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  • Abbey

Discover Paisley's Rich Heritage of Textiles, Witches and More!

Your guru: Caitlin
Questions? Contact with Caitlin

Me
  • Paisley
  • Available in: English

About the guru Caitlin

I'm Caitlin, an adopted Paisley Buddie with a passion for history and travelling. Normally I'm out exploring Scotland and Europe with my dog Marcie-moo in our campervan, but I want to show people Paisleys forgotten history by meeting new people via tours of the town. I absolutely love dogs, so they are always welcome to walk with us, I'll have plenty of treats and water for ... More »

I'm Caitlin, an adopted Paisley Buddie with a passion for history and travelling. Normally I'm out exploring Scotland and Europe with my dog Marcie-moo in our campervan, but I want to show people Paisleys forgotten history by meeting new people via tours of the town. I absolutely love dogs, so they are always welcome to walk with us, I'll have plenty of treats and water for them (just please remember to pick up after them!). I studied Digital Art at UWS but I love to investigate history in my spare time, I'm also an avid hillwalker, so to be able to be a local tour guide is a dream come true! I also run my own crochet business in the area.

About the tour

You may have came to Scotland to visit the stunning Highlands landscape, explore Edinburghs Princes Street, see the Harry Potter train, or take a walk around the vibrant Glasgow. But, did you know about the somewhat forgotten town 10 miles West of Glasgow that is Paisley? Being Scotlands biggest town, shortlisted for the 2021 UK City of Culture, and being home of the world famous Paisley pattern you would think we had a bustling tourist community, but that's not the case, although we do attract a lot of attention as we are a University town.

I arrived in Paisley 5 years ago to study an art degree and fell in love, this town has such a rich history that most locals have even forgotten! I hope to share that with you on my local tours.

Our tour will start at the stunning Paisley Abbey, built in the 6th century on a former Celtic church founded by St Mirin, it became a centre for learning by the likes of William Wallace (who is said to be born just up the road in Elderslie!). Most of the original building was destroyed by fire in 1307, but it was then restored in the fourteenth century. There are also many tombs in the Abbey which are those of Marjorie Bruce, Robert III of Scotland and Simon Fitz Alan.

After we finish at the Abbey, we will take a short walk over to Paisley Town Hall, where we unfortunately cannot enter as there is a huge regeneration plan ongoing and the doors are closed until 2021, but we can appreciate the amazing architecture from outside. It was commissioned in roughly 1872 by James Clark and after a generous sum of £20,000 was left to James by George A Clark in his will to fund the project, the hall opened its doors in 1882 and was built beautifully by local architect firm, Rennison & Scott. These days it is due to be a bustling music venue by 2021, and hosts the annual CAMRA beer festival.

Across from the Town Hall, we will see a statue dedicated to a famous local poet, Robert Tannahill, who unfortunately took his own life in 1810 after he was rejected by a publisher. His work still lives on, and I will recite some of his poetry as we walk, often as Robert did on his travels around Renfrewshire.

We shall then take a walk past Paisleys cenotaph. A marvellous bronze statue dedicated to those lost in the Great War. The inscription reads: “To the glorious memory of the 1,953 men of Paisley who gave their lives in the Great War.”

From here we will walk along to Paisleys Gilmour Street train station, passing one of our new creative hubs, the Incube Shop, which is helping creatives in the area sell their work. Here we can stop for a coffee at one of the towns many niche coffee stores, Brew, or you can pop over to The Last Post, a former Post Office which has transformed into a popular watering hole for locals.

We will then wander to the West End via School Wynd and Church Hill, where we can see some of Paisleys forgotten streets, still cobblestoned with a beautiful church along the way. Our West End isn't as fancy as others, but is undergoing a complete transformation at the moment, meaning many places are closed until 2021, but we can take in the architecture of both the Paisley Museum, and the Thomas Coats Memorial Church, as well as get a glimpse of Paisleys University of the West of Scotland, a huge part of our town, and where I studied myself!

As we continue along the High Street, we can see some of Paisleys oldest pubs, including The Wee Howff.

Before we head down to see the Witches, we will stop briefly to talk about the Slug and Bottle, which was a landmark court decision in Scots delict law and English tort law by the House of Lords. It laid the foundation of the modern law of negligence, establishing general principles of the duty of care.

At Maxwellton Cross, we will talk about the Paisley Witches, 7 people who were tried and convicted of having bewitched an eleven-year-old girl. One subsequently committed suicide by hanging himself in his prison cell, and it is believed that one may have died while imprisoned. The other five were hanged and then burned on the Gallow Green in Paisley on 10 June 1697, the last mass execution for witchcraft in western Europe.

On our final jaunt down to the Abbey mill, we will speak again of Robert Tannahill, as we pass the area where he is believed to have drowned himself. We will continue to the fast-flowing White Cart Water, where we can view the stunning Abbey and Anchor Mills, landmarks of Paisleys textile history.

On our way back to the Abbey, we will pass sharply through Sma Shot Lane and cottages. Built in the 1700s, it became known for its workers right campaign of the Sma' Shot Thread, and in recent years for the Sma' Shot Festival.

Our tour will end back at the Abbey, where you can ask questions and advice on local places to visit further.

Dogs are welcome, treats (dogs only, sorry!) and water will be provided.

Cycling tours coming soon!

Meeting point
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How to find me: Paisley Abbey Main Entrance. Holding a large Paisley Print motif.
Tour duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Tour schedule

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