and sitting down there for an hour. There could he see Greysley at his feet, blurred with smoke, with church spires and one or two tall chimneys sticking out of it. Beyond, the Hawkshead [Glasgow] river on its way to the sea; in the other direction, to the northeast, the great smoky stain of Hawkshead; and if possessed of a glass, he could discern the canal that connected that city with Greysley, and perhaps on its way the long white passage-boat drawn by trotting horses, and the black caps and scarlet jackets of the riders. He would see also woods and an old castle or so, a score of gentlemen's seats, and farm-houses without number, with the yellow stacks of last year yet standing in the comfortable yards. And he would be touched by the silence and movelessness of the mighty landscape, for at the distance of a few miles man is invisible, the noise of his tools is unheard, his biggest cities become smoky ant-hills; and at the distance of a few years!'

Manufactures and Trade.—The grant of erection of Paisley as a burgh of barony is interesting, as giving us some knowledge of the commoner articles then bought and sold in the place, but we have little more indication of them till the close of the 17th century. In 1695 the population is given as 2200, and about the same time Principal Dunlop tells us in his Description of Renfrewshire that by the river `boats came to Paisley with Highland timber and slates-6000 in a boat-fish of all sorts, and return with coal and lime.' There must too have been manufactures by this time, for Crawford, whose History of Renfrewshire was published in 1710, says that `This burgh has a weekly mercat on Thursday, where there is store of provisions. But that which renders this place considerable is its trade of linen and muslin, where there is a great weekly sale in its mercats of those sorts of cloath; many of their inhabitants being chiefly employed in that sort of manufactory.' About the same time Hamilton of Wishaw described Paisley as ` a very pleasant and wellbuilt little town; plentifully provided with all sorts of grain, fruits, coals, peats, fishes, and what else is proper for the comfortable use of man, or can be expected in any other place of the kingdome.' The town then consisted of one principal street (High Street), about half a mile in length, with a few lanes branching off from it.

The free-trade with England opened up by the Union in 1707 tended to develop the manufactures, and comsiderable quantities of imitation striped muslin and linen checks called Bengals were made and disposed of, the latter, however, only in small quantities. By 1730, when the first disastrous effects of the Union had passed off, and the benefit of the free-trade with England and the Colonies had begun to be felt, the linen trade increased greatly, and the maker, instead of selling to wholesale merchants in Glasgow, began to make journeys into England on his own account; while the manufacture of handkerchiefs was mostly replaced by that of goods of lighter texture, some of them plain lawns, others striped with cotton, and others richly figured. This manufacture had, for 1786, a value of £165, 000, but it is now extinct. The manufacture of white sewing thread made from linen yarn and known as ` ounce ' or ` nuns thread ' was introduced in 1722 by Christian Shaw, famous for her connection with the Renfrewshire witches [see Bargarran], and Paisley soon became the chief seat of its production. By 1744 there were 93 thread mills, and by 1791 137 mills turning out goods valued at £60,000 a year, a sum which was afterwards exceeded. Through the action of competition, however, and the introduction of cotton thread, it fell off almost as rapidly as it had risen, and by 1812, Paisley had only 12 mills fully at work making linen thread alone. As, however, the use of linen fell off, that of cotton grew, and the manufacture of cotton thread is now one of the staple industries of the place, giving employment to over 3000 persons, while the thread produced is valued at nearly half a million sterling. About the middle of the 18th century a considerable amount of linen gauze was manufactured, and in 1759, a beginning was made with silk gauze in imitation of that of Spitalfields. The success of this new departure exceeded all expectation, and being vigorously prosecuted, the whole silk-gauze trade was soon centred here, and considerable quantities of goods sent not only to England and Ireland, but also to the Continent. Within the next twenty years silk-gauzes had become the chief manufacture, not only in Paisley but also in Renfrewshire, and this state of matters lasted till 1784, when changes in fashion led to a rapid falling off, very soon ending in the total extinction of the trade for some time. It revived in 1819, but has again declined, and is almost extinct. During the decay of this trade after 1784 the manufacture of muslins was set agoing as a substitute for it, but after a short time of prosperity it too fell off by the removal to Glasgow of the principal manufacturers engaged in it. It is, however, still carried on, though not to a very large extent.

The manufacture of the shawls known as Paisley shawls, for which the town has long been celebrated, was introduced during the best period of the muslin trade, and though at first limited and confined to the manufacture of soft silk shawls, it at length outstripped the muslin, and, branching out in various lines, became for many years one of the leading industries of the town. In consequence, however, of the change of fashion, Paisley plaids have not now been worn for several years, and the trade is consequently not in its former thriving condition. Imitations of India shawls were made in soft silk, in spun silk, in cotton, and in mixtures of the three. Ladies' dresses also were made of the same materials, in the same style of raised work on white grounds with small figured spots. Imitations, likewise. were made in silk of the stripped scarfs and turbans worn by the natives of oriental countries, and called zebras. Closer imitations of real India or Cashmere shawls were next produced from mixtures of fine wool and silk waste. Yet notwithstanding the energy and enterprise displayed, the Paisley manufacturers found to their great astonishment that France could produce shawls superior in quality to those of home manufacture, a result obtained by the use of genuine Cashmere wools. Thus set on their mettle, the home producers also imported their wool, much of it in the form of yarn, while the improved Jacquard loom enabled them to turn out better work. Much cloth, also, for Cashmere shawls and plaids was imported from France and from England merely to be filled up and finished in Paisley. The patterns of the Paisley shawls are contrived with reference to the best patterns of India and France, but with individually characteristic details. Besides these, there are several very extensive starch and corn-flour works, silk-throwing works, bleach works, machine works, chemical works, soap works, dye works, print works, brick works, three large wholesale houses dealing in preserves, and a small shipbuilding yard. Between 1786 and 1791 the Cart was rendered navigable for ships drawing not more than five feet of water; and between 1835 and 1842 attempts were made to deepen and improve it still farther, at a cost of over £20, 000, but not very successfully, a reef of rocks across the bed of the river preventing any great depth from being reached. A scheme for the further improvement of the river is at present (1884) under consideration. The engineers, Messrs Bell & Miller, propose to cut a new channel so as to get rid of the sharp bend near Porterfield; to widen the rest of the present course; to deepen it from 8 to 12 feet; and to construct docks and a graving dock a little below the present h arbour. Between 1838 and 1844 ship-building was vigorously carried on, the swiftest river steamers then on the Clyde having been built at Paisley; and for the Cart must be claimed the honour of having definitely settled the advantage of iron over wood in the construction of ships.

