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Paisley celebrates royal connections with 700th anniversary of first Stewart king


Paisley’s medieval heritage came back to life as the town celebrated 700 years since the first Stewart king – Robert II of Scotland – was born inside Paisley Abbey.


A spectacular Medieval Fayre turned back the clocks to 1316, with revellers taking in the sights and sounds of medieval life – showcasing Paisley’s historic links as the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 gathers pace.

The birth of Robert II is a miraculous event tinged with sadness – after the young king was saved following a tragic horse riding accident that killed his mother, Marjorie Bruce – daughter of Robert the Bruce.

The event celebrated the life of Marjorie Bruce and Robert II through storytelling and song – with wandering minstrels, knights and puppets shows for kids inside the abbey.

Abbey Close itself transformed into a medieval campsite for the day, with working kitchen, hog roast, stocks, custom-made weaponry displays and falconry shows.

Kids and adults dressed up for the occasion, with many donning helmets and chain mail to become knights for the afternoon.

The Stewart dynasty – one of the most enduring royal dynasties in Scottish history – began with Robert II taking the throne as King of Scots in 1371.

Paisley Abbey is known as the ‘cradle of the Royal House of Stewarts’, being the resting place of six High Stewards of Scotland – Princess Marjorie Bruce, the wives of King Robert II and King Robert III.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall, who joined Paisley Abbey’s Reverend Alan Birss in dressing up for the occasion, said: “Paisley’s Medieval Fayre marks an important anniversary for the town as our bid for UK City of Culture 2021 gathers pace.

“Paisley Abbey is a true architectural gem and has some fascinating links to Scottish monarchy. It is unique as the birthplace of King Robert II of Scotland 700 years ago and also the resting place of many High Stewards of Scotland – including Robert’s mother, Marjorie Bruce.

“Paisley has a wealth of history and heritage and events like this are really putting Paisley on the map as unique tourist destination.”

Reverend Alan Birss added: “The medieval fayre was a roaring success and it was great to see so many people come to Paisley Abbey to mark this special milestone in the abbey’s long history.

“Paisley Abbey has a very long history and the medieval fayre has been just one way of exploring that heritage.”

Paisley’s Medieval Fayre is part of an exciting and expanding calendar of cultural events for Renfrewshire as part of the build up to the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

Paisley’s bid is taking place as part of a wider push to transform the town’s future using its unique cultural and heritage offering as the home of the Paisley Pattern and the one-time centre of the global textile industry.

Bids are expected to be lodged with the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport in spring 2017.

To find out more on Paisley 2021, visit  www.paisley2021.co.uk, like /Paisley2021 on Facebook or follow @Paisley2021 on Twitter and Instagram.