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Paisley Abbey

Abbey, War Memorial(s)

Site Name Paisley Abbey

Classification Abbey, War Memorial(s)

Alternative Name(s) Abbey Close, Paisley Abbey; Abercorn Aisle; Royal Scots Fusiliers, Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders And Royal Engineers War Memorial Plaque

Canmore ID 43139

Site Number NS46SE 2

NGR NS 48559 63954

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2016.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Renfrewshire
  • Parish Paisley (renfrew)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Renfrew
  • Former County Renfrewshire

Archaeology Notes

NS46SE 2.00 48559 63954

NS46SE 2.01 48537 63916 Place of Paisley (manse)

NS46SE 2.02 485 639 St Mirin's Church

NS46SE 2.03 485 638 abbey wall

NS46SE 2.04 485 638 Barochan Cross (see also NS46NW 1)

NS46SE 2.05 4849 6388 to 4858 6388 drain

NS46SE 2.06 485 639 Abbey Close trial excavation

NS46SE 2.07 484 638 trial excavations

For Barochan Cross (NS46NW 1: under guardianship in Paisley Abbey), see NS46SE 2.04.

The Abbey (NR)

OS 6" map (1911)

(NS 4855 6395) The Abbey (NAT)

OS 1:10000 map (1973)

The Clunic Abbey of Paisley was founded as a priory between 1161-4, probably 1163, at Renfrew (see NS56NW 16) moving to Paisley about 1169. It was erected into an abbey in 1219. The abbey was burned by the English in 1307, and again by Reformers in 1561; it was secularised in 1587.

I B Cowan and D E Easson 1976

The original conventual buildings have been altered and absorbed in later work, but the cloister court survives as a garden, the N and E alleys have been restored, and the church continues in use. It dates from a mid-15th century restoration, but includes the original late 12th century E processional doorway and a 13th century great W doorway. The aisled nave is complete and the well-preserved chapel of St Mirin projects E from the S transept. The church was fully restored at the beginning of this century (S Cruden 1960).

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1897; H R Howell 1936

Dates : S wall of nave, about 1190; W bay of nave, 13th century; remainder 15th century. Restoration and additions: nave 1788-8, nave and partial repair of transepts 1859-62; transepts, lower part of central tower 1912 onwards; vault of choir and central tower completed 1924-8; cloisters completed 1915.

SDD List 1963

A small, pierced stone 35mm in diameter, inscribed with a cross, found at Paisley Abbey is in the possession of Norma A Cunningham.

DES 1977

NS 485 639 Phase V of the restoration of Paisley Abbey included the removal, restoration and reinsertion of certain stained glass windows in the N and S aisles and N transept of the abbey. The archaeological works in December 2003 consisted of a watching brief to record any disturbance to the medieval fabric or below-ground archaeology. Evidence of earlier window glass was retrieved, and the remains of the 1879 E window from the St Mirin Chapel were recovered and boxed for storage.

Report lodged with WoSAS SMR and the NMRS.

Sponsors: HS, HLF.

C Evans 2003

Architecture Notes


Architect: Sir Robert Lorimer 1923-8 (restoration)

Dr Peter McGregor Chalmers (restoration) - choir stalls and cloister begun 1912

Wm McDowall. Marble by Flaxman executed by Wm Gowans 1810

N Transept gable partially restored by Jas. Salmon, architect of Glasgow 1862

NMRS Printroom - Inglis Photograph Collection Acc No 1994/90

Interior restoration by Robert Lorimer:

the chancel seen from the crossing

communion table 'Sanctus'

chancel ceiling, including organ

choir stalls

lantern at screen

detail of organ case - studio photograph

chancel desk

NMRS Printroom - Rev John Sime Collection Acc No 1993/144

Pencil plan dated 2 Sept 1816

LOR/P/1/5/4 previously numbered as NMRS/SpC/LOR/Printroom/121



Repair of the Church of Paisley

Payment of #28.11.4 (Scots) as the Duke of Montrose's proportion of the cost. Cash Book.

1733 GD 220/6/32/Page 660

Non-Guardianship Sites Plan Collection, DC28434, 1909.


Repair of the roof and glass of the Church is done but the Duke of Montrose has not yet paid his share of the cost. Letter from Robert Millar, Minister of Paisley Abbey, to John Graham, Chamberlain to the Duke of Montrose.

1727 GD 220/5/1049/5

National Library: Water Colour sketches, Series of, by Thomas Brown, Avocate. Vol. II, No 2 - 1 sketch


Excavation (4 September 2010 - 13 September 2010)

NS 4849 6388 A limited excavation was carried out 4–13

September 2010 on the site of a major medieval drain at

Paisley Abbey. This work followed on from previous work

in 2009 to investigate the construction of the drain and the

deposits surrounding it. Although deep demolition layers

and recent levelling deposits were recorded over most of

the trench, there were areas of undisturbed archaeological

deposits. The remains of a stone foundation uncovered to

the N of the trench could be part of the monastic precinct. In

addition to possible medieval structures, more recent deposits

relating to the buildings and tenements that occupied the site

in the 19th and early 20th centuries were also recorded.

Volunteers from the Renfrew Local History Forum took part

in the excavation.

Archive: RCAHMS. Report: RCAHMS and WoSAS

Funder: Renfrewshire Council Paisley North Local Area Committee,

the Scottish Community Foundation and Historic Scotland

Project (February 2014 - July 2014)

A data upgrade project to record war memorials.


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