As in all weaving towns, the fluctuations of trade and the consequent disastrous change in the condition of the working-people connected with the manufactures have been very great. The causes may be inferred from what has been said as to the changes in the industries. So many persons were thrown out of employment about 1840 that for a considerable time nearly one-third of the entire population became dependent on public charity, and the depression continued so long and looked so hopeless that many of the artisans emigrated. The number of inhabited houses in 1841 was 10,133, and in 1846 only 9694, showing a decrease of 439, which must have represented about 2000 persons, and in 1847 and 1849 the mortality rose from fever and cholera to nearly 1000 above the average. The whole state of the weavers and the weaving trade has too, since then, been almost totally changed by the introduction of steam power and of large factories. ` Previous to 1818,' says Mr David Gilmour, `when the shawl branch of our local industry was in its infancy, so to speak, both weavers and their boy-helps must have had comparatively easy lives; but onward for many years, so long, indeed, as the weavers remained masters-for latterly the boys ruled them-things assumed a very different aspect. As the shawl trade waxed, the trade in silk, gauze, and other fine fabrics waned; and the manners and general bearing of those engaged appeared to me then, and still appear to my mind, as different as the goods they manipulated. At the date just named the inhabitants numbered 34, 800, of whom there were from 6000 to 7000 weavers, and of these not fewer than from 4000 to 5000 required the assistance of a drawboy; now [l874], when the population has reached 50,000, the weaving body is reduced to 1750, only 750 of whom are on the electors' roll, and there is not one drawboy in town. New industries, steampower, and the Jacquard machine have all contributed to the changed character of the people-in some respects for the better, and in others for the worse. In old times, every weaver being his own master, came and went at his convenience; when he took a day's pleasure -fishing, curling, bowling, or berrying, as the case may happen-he made up work for it before or after, as pleased him; the loom was his own property; and he was answerable to his employer only. The introduction of the Jacquard has changed that condition of the weaver entirely. With only 1750 looms in town, there are not, I presume, over 750 owners of looms, all the other hands being but "journeymen," who are not responsible to the manufacturers but only to the master weaver. With the loss of social standing, the old spirit of independence and much of the greedy intellectual research have vanished; what these have been replaced by I will leave others to name and designate. Hand-loom weaving factories have no doubt done much to destroy that peculiar individuality of character for which the class was noted, when the town was one huge weaving factory of master weavers, and the well-being and comfort of the whole population were directly or indirectly dependent on the produce of the "shuttle e'e." The picture had its shade as well as its sun, however. When trade failed, which from its fancy nature and other causes it did frequently, want and its accompanying wail were all but universal; it was only the provident that escaped destitution. Many of these having saved some money were induced to feu a piece of ground, and had a house built for themselves, which, from ever-recurring stagnations of trade, fell into the hands of the superior. At this day not one of whole streets of houses built from the savings of weavers remain in the possession of the original feuars or their descendants.'

Of a total population in 1881 of 55,638, no fewer than 12,838 males and 8263 females were engaged in industrial handicrafts, or were dealers in manufactured substances, and of these 2910 males and 6518 females were connected with work in textile fabrics. Of these, 627 men and 99 women were connected with the manufacture of wool, 74 men and 1 woman with that of silk, 598 men and 3590 women with the manufacture of cotton and linen (including muslin and thread, and those concerned in dyeing and bleaching), and of these totals, 276 men and 3201 women were connected with thread works alone; while 1572 men and 2805 women were undefined weavers, factory hands, scourers, dyers, etc., of whom 265 men and 2262 women were factory hands-and 467 men and 204 women were connected with the shawl manufacture.

