Paisley Early beginnings

Paisley Early beginnings

Strong local traditions exist that the two hills of Castlehead and Oakshaw had early forms of fortification.  At Castlehead, early, if scant, remains of a medieval hill-ring fort has been found. In the 17th century, at Oakshaw, there were large remains still visible.  These were described as “three fosses and dykes of earth so great that men on horseback could not see over them”. That these two sites contained Roman remains is unlikely, since no such finds have been unearthed there.  Although it is an attractive idea there is no evidence to support the belief, so beloved by Victorian historians, that Paisley was the Vindogara of Ptolemy’s ancient map.

Hammills from Paisley Abbey taken by Kenny Paul

Paisley’s real birthplace was at Seedhill, the land adjoining the Hammills waterfall.  There the River Cart could be easily forded and seedhill, as its later name implied, had good fertile soil.  This is where Paisley’s earliest cleared settlement would have been.

According to legend, in about 560AD, an Irish monk came to this settlement and founded a Celtic church.  His name was Mirin.  This holy man, after completing his mission, in what is now Strathclyde, “fell asleep in the Lord at Paisley” and a church was built to his memory.  Until the Reformation, a small building called St Mirin’s Chapel stood in Seedhill.  Connected to it was a graveyard and a Priests house.  This may or may not have been connected with St Mirin’s original church.

Book by – David Rowand