The Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 (RWH1697) project started in August of last year with some initial research and has widened considerably. There will be a final large scale re-enactment drama piece playing through the town on 9th June 2012 and it is hoped this will become an annual event.

There is now a shop in the Paisley Centre where folk can pop in and take part in designing and making period costume either for the use of the actors or for their own use during the re-enactment drama. There are opportunities available to engage in activities such as costume making and design, it is totally free of charge and there are also volunteering opportunities available in the areas of acting, writing and behind the scenes activities.

Visitors will be able to find out more about the RWH1697 project and also the Paisley Development Trust’s plans for the Russell Institute building.
Buddies can expect to be better informed about the culture and heritage of our town and also participate in the plans to re-use the famous Paisley landmark at the bottom of New Street.

The RWT1697 shop is at the foot of the escalator to the left on the bottom floor (Causeyside Street), come in and see us and hear what we are all about.

Paisley Abbey

The Paisley Abbey
Today, Paisley Abbey remains the heart of the community, with different events taking place throughout the year. These events have included vocal concerts, art exhibitions and rock gigs. If you are interested in history, archaeology, heritage and architecture, the Abbey is certainly worth the visit.

Paisley AbbeyBy the middle of the 13th Century, the priory had gained enough power, wealth and influence, that it was raised to the position of monastery. The southern aisle, the western wall of the main body of the Abbey kirk and the St Mirin’s Chapel all date from the building work that was carried out at this time. Therefore, these are the oldest surviving parts of the Abbey that we see today.

But with the start of conflict between Scotland and England, in the shape of the Wars of Independence, the Abbey played its part the fighting. A skirmish between the Scots and English took place in woodland in what is now the Charleston area of the town. At this time, the Abbey was attacked by the English and partially destroyed by fire. This has usually been put down to the Abbey’s connections to the Stewarts, who at the time were supporting Robert the Bruce’s claim to the Scottish throne. Those parts of the Abbey that had been damaged were rebuilt and restored and the monastery continued to play an important part in Scottish politics, especially as the monastery continued to have strong connections to the Stewart dynasty.

This is on top of the Abbey’s connections to the Stewarts; it also has supposed connections to William Wallace. The legend goes that Wallace was at least partially educated by Paisley’s monks before being sent off to his uncles in Dundee. This connection between the Abbey and Wallace can be clearly seen today in the shape of the Wallace Window, which can be found at the end of the southern aisle.

During the 1550’s, disaster struck the Abbey. It was at this time that they Abbey’s original tower collapsed, which led to the destruction of much of the transepts, as well as the choir. As this was the time of the Reformation, it was decided not to rebuild what had been lost, and to seal off the nave and the St Mirin’s Chapel, which had been left unscathed by the collapse of the tower. The nave went on to be used as the Reformed parish church of Paisley, while the St Mirin’s Chapel was used as a private chapel by the Hamilton family.

It wasn’t until the 19th Century that is was decided to restore the Abbey to its former glory. During the original building phase, which saw the rebuilding of the transepts and the tower, the project ran out of funds, and the section that led into the area of the choir was sealed off. It wasn’t until the early 20th Century that the choir was finally finished.

In the 300 years since the collapse of the tower, the choir had been used as a parish graveyard. This led to an increase in the ground level within that area of the church. It was decided that none of these graves would be disturbed and the restored Abbey was built around those who had been interred in what had once been a graveyard. During World War I, the rebuilding of the Abbey’s choir came to a halt, with the choir finally being completed during the interwar years.

The restoration work that has been carried out on the Abbey is continuing to this day. The clearest example of this can be seen with the plans to rebuild the west range of the cloisters. The original west range of the cloisters was torn down during the first phase of restoration work on the Abbey in the 19th Century. The rebuilt range will allow for a new gift shop, visitors cafe, as well as an area for interactive displays.

Today, Paisley Abbey remains the heart of the community, with different events taking place throughout the year. These events have included vocal concerts, art exhibitions and rock gigs. If you are interested in history, archaeology, heritage and architecture, the Abbey is certainly worth the visit.

Many thanks to Claire Casey for this blog.



Vacancy for Costume Co-ordinator

Paisley Development Trust are looking for someone aged between 18 and 25 years old and who has been unemployed for six months or longer to be group liaison co-ordinator on costume for the Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 project. The post is for six months.

We will require various groups and individuals throughout Renfrewshire to be costumed and co-ordinated in preparation for their participation in a one day re-enactment event in Paisley on 9 June 2012. The group liaison co-ordinator on costume will be required to run a drop-in shop where costumes can be stored and where people can make their own costumes leading up to the event.

We are looking for someone who has an interest in co-ordination and community arts work. The successful candidate would need to be self-motivated, have good organisational skills, be able to work on own initiative as well as be part of a larger team.

Please apply to:

Liz Gardiner
Executive Director
3rd Floor
7 Water Row
Glasgow G51 3UW

0141 425 2020
07702 961 301

Spirit of Christmas, Paisley Abbey

10 December 2011

7.30 – 9.30pm

£10 for adults, £5 for children, £20 for platinum ticket including drinks reception and priority seating.

Join us at the stunning Paisley Abbey to celebrate Christmas with an evening of carols and readings, hosted by BBC Scotland’s River City star Eileen McCallum.