Public Buildings, etc.-The County Buildings, which stand along the side of an open area in the centre of the town called County Place, were built in 1818 at a cost of about £28,000, and enlarged about 1850 at a cost of £10,000. They form a quadrangular castellated pile, with projecting hexagonal turrets on the front. One division of it contains the court house, the county hall, and a number of different offices for public business; and another division contains the jail for the Upper Ward of Renfrewshire first legalised in 1853; but disused since the passing of the Prisons' Act. A handsome new building in the Italian style is at present (1884) in course of erection in St James's Street for County Buildings and Sheriff Court-house, and new Municipal Buildings are about to be commenced at the corner of St Miren Street at the Cross. The Central (Gilmour Street) railway station, serving for both the Caledonian and the Glasgow and South-Western systems, is close to the County Buildings, and similar in style. The platform is, as has been already noticed, high above the level of the town streets. Till recently Paisley, notwithstanding its size, had no large public hall, but now that reproach has been wiped away in a most magnificent way by the erection of the George A. Clark Hall. Efforts made in 1864, 1869, and 1871, to form a joint-stock company for the erection of a hall, having failed, a public subscription was set on foot in 1872, and early in 1873 the sum of £13,870 had been raised, when word reached this country that Mr George A. Clark of New Jersey, connected with the firm of J. & J. Clark, thread manufacturers, had bequeathed £20,000 for the erection of a new town-hall, with a reading-room and smoking-room for working men, which was to be open from 5 A.M. till 12 P.M. Competitive designs were obtained, but the great outlay involved shut some of the best of them out of the competition till Messrs Clark resolved to supplement their brother's bequest, and take the whole expense of a selected design on themselves. The design of Mr Lynn of Belfast was chosen, and the foundation stone of the building at the corner of Abbey Close and Smithhills Street was laid in October 1879. The main front to Abbey Close somewhat resembles St George's Hall, Liverpool, and shows a pediment with six Corinthian columns, each 30 feet high, over massive square piers, between which are the entrances. On the N side is a smaller portico with Ionic pillars. Rising above the side next the river are two square towers, of which that to the N contains a clock and bells, and that to the S is used as a ventilating shaft. The large hall indicated by the chief portico has floor space of 80 by 60 feet, and the total space is 130 by 60 feet. It is seated for 2000 persons, and has galleries, cloak-rooms, orchestra, etc. The organ in it-one of the finest in Scotland-was erected at a cost of £3500, and was the gift of Mrs Clark, sen. It is in a richly-carved oak case, designed in the Ionic style, and measuring 45 feet high, 32 wide, and 15 deep. There are 49 sounding stops and 11 couplers, and the instrument is remarkable for its balance of tone. The N portico indicates a smaller hall, with accommodation for 300 persons. The clock in the N tower is a very fine one, with a double gravity escapement, and the quarter-hours and hours are chimed and struck on a peal of 6 bells with the notes D, C, B flat, F flat, F, and E flat, the last weighing 20 cwt. and being used for striking the hours. There is also a carillon of bells, with the notes F, E flat, D, D flat, C, B flat, A flat, G, F, and E flat, which ring a different tune for each day of the month. They are played by keys, and are the finest in Scotland. The statues in the niches of the bell tower represent the seasons. They were executed by Mr James Young, Glasgow. The total cost of the building and furnishings was nearly £60,000. The halls were inaugurated on 30 Jan. 1882 amid great rejoicings, and the smoking and reading rooms, which are on the S side, were opened on 20 June of the same year. The Free Public Library and Museum, on the N side of High Street, was erected in 1869-71 at a cost of over £15,000, the whole expense of the building being defrayed by Sir Peter Coats, on condition that the town adopted the Free Libraries Act. In 1877 a large collection illustrative of the natural history and manufactures of India was presented to the museum by Mr R. M. Adam, of Agra, and a large addition had to be made to the museum, Sir Peter Coats giving the additional ground required, and also ultimately the sum needed for the new building; while his brother, Mr Thomas Coats of Ferguslie, undertook the erection of portions behind the main structure to be used as a picture gallery and observatory. The latter were opened in 1883, and the observatory contains an excellent transit instrument, a good telescope, and other appliances. It is under the management of the Philosophical Society, and is open to strangers on any day by ticket obtainable from a member of the Society, and to the people of Paisley thrice a week at a small charge. The structure is Ionic in style, with a tetrastyle portico and wings. The principal entrance in the centre is reached by a flight of steps leading to an entrance hall, and the other portions of the building contain a lecture hall (50 by 35 feet), a reading-room and library, a museum, a picture gallery, a reference library, and committee and cloak rooms. The reading-room and library contain about 15,000 volumes, of which over 7000 were received from the old Paisley library established in 1802, while the reference library contains nearly 6000 volumes. The nucleus of the contents of the museum and over 5000 of the books in the valuable reference library were presented by the Paisley Philosophical Society, which was originally established in 1808. Other public buildings are the Baths, the Good Templars' Hall (1881), the Masonic Hall (1884), the Liberal Club, the Conservative Club (1880), the Oakshaw Memorial School, and the Drill Hall. The barracks in the suburb of Williamsburgh, to the E of the town, on the S side of the Glasgow road, erected in 1822, and with accommodation for a battalion of infantry, are now disused and empty. On the opposite side of the road are the militia barracks. The Coffee-room buildings at the Cross, erected in 1809, Ionic in style, contain a large reading. room, with Fillans' bust of Professor Wilson, and one of Lord Clyde. The Exchange buildings on the E side of Moss Street, erected in 1837, and occupying the site of a former flesh market, are now partly used as a theatre. The infirmary, in Bridge Street, dates from 1784, but the present building was erected about 1850. It has accommodation for 250 patients. About l000 indoor patients and from 4000 to 5000 outdoor patients are treated annually. The dispensary attached is open every day from 11 to 12 o'clock, and medicine is dispensed between 4 and 5. The poorhouse for Abbey parish, about a mile SSW of the town near Riccartsbar, is an Elizabethan structure (1850), with buildings disposed round two courts, and with accommodation for 555 inmates. Beside it is the parochial lunatic asylum, which has accommodation for 98 inmates; and further W is the burgh lunatic asylum, erected in 1876. This has a main building of T shape, with a large entrance-hall and kitchen, dining-hall, etc., in the central portion. The wards for male and female patients are on each side, and the engine-house, washing-house and laundry, are behind the main building. The cost, exclusive of site, was £12,500, and there is accommodation for 120 patients. The cemetery, laid out in 1845, is on Woodside ridge in the old town, and includes the old Broomlands churchyard, which was laid out about 1779. It is beautifully situated and laid out, and contains some good monuments, including that to Algie and Park already noticed; one erected by public subscription in 1867 in memory of the Chartists, Hardie, Baird, and Wilson, who were executed at Stirling and Glasgow in l820; one to Fillans, with a fine figure of Rachael weeping for her children; one to the Rev. Patrick Brewster (1788-1859), long minister of the Abbey church; and one to Andrew Park (1807-63), a local poet. There are also burying-grounds at several of the churches.

Three bridges cross the river Cart (exclusive of the railway bridges), and connect the old and new towns. The old stone bridge at the end of High Street used to be very narrow and inconvenient, as were also the other two, but under the Improvement Act of 1877 they have all been greatly widened and improved, the old Sneddon* Bridge (now known as Abercorn Bridge) and Seedhill or Abbey Bridge having been reconstructed with iron girders, and the Old Bridge itself again farther improved in connection with the erection of the Clark Hall. When the first tolbooth was erected is not exactly known-seemingly by Abbot Tervas in the 15th century-but by the middle of the 18th century the existing one had become very insecure, and in 1756 the magistrates resolved to erect a new one at the Cross, on the same site, at a cost of £325. It had a steeple of considerable height, which remained till 1870. It was perfectly sound till 1868, but in that year a deep drain dug near it injured the foundation, which had already become somewhat insecure in consequence of the street level having been lowered, and it began to lean over in a dangerous manner. It was at first shored up, but was ordered to be taken down in 1869. An unsuccessful attempt was made to interdict the magistrates from removing it, and it disappeared completely in 1870. It was at the Cross Steeple that public executions latterly took place, and the bats to which the gibbet was fastened are now in the museum. The Abbey grounds were first feued in 1757 by Lord Dundonald, and a considerable portion of the Abbey ruins were used as building material by the feuars in the erection of the houses adjoining the Abbey. Some of these were removed in l874, including the town houses of Abercorn and Dundonald, but others still remain. A house in High Street in the old Scottish style, with the arms of the Sempills on its front, was erected in 1862 on the site of Lord Sempill's old town mansion. In 1618 the town council erected a Town's Hospital on the N side of High Street with materials taken from the old chapel of St Roque, and part of the building became subsequently a school. In 1723 the old building was taken down, and a new one erected, which contained a public hall and a clock steeple known as the 'Wee Steeple,' in which there was a bell which was rung when funerals were passing. On one part of it was the inscription-

'He that hath pitie on the por
Of grace and mercie sall be sor; '

and on another-

'Quha gives the puir, to God he lends,
And God, again, mare grace him sends.'

