Paisley Abbey, Scotland from North

Paisley Abbey, Scotland from North-West.

This evening, I am posting information on Paisley Abbey, a dominant building in the town of Paisley (pop 77,000) in S.W. Scotland.

This Abbey has much to offer the visitor but is often overlooked in favour of the more famous Glasgow Cathedral. Paisley itself has a fascinating history centred on the textile industry from which the renowned Paisley Pattern originated. It also a boasts a famous son who signed the American Declaration of Independence, namely John Witherspoon.

A brief history of Paisley Abbey:

  • Founded 1163 as a priory by Walter Fitzalan who became High Steward of Scotland.
  • Became an abbey answerable to Rome in 1245 AD. Abbey dedicated to St. Mary, St. James, St. Mirin and St. Milburga.
  • In 13th century it is possible that William Wallace (‘Braveheart’) was educated at Paisley Abbey.
  • Burned by English army in 1307 and subsequently restored in that century.
  • King Robert II of Scotland born at Abbey Infirmary in 1316. This Robert was the progenitor of the current British Royal Family.
  • In 1498 the Abbey suffered damage due to accidental fire but was restored.
  • In 1553 the Tower collapsed leaving a large section of the building open to the elements  for the next 350 years. The Nave was walled off and served as the Parish Church of Paisley.
  • Restoration work undertaken in 1848-62.
  • Further restoration work undertaken 1890-1907.
  • Abbey re-dedicated in 1928.
  • On-going restoration since 1989.

As befits a building of such antiquity, the interior is of great interest with features including:

  • Transitional, 12th century architecture.
  • Stained glass windows.
  • Plaques, coats of arms and memorials to historic personages and noble families.
  • Ancient Barochan Cross, which may date from around 10th century.
  • Small exhibition containing artifacts discovered during archaeological excavations.
  • Large organ from 1872 containing 5448 pipes,
  • Font made of Carrara marble and Mexican onyx.

There is a Gift Shop and Cafe for benefit of visitors.

Tours of the Abbey are available.

  Stained Glass

Stained Glass: Shaw Memorial Window, Paisley Abbey.

St Mirin's Chapel, Paisley Abbey, Scotland

St Mirin Chapel, Paisley Abbey, Scotland

Font at Paisley Abbey, Scotland

Font at Paisley Abbey, Scotland

Communion Table at Paisley Abbey, Scotland

Communion Table at Paisley Abbey, Scotland

Video clip of Barochan Cross

Video clip of Abbey interior.

Interior (east) of Paisley Abbey, Scotland.

Interior (east) of Paisley Abbey, Scotland.

Western entrance to Paisley Abbey, Scotland.

Western entrance to Paisley Abbey, Scotland.

Paisley Abbey from S.W.

Paisley Abbey from S.W.

Paisley Abbey from South

Paisley Abbey from South.

Be Sociable, Share!