Performances will come from St Mary’s Primary School Choir, Stagecoach East Kilbride, St Andrew’s Academy School Choir, Garnock Academy Orchestra and Choir and readings will come from our special guests Jackie Baillie MSP and Jean Johanssen of the Postcode Lottery.

Read more


Please note that due to weather warnings the Paisley Farmers’ Market tomorrow (Saturday 26 November) will run a reduced market from 8.30am to 12pm (weather permitting)


Courtesy of Renfrewshire Council

Dobbies Santa

Our campaign, along with Maura Currie, (@mauracurrie & @paisleyorguk ) has been resolved by Dobbies and Santa will now appear in the Paisley store, here is the press release from the Dobbies Facebook page. This decision was taken after intense campaigning via Twitter and Facebook with the help of the Paisley Daily Express’s Alison Rennie. We spoke to Amanda from Dobbies Garden centre’s press team who confirmed that they have now reversed their decision for Santa to not visit the store, and he will now be appearing on the dates below.

Dobbies Santa

Press Release from Dobbies:

Thanks everyone for all your comments on Santa at Paisley. We value our customers’ opinions and as a result of your feedback we are delighted to announce that Santa will be coming to the Centre on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th December. This free festive family event will run across weekend, where children can meet the big man in red and receive a free gift – we hope this event will add some festive cheer for our loyal customers at Paisleyahead of the stores closure at the end of the year.



Bowjangles Vintage opened on the 10th October at 69 High Street, Paisley. After noticing the shop was for let, owner Amanda Blackwood, 26, from Houston, decided to open the vintage clothing boutique. Within two weeks of signing the lease, Bowjangles Vintage was open for business. With a passion for vintage fashion and the experience of previously running a vintage shop, Amanda hoped this new location, right next to the University, would be the key to Bowjangles Vintage becoming a success.

The cool little vintage shop stocks amazing one off vintage pieces from the 1900s to the early 1990s and each piece is lovingly hand selected by Amanda herself. Catering for both ladies and gents, and with a good range of sizes and styles, Bowjangles also has a nice range of jewellery and accessories. So far the response has been fantastic. Customers love the look of the shop, heavily influenced by music – with old record covers + vintage images on the walls, as well as background music to take you back – from 50s soul to 80s ska and everything in between. A gem of a shop Paisley has been crying out for!

For 10% off simply click here and print off their flyer

69 High Street

Tel: 07530 682979
Read more


Free Festive Parking for Paisley Christmas Shoppers

Christmas shoppers in Paisley will find their lives a little bit easier thanks to a free parking scheme in the lead up to the festive season.

The scheme will see 1700 free car parking spaces available in the town every weekend from Saturday 12 November 2011 to Saturday 31 December 2011

Spaces will be available at all council car parks including on-street parking, as well as the Piazza and Paisley Shopping Centre car parks.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Brian Lawson said: “We know it’s a very busy and expensive time of year for people so the free festive parking scheme is a way of making it easier for people to come into Paisley town centre and do their shopping. Read more

Piazza Paisley

By STEF LACH – Evening Times online

A THRIVING Paisley shopping centre has been bought over in a deal worth around £25million.

The Piazza Shopping Centre, in the heart of the Renfrewshire town, has been snapped up by London-based NewRiver Retail which plans to attract more big retail names to the town.

The deal to buy the Piazza was part of a wider transaction between NewRiver and previous owners Zurich Assurance in which NewRiver bought four shopping centres for a combined price of £68m.

NewRiver now owns 14 centres across the UK.

Charles Spooner, senior asset manager at NewRiver, said: “Since our acquisition of the Piazza we have successfully renewed leases with two existing tenants and negotiated deals for two new leases in the mall.

Piazza Paisley

“Our vision for the Piazza is to build on the characteristics which have seen it continue to prosper in a difficult economy, and to attract and retain more tenants who will thrive in the retail environment created there.

“We see the Piazza as the prime retail property in Paisley and are confident that we can help it develop its position at the heart of the town.

“Maureen Hill, the centre manager, will continue to work closely with Renfrew-shire Council in the delivery of successful events in Paisley town centre such as the  Christmas lights switch on.”

The Piazza has seen something of a revival in recent years, having previously played second fiddle to the nearby Paisley Centre.

NewRiver’s aquisition has also led to the creation of jobs at the mall, with staffing levels having already increased by 50% under the new owners.

The Piazza tries to live up to its ‘At the Heart of Paisley’ tagline by maintaining links with local groups and charities. This year the centre is the main sponsor of Paisley Rugby Club.

Councillor Brian Lawson, leader of Renfrewshire Council, said: “It is particularly encouraging to meet successful retail property experts who believe that Paisley is a valuable investment opportunity, and who have sufficient faith in their ability to improve the shopping environment that they have invested many millions of pounds in our town.

“The Piazza has always been a key part of Paisley’s retail landscape, and building on its success will benefit all retailers in the town by attracting more shoppers through offering increased choice and value in a convenient town centre location.

“Renfrewshire Council has worked hard in recent times to re-establish the value of the town as a retail location, with the key aim to encourage more people to spend more time in the town centre.

“Renfrewshire Council look forward to a productive partnership with NewRiver Retail, and we are delighted to work with and support investors with ambition whose vision for the success of the Piazza so closely aligns with our ambitions for our town.”

You can visit the Piazza’s website here

Santa Rockettes

Video of the Santa’s Parade through Paisley on Saturday the 5th November 2011.

Video sent in by one of our volunteers John McIntyre