The school was removed to a building in School Wynd in 1788, and in 1807 the whole buildings were disposed of, and the house No. 82 High Street erected on the site. The house in which Professor Wilson-Christopher North-was born, on the S side of High Street, and another house in which he spent his boyhood, also in High Street immediately to the W, both still remain directly opposite the Free Library, though the first has been altered. The position of the house in which the poet Tannahill was born, in Castle Street, is marked by a tablet placed on the house that now occupies the site; and the house in which he spent most of his life and wrote most of his songs-a cottage built by his father- still stands in Queen Street farther to the W. The house, in Seedhill, in which the poet and American ornithologist, Alexander Wilson, was born, was demolished in 1841, but the house by which it was replaced is marked by a marble tablet with the inscription-'This tablet was erected in 1841 by David Anderson, Perth, to mark the birthplace of Alexander Wilson, Paisley, poet and American ornithologist.' A statue of Wilson was erected within the Abbey grounds in 1874 at a cost of about £700. It consists of a bronze statue 7 feet 6 inches high, resting on a pedestal of grey granite 10 feet high. The figure, which was modelled by J. G. Mossman, Glasgow, shows the naturalist leaning against the stump of a tree with a bird in his hand, while his gun is behind him, his hat and portfolio at his feet, and his favourite blue parrot close at hand. Not far distant is the bronze statue erected in 1883 as a memorial of Tannahill the poet. The statue is 7 feet 6 inches high, and is set on a red granite pedestal. The motive is furnished by a bronse bas-relief affixed to the front of the pedestal. This shows three country girls, of whom the centre one is singing from a ballad which she holds in her hand, while her companions listen. There is a tradition that Tannahill during a solitary country walk once heard a group of girls thus intently occupied with one of his own songs, and the statue here represents the poet in the supposed attitude of an unseen listener. The statue and bas-relief were designed and executed by D. W. Stevenson, A.R.S.A., Edinburgh. The total cost was about £1200, and the funds were provided by a series of concerts which have been given for the last eight or nine years on the braes of Gleniffer. It is proposed also to erect a bronze statue in memory of Mr Thomas Coats of Ferguslie; and thus the town is by degrees wiping away the old reproach laid to its charge that although Paisley had produced so many famous men, monuments in honour of them were less numerous than in some towns that had produced few or none. The Fountain Gardens, on the N side of the town between Love Street and Caledonia Street, and extending to over 7 acres, were acquired and laid out, at a cost of about £20,000, by Mr Thomas Coats of Ferguslie, and handed over by him to the town in 1868. The ground was originally laid out early in the present century by an old citizen Mr John Love, and was named Hope Temple Gardens. Before his death in 1827, Mr Love's affairs became embarrassed, and the ground was, by his trustees, let as an orchard, till it was acquired by Mr Coats in 1866. The site was then well laid out and belts and clumps of trees planted between the walks, which converge on a central fountain. One of the trees is an oak grown from an acorn taken from the celebrated Wallace Oak of Elderslie. In 1877 an additional place of recreation for the public was provided at Carriage Hill to the S of the town. This was the ground known as the Brodie Park, which was bequeathed for that purpose by Mr Robert Brodie in 1871. It covers about 22 acres, and, inclusive of the sum spent in laying it out, cost about £19,000. The central part of the racecourse to the NW of the town, about 40 acres in extent, is now also available for purposes of public recreation, and is sometimes spoken of as St James's Park.

* Sneddon was acquired by the town in 1655 and feued in 1749. The name is supposed to be a corruption of Snowdoun.

Churches.-The most prominent of the churches is of course the part of the old Abbey of Paisley which is still used as the parish church for Abbey parish. The remains of the Abbey are on the E side of the Cart opposite the Clark Hall. It was founded about 1163 by Walter, High Steward of Scotland, for monks of the Cluniac order of reformed Benedictines, and its first inmates came from the Cluniac priory of Wenlock in Shropshire, the High Steward's native county. They were originally settled at Renfrew, but afterwards transferred their place of residence to Paisley, where, finding a church already dedicated to St Mirren or Mirinus, a confessor who is said to have spent a considerable part of his life at the place, and who, according to the Aberdeen Breviary, was buried there, they combined his name with those of St James and of their patron saint at Wenlock, St Milburga, grand-daughter of Penda, king of Mercia, and so dedicated the monastery church to St James, St Milburga, and St Mirren. The monastery was so richly endowed by the founder and his successors, as well as by the Lords of Lennox, that it soon became one of the most opulent houses in Scotland, none surpassing it except St Andrews, Kelso, Dunfermline, and Arbroath. Until 1219 it was only a priory, but it then received a bull from Pope Honorius constituting it an Abbey and separating it from the parent house at Wenlock, a privilege confirmed in 1334 by Pope Benedict, who declared the abbot entitled to wear a mitre and ring, and the other marks of his dignity. What may have been the nature of the original buildings it is impossible to tell, for they were burned by the English in 1307 during the war of independence, and seem to have been almost entirely destroyed, and, notwithstanding that the Stewarts had their residence at hand, and that the abbey was their family burial place before their accession, and even occasionally afterwards, for both the queens of Robert II. were buried here as well as Robert III., but little seems to have been done towards rebuilding or repair till the 15th century, although in 1380 a charter was obtained from Robert II. erecting the lands of the Abbey in Dumbartonshire into a jurisdiction of regality, and another from Robert III. in 1396 erecting the estates in Renfrew, Ayr, Roxburgh, and Peebles into a similar jurisdiction. The powers of the abbot were afterwards still farther extended in 1452 by James II., who granted to the regality court the power of trying the four crown pleas; and again in 1488 by James IV., who added the power of 'repleging' the tenants and inhabitants of the abbey estates from the king's courts. The greater part of the buildings now existing seem to have been erected by Abbot Thomas Tervas, who died in 1459, and Abbot George Shaw (l472-99). Of the former the Auchinleck Chronicle says that he 'wes ane richt gud man and helplyk to the place of ony that ever wes, for he did mony notabil things and held ane nobil hous and wes ay wele purvait. He fand the place al out of gud reule and destitute of leving and al the kirkis in lordis handis and the kirk unbiggit. The body of the kirk fra the bucht stair up he biggit, and put on the ruf and theekit it with sclats, and riggit it with stane, and biggit ane great porcioun of the steple and ane staitlie yet hous, and brocht hame mony gud jowellis and clathis of gold, silver, and silk, and mony gud bukis, and made statelie stallis and glassynnit mekle of al the kirk, and brocht hame the staitliest tabernakle that wes in al Skotland, and the maist costlie; and schortlie he brocht al the place to fredome and fra nocht till ane michty place and left it out of al kind of det and al fredome, till dispone as them lykit, and left ane of the best myteris that was in Skotland, and chandillaris of silver and ane lettren of brass with mony uther gud jowellis.' Abbot George Shaw, a younger son of Shaw of Sauchie in Stirlingshire, besides adding to the buildings, surrounded the abbey gardens and grounds by a magnificent stone wall, which ran from the N transept along the line of Lawn Street to the Wall Neuk, where it turned and ran along the line of Inkle Street; it then turned to the S by the edge of Mill Road till it terminated at the Pigeonhouse on the edge of the Cart, close to the waterfall at Seedhill mills. A stone with the inscription in oldEnglish characters-

'Thei callit ye Abbot Georg of Schawe,
About yis Abbay gart mak yis waw;
A thousande four hundreth zheyr
Auchty and fyve, the date but ueir.
Pray for his salvatioun
That made this nobil fundacioun'

taken from the wall was formerly placed over the lintel of the door of a dwelling-house at the corner of Lawn Street and Inkle Street, but it is now fixed to the wall E of the door of the Public Library. The fifth line of the inscription was effaced by order, it is said, of one of the presbyterian ministers of the burgh, who thought it savoured too much of prayer for the dead. Grose says that in his time there was at one of the corners of the wall a statue of the Virgin with the motto below:-

'Hac ne vade via nisi dixeris Ave Maria
Sit semper sine vae, qui tibi dicet Ave'

The wall remained nearly entire till 1781, when the Earl of Abercorn sold the stones to the feuars of the new town, who used them for building their houses, and a portion near Seedhill Bridge remained till after the middle of the present century. The first tower that was erected seems to have had insecure foundations, as it fell. The last abbot, John Hamilton (1525-45), rebuilt it at immense cost, but about the close of the century it again 'fell with its own weight, and with it the Quire of the church;' at least so says Hamilton of Wishaw, but another account states that it was struck by lightning. In 1557 a body of Reformers attacked the abbey, 'burnt all the ymages and ydols and popish stuff in the same,' and drove the monks out of the building, but owing to the somewhat unusual attachment of the people to the old faith, the abbey was 'steyked' against the reforming preachers, and in 1563 the charge was brought against the abbot of 'in the town of Paslay, Kirkyard and Abbey place thereof, openlie, publiclie, and plainlie, taking auricular confession in the said kirk, toun, kirkyaird, chalmeries, barns, middens, killogies thereof,' but he seems to have got off lightly. Although John Hamilton had properly ceased to be abbot in 1545, he retained the abbacy, by consent of the queen, in trust for his nephew, Lord Claud Hamilton. He adhered to the cause of Queen Mary, and was consequently in 1568 declared a traitor by Regent Murray, and in 1571 captured and hanged. Lord Claud, having been present at the battle of Langside in the Queen's interest, was forfeited, and the lands of the abbey were bestowed on Robert, son of William Lord Sempil, till 1585, when Lord Claud returned from England and was restored to his property and rights. Two years later the whole property which he had held hitherto merely as commendator, was erected into a temporal lordship, and granted to him and his heirs and assigns in fee, while he himself was created Lord Paisley. In 1652, his grandson and successor, the second earl, sold his opulent lordship to the Earl of Angus, from whom next year the larger part of it was purchased by Lord Cochrane, afterwards Earl of Dundonald. Large portions were at different times sold by the Dundonald family, and in 1764 what remained was repurchased from Thomas, eighth Earl of Dundonald, by James, eighth Earl of Abercorn, to whose descendant, the Duke of Abercorn, it now belongs.

The church, when entire, appears to have consisted of a nave, choir, N transept, and a chapel known as the chapel of St Mirren and St Columba, which occupies the place where the S transept should have been. The total outside length of the building has been 265 feet. Internally the nave is 93 feet long and 59½ wide, including side aisles. The choir, which has no aisles, is 123½ feet long and 32 wide; and the transept is 35 feet wide, and the distance from the N wall to the wall of St Mirren's chapel is 92½ feet, all these measurements being internal. The walls of the choir only rise a foot or two above the level of the ground, but the piscina and sedilia still remain, as well as the foundations of the pillars on which rose the central tower. The N transept, with its magnificent and finely traceried window, 25 feet high and 18 wide, was saved from demolition with so much of the rest of the building, by being claimed about 1758 by the heritors as their property. The nave, the only part now roofed, is still used as the parish church of Abbey parish. The W front contains a doorway with an arcade on each side, and on one side is a turret with a staircase. Above the doorway are three windows. The present eastern gable of the church is in the centre merely a screen of modern masonry filling up the arch beneath the western wall of the centre tower. There is a porch at the W end of the N wall and at the E end of the S wall. On the wall of the former is a stone with the inscription in old English characters-

'Johes d. Lyhtgw abbas hujus monastii xx die mesis Januarii
ano dm mccccxxxiii elegit fieri sua sepultura.'

The interior of the nave is fine, and the style of the triforium is somewhat peculiar. On each side five massive clustered columns, 17 feet in height, divide the nave from the aisles, and the pillar on each side at the W end is much thicker than the others, as if they had been meant originally to support the weight of western towers. 'From the imposts of the columns spring pointed arches with delicate and graceful mouldings. On the centre pillar to the south is sculptured in relief an antique coat of arms with grotesque supporters. From a floor formed above the first tier of arches spring those of the triforium. They are large and semicircular, springing from clustered columns.' Within these arches are included two pointed ones, with a short column between, and the space between the heads of these minor arches and that of the principal arch is open and finely cusped. From the top of the spandrils between each pair of arches a semi-hexagonal projection stands out supported by a double row of blocked corbels, which in their turn are supported by grotesque figures that seem as if groaning under the weight. The breadth of the triforium arches, as compared with their height, gives this part of the building a somewhat squat, not to say ungraceful look. In the clerestory over each circular triforium arch are two windows, and the clerestory gallery, while passing through the wall over the keystone of each triforium arch, passes out round the semi-hexagonal projection already mentioned, no doubt to afford a perfectly solid wall over each of the nave pillars, so that there may be firmer support for the roof. The whole style is Decorated. On the SW pillar are the old colours carried by the Renfrewshire militia from 1803 to 1855; and built into the walls are some old monuments removed from the floor. The original roof was finely groined, but of this only a small portion near the W end of the S aisle now remains. The whole nave underwent repair in 1788-89, but until about twenty years ago it remained in a very miserable condition. 'In 1859,' says Dr Cameron Lees, the historian of the Abbey, 'when I was inducted to the second charge, a more dreary place of worship it was impossible to conceive. It was like a charnel house. The burialground outside reached above the sill of the windows. The floor was earthen, and you were afraid if you stirred your foot you would rake up some old bones that lay uncomfortably near the surface.' Thanks to the exertions of the Rev. Mr Watson and of Dr Lees himself, several thousand pounds were collected and spent in remedying this state of things. The interior was cleared out and new pews put in. An organ was introduced, and many of the windows are now filled with stained glass, the principal being windows to the memory of Mr Thomas Coats of Ferguslie, the Speirs of Elderslie, the Earl of Glasgow, and the Whites of Overtoun. One, placed as a memorial of Sir William Wallace, was inserted by the St Andrew's Society of Glasgow. In the W end of the N aisle is a mural tablet, apparently erected to the memory of John Hamilton, the last abbot. The chapel of St Mirren and St Columba, better known as the Sounding Aisle, is on the S side on the site of the S transept. It is about 48 feet long by 24 wide, and the 15 feet of the floor at the E end is higher than the rest. This chapel was founded and endowed in 1499 by James Crawfurde of Kylwynnat, burgess of Paisley, and Elizabeth Galbraith his spouse, who were buried within the church, where their tombstone is still to be seen. The lands given for the support of the chaplain were those of Seedhill and Wellmeadow. Near the SE corner is the piscina, and beneath the great eastern window the altar had stood. Beneath the window is a frieze, with three carved compartments on the N side and seven on the S side. What the figures represent is doubtful, but probably the seven on the S represent the seven sacraments, viz., matrimony, communion, extreme unction, ordination, confirmation, penance, and baptism. The eastern window is now filled with stained glass, placed there by the Duke of Abercorn in 1879 in memory of those members of the Abercorn family who are here buried, the family vault being beneath. There are other two monuments connected with the Abercorn family, but the great object of interest is the altar tomb known as Queen Bleary's tomb, and believed to have been erected in memory of Marjory Bruce, wife of Walter the high steward, and only daughter of Robert Bruce, who was killed by a fall from her horse at Knock, to the north of the town. According to Dr Boog, one of the ministers of the parish, who wrote an account of it in the Transactions of Society of Antiquaries of Scotland for 1831, this tomb has had rather a curious history. 'It retained,' he says, 'its original situation till John, Earl of Dundonald, who succeeded his brother William in 1704, having for his second lady married the DuchessDowager of Beaufort, her grace wishing, it is said, to have the chapel fitted up for the service of the Church of England; the tomb was then removed and placed in a corner of the Abbey Garden. This must have been prior to 1720, when Earl John died; his lady survived but a short time. The tomb, rebuilt in its original form, occupied this corner till the time that Thomas, Earl of Dundonald, resolving to feu off that part of the garden, found it in his way, and had it again removed or rather taken to pieces; and the stones of which it was composed were then laid aside and forgotten-so much forgotten that the writer of this, whose connection with Paisley took place in 1774, was above fourteen years in the place before knowing that such a monument had existed, or that its materials might possibly be discovered.' When the church was repaired, how. ever, in 1788-89, the stones were found, and Dr Boog, with a care that does him the highest credit, had them carefully put together, though it was found that one side stone and one end stone were awanting. The figure itself had been left in the chapel, sunk in the pavement close by one of the walls. Whether it represents Lady Marjory or not must remain doubtful, but the fine carvings show that the person to whose memory the tomb had been raised must have been of high rank. It is certainly peculiar that the figures on the sides should be those of ecclesiastics. From the presence of a shield charged with a lion rampant some have imagined that it is the tomb of Euphemia Ross, wife of Robert II., but the lion rampant is also the cognisance of the family of Stewart of Blackhall, lineally descended from Robert III. The elaborately carved canopy at the head is particularly noteworthy and uncommon. A suspicion might arise that it does not belong to the tomb, and may have originally been over a canopied figure, but a minute inspection does not bear this out, and the top of the canopy, which in such a case would not be seen, is here elaborately carved with a representation of the crucifixion.

The popular name of the 'Sounding Aisle' is applied to the chapel on account of the wonderful echo, which was first described by Pennant with a considerable amount of exaggeration. 'The echo,' he says in his Tour, 'is the finest in the world. When the end door, the only one it has, is gently shut, the noise is equal to a loud peal of thunder. If you strike a single note of music you hear the same gradually ascending with a countless number of repetitions. If a good voice sings, or a musical instrument is well played on, the effect is inexpressibly fascinating, and almost of a celestial character. When a musical instrument is sounded it has the effect of a number of instruments of a like size and kind played in concert. A single instrument sounding a particular note, and then instantly its fifth or any other concordant note, both sounds can be heard, as it were, running into and uniting with each other in a manner particularly agreeable. But the effect of a variety of instruments playing in concert is transcendingly enchanting, and excites such emotions in the soul as to baffle the most vivid description,' and there is a good deal more to the same effect. Either, however, Pennant was particularly keen-eared when he was at Paisley, or in course of time, and as a result of many applications of whitewash to the walls, the echo has become seriously injured since his day, for although it is still strong, it can hardly now be described as dying away, 'as if at an immense distance,' or 'diffusing itself through the circumambient air,' with almost 'a celestial character.' To the N of the nave and the W of the Sounding Aisle was the cloister court, and the other buildings of the monastery seem to have stood to the SW, but of these no trace now remains. When the houses in Abbey Close were removed in 1874, an old foundation was found which was supposed to be that of the 'staitlie yett house' erected by Abbot Thomas Tervas. St Roque's chapel, which stood at the top of Castle Street, was pulled down in 1618, the materials being used in the erection of the town's hospital.

The original Low or Laigh Church was built in 1736, but the congregation removed in 1819 to St George's church in George Street, which is a good Grecian building, erected in that year at a cost of £7000. The organ and organ chamber were added in 1874; there are 1850 sittings. The High Church at Oakshawhead was built in l756, and the steeple was added in 1770; it contains 1890 sittings. The Middle Church, with 1555 sittings, was built in 1782; the Gaelic Church (St Columba), originally a chapel of ease, in High parish, with 1085 sittings, in 1793; and Martyrs' Church, also originally a chapel of ease, in High parish, with 1200 sittings, in 1835. The South Church, originally a chapel of ease, in Laigh parish; and the North Church, originally a chapel of ease, in Middle parish, do not call for particular notice. The Free High Church is a good building in the Norman style, with a massive square tower 100 feet high. The other Free churches are Martyrs', Middle, Oakshaw, South, and St George's. The United Presbyterian churches are those of Abbey Close (1827, with l178 sittings), Canal Street (l783, with 1545 sittings), George Street (1822, with 1058 sittings), Oakshaw Street (1826, with 954 sittings), Thread Street (1808, with 1640 sittings), and St James Church at Underwood Road, which, built in 1880-84, and replacing a former church erected in 1820 and with 1212 sittings, is particularly worthy of note. Cruciform in plan, it has a deep polygonal apse, wide side aisles, and twin transepts on each side. The whole interior is finished with stone, with open woodwork roof. The floor is laid in tesselated mosaic work. Behind the church are halls, class-rooms, session room, and vestry, and in the apse is an organ. There is a fine peal of bells in the spire, which rises to a height of 180 feet. The style is Early French Gothic; the number of sittings is 1100; and the total cost, exclusive of special gifts -such as the bells, reading desks, organ and screen, etc.-and the cost of site, was about £19,000. The spire first erected had to be removed in consequence of the failure of its foundation, and the present one is founded on iron cylinders filled with cement and sunk about 40 feet into the underlying clay. There are also a Reformed Presbyterian church, a Congregational church at Old Sneddon, an Evangelical Union church in Gilmour Street, Baptist churches in Storie Street, George Street, and Victoria Place; a Unitarian church, a Primitive Methodist church, a New Jerusalem church, Trinity Episcopal church (1828; 400 sittings), and two Roman Catholic churches, St Mirren's (1808; 1000 sittings) and St Mary's (1871; 450 sittings); but none of them call for more particular notice.

Schools.-The Grammar School and Academy dates as an institution from 1576, and stood originally in School Wynd, on the site of the manse of the chaplain of St Ninian's chapel in Abbey Church. In 1756 it was removed to another building farther up the wynd; and in 1864 a new school, which is a handsome Tudor building, with accommodation for 580 scholars, was provided at a cost of about £3473. Up till 1873 it was managed by the town council and a committee of subscribers, but then in terms of the Education Act it passed into the hands of the school board. It is at present conducted by a rector, three masters, three junior masters, and a mistress. The Neilson Educational Institution on Oakshawhead was erected and endowed in 1851-52 from a bequest of £20,000 made by Mr John Neilson of Nethercommon. It is a handsome building in the form of a Greek cross with a central dome, and the work is carried on by nine masters and two mistresses. Under the burgh school board are thirteen public schools-East, West, North, South, Carbrook Street, Adelphi Hall, George Street Central, Stevenson Street, Stow, Queen Street, Graham Educational Institute, Mossvale, and West End Mission; and these, with total accommodation for 5049 pupils, had (1883) an average attendance of 5029, and grants amounting to £4334, 17s. 9d. Some of the buildings are poor and inconvenient, but others, and particularly the Ferguslie school on the NW, finished and opened in 1882, are handsome and well-designed. The other schools are an Infant Training school in Lawn Street, Hutcheson's Charity school, the Industrial school, Miss Kibble's Reformatory Institution (1859), an Episcopal school, and three Roman Catholic schools. The Government School of Art and Design, established in 1848, is in the centre of the town not far from the County Buildings. Though it performs good work, its own appearance is by no means compatible with its purposes. On an average about 88 pupils are trained in it every year.

Municipality, etc.-After the crown charter of 1665, Paisley was in all but the election of a member of parliament on the same footing as a royal burgh, and by the Reform Act of 1833 it was made a Parliamentary burgh. The municipal government is carried on by a provost, four bailies, a treasurer, and ten councillors, who also, under the General Police and Improvement Act of 1862, manage police affairs. The police force in their employment is 53 officers (1 to every 1099 of the population), and the superintendent's salary is £290. The number of persons tried at the instance of the police in 1881 was 553, the number convicted 533, the number committed for trial 67, and the number not dealt with 1198. There is also a fire-brigade with thirteen firemen. The gasworks are at the NW of the town. They were originally established in 1823 by a joint-stock company with a capital of £16,000, and intending to make 'inflammable air for lighting the said Burgh and Abbey Parish of Paisley.' In 1845 their management was transferred to the police commissioners, and they are now in the hands of the town council. The first water supply was introduced by a joint stock company in 1834-38 at a cost of about £32,000, the water being brought from Stanley Dam, about 2 miles to the SW. Since 1870 it has also been drawn through the Stanley filters from works at Nethertrees about 7 miles distant, constructed in 1869-70 at a cost of £77,000, under an Act of Parliament obtained in 1866, the receiving tank at Stanley being about 10 feet higher than the top of the High Church steeple, or nearly 300 feet above the level of the greater part of the town. Power for farther extension was obtained in 1875-76, and new works carried out between that and 1881 at a cost of £20,000. The new reservoir then constructed at Glenburn has storage accommodation for 80,000,000 gallons. The system is now under the management of the council. The sanitary condition and drainage of the town, though immensely improved between 1878 and 1883, is still in some points defective. The corporation property was in 1833 estimated to be worth £58,125, and the debts on it were £33,000, but the unsuccessful attempt to deepen the Cart proved such a heavy drain that in 1843, during a period of great commercial depression, the authorities had to suspend payment, and not till 1877 was the town again clear of debt. The corporation revenue in 188283 was £7816, exclusive of £77,336 from the water and other trusts; and the revenue of the Cart trust estate was £1190. The trade societies representing the old trade incorporations are the weavers, maltmen, wrights, hammermen, bakers, and grocers. The town has a head post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments. The Paisley Bank was established in 1787, and the Paisley Union Bank a few years after, but the former was merged in the British Linen Company's bank in 1837, and the latter in the Union Bank of Scotland in 1838, while the Paisley Commercial Bank, established in 1839, was soon amalgamated with the Western Bank. The banks at present in Paisley are branches of the Bank of Scotland, British Linen Company, Clydesdale, Commercial, National, Royal, and Union banks. There is also a branch of the National Security Savings' Bank, offices or agencies of 55 insurance companies, and several good hotels. The newspapers are the Liberal Daily Express (1874), the Liberal Paisley Gazette (1864), and the Independent Paisley Herald (1853), the last two being both published on Saturday, and the quarterly Scottish Review. There are two Masonic lodges-St Mirren's, No. 129, and County Kilwinning, No. 370; and among the miscellaneous institutions may be noticed the Paisley Philosophical Institution, a West-end Reading Room (l850), lodges of Good Templars (with a hall erected in 1881), Foresters and Oddfellows, a Young Men's Christian Association, a Female Benevolent Society, a Society for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb, a Sabbath School Union, an Art Institute, a branch of the Bible Society, a Tract Society, several curling, bowling, bicycle, cricket, and football clubs, a Horticultural Society, a Florists' Society, a Burns' Club, a Philharmonic Society, and Rifle Volunteers. There is a weekly market on Thursday, and fairs on the third Thursdays of February and May, and the second Thursdays of August and November. At that in August there are general holidays, and Paisley races are held. Ordinary sheriff courts for the Upper Ward of Renfrew. shire are held every Tuesday during session, sheriff small debt courts every Thursday during session, and justice of peace courts every Friday.

Paisley returns a member to serve in parliament- always a Liberal since 1837. Parliamentary constituency (1884) 5688, municipal constituency 6797, including 1109 females. Valuation (1874) £148,946, (1884) £223,366. Pop. (1733) 3396, (1753) 4195, (1801) 24,324, (1811) 29,541, (1821) 38,500, (1841) 48,125, (1851) 47,952, (1861) 47,406, (1871) 48,240 (188l), 55,627, of whom 25,827 were males, and 29,800 were females. Houses (1881)11,533 inhabited, 462 uninhabited, and 55 building. Of the total population 679 males and 276 females were connected with the civil and military services, or with professions, 282 males and 1338 females were domestic servants, 1992 males and 106 females were engaged in commerce, 258 males and 139 females were connected with agriculture, 12,838 males and 8263 females were connected with industrial handicrafts or dealt in manufactured substances, and there were 9350 boys and 9226 girls under or at school age.

Paisley has produced many notable men, and indeed, a somewhat apocryphal story is told that at a gathering in town when the toast of 'the Poets of Paisley' was proposed, every man in the room rose to reply. Among the poets and distinguished men, natives of the place, may be mentioned George A. Clark (1823-73), donor of £20,000 for the Clark Hall; Thomas Coats of Ferguslie (1809-83), public benefactor; Alexander Dunlop, father of William Dunlop, Principal of Glasgow University from 1690 to 1700; James Fillans (1808-52), sculptor, who, though born at Wilsontown in Lanarkshire, was removed to Paisley so early that he may be claimed as a native; William Findlay (1792-1847), minor poet; John Henning (1771-1851), sculptor; William Kennedy (1799-1849), minor poet; John Love, D.D. (1756-1825), an eminent divine; Andrew Park (1807-63), minor poet; Andrew Picken (1788-1833), miscellaneous writer; Ebenezer Picken (1769-1816), minor poet and miscellaneous writer; David Semple (1808-78), author of St Mirin and other works on local history; Robert A. Smith (1780-1829), musical composer, who, although born in England, was the son of a Paisley 'boddy,' and was himself brought to the place at a very early age; Andrew Symington, D.D. (1785-1853), professor of theology in the Reformed Presbyterian Church; Tannahill (17741810), poet; Dr James Thomson, the first professor of divinity in the Relief Church; Alexander Wilson (17661813), minor poet, miscellaneous writer, and American ornithologist; Professor John Wilson, 'Christopher North' (1785-1854), poet and essayist; his brother, James Wilson (1795-1856), naturalist; and William Rae Wilson (1772-1849), the eminent traveller. Distinguished men connected with the place, but not natives, have been Patrick Adamson (1543-91), Archbishop of St Andrews; Rev. James Begg (1809-83), Free Church leader, who was minister of the Middle parish from 1832 to 1835; Robert Boyd of Trochrig (1578-1627), Principal of Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities, and finally minister of Paisley, but the people, headed by the Master of Paisley, brother of the Earl of Abercorn, and his mother offered such opposition to his ministry that he retired; Robert Brodie (1807-71), benefactor to the town; Rev. Robert Findlay (1721-1814), professor of theology in Glasgow University; Andrew Knox (d. 1632), minister of Paisley, afterwards Bishop of the Isles, and subsequently of Raphoe in Ireland; Rev. Robert Miller (d. 1752), author of the History of the Propagation of Christianity, who was minister from 1709; William Motherwell- who by education may almost be counted a Paisley man -(1797-1835), poet, antiquary, and journalist; Thomas Smeaton (1536-83), Principal of Glasgow University; Alexander Smith (1829-67), poet and author, who here followed for some time his profession as a pattern designer; Dr Robert Watt (1774-1819), author of the Bibliotheca Britannica; and Dr John Witherspoon (l722-94), minister of the Laigh parish, afterwards president of the College of New Jersey, theological writer. The Parishes of Paisley are the High, Laigh, and Middle, all within the burgh, and all, till 1736, forming part of Abbey parish, which still includes a portion of the burgh. The livings are worth about £280. The area of High Church parish is 261·428 acres inclusive of 2·427 of water; of Laigh or Low Church parish, 97·868 acres, with 26·620 detached, 0·054 foreshore, and 4·185 water; and of Middle Church parish, 522·051 acres, with 1·973 foreshore and 3·553 water. The quoad sacra parish of Martyrs' is partly taken from Abbey parish and partly from High Church parish, that of North Church from Middle Church parish, that of St Columba from High Church parish, that of South Church from Abbey parish and Laigh Church parish. The populations in 1881 were 8889 in High Church parish, 6122 in Laigh Church parish, 5284 in Middle Church parish, 9464 in Martyrs', 7844 in North, 1981 in St Columba's, and 4146 in South, the rest being in Abbey parish.

The Presbytery of Paisley comprehends the quoad civilia parishes of Abbey-Paisley, Eastwood, High Church Paisley, Houstoun, Inchinnan, Kilbarchan, Laigh Parish Paisley, Lochwinnoch, Mearns, Middle Parish Paisley, Neilston, and Renfrew; the quoad sacra parishes of Barrhead, Elderslie, Johnstone, Levern, Linwood, Martyrs' Paisley, North Paisley, South Paisley, St Columba's Paisley, and Pollokshaws; and the mission stations of Shawlands (Eastwood), Bridge of Weir (Kilbarchan), and How-wood (Lochwinnoch). It meets at Paisley on the first Wednesdays of February, May, July, September, and December, and on the third Wednesdays of March and October.-The Free Church has also a presbytery of Paisley with 7 churches in Paisley, 2 at Pollokshaws, and 9 at respectively Barrhead, Bridge of Weir, Houstoun, Inchinnan, Johnstone, Lochwinnoch, Neilston, Nitshill, and Renfrew.-The U.P. presbytery of Paisley includes 6 churches at Paisley, 2 at Beith, 2 at Johnstone, and 6 at respectively Kilbarchan, Kilmalcolm, Langbank, Lochwinnoch, Mossvale, and Renfrew.

See also Cosmo Innes' Registrum Monasterii de Passelet (Edinb., Maitland Club, 1832); Mackie's Historical Description of the Abbey and Town of Paisley (Glasg. 1835); Parkhill's History of Paisley (Paisley, 1857); Memorial of the Inauguration of the Fountain Gardens (Paisley, 1868); Memorial of the Inauguration of the Free Library and Museum (Paisley, 1871); Semple's St Mirin, an Historical Account of Old Houses, Old Families, and Olden Times in Paisley (Paisley, 1872; with supplements in 1873 and 1874); Brown's History of the Paisley Grammar School (Paisley, 1875); Lichens from an Old Abbey: Monastery of Paisley (Paisley, 1876); Gilmour's Paisley Weavers of Other Days (Paisley, 1876; 2d ed. 1879), and his Gordon's Loan, Paisley, Sixty-odd Years Ago (Paisley, 1881); Dr J. Cameron Lees' The Abbey of Paisley, from its Foundation to its Dissolution (Paisley, 1878); Craig's Historical Notes on Paisley and its Neighbourhood (Paisley, 1881); William Hector's Vanduara, Odds and Ends, Personal, Social, and Local, from Recollections of Byepast Times (Paisley, 1881); and Memorial of the Inauguration of the Clark Hall (Paisley, 1882).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer


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