The following article was written by the thirteen year old grandson of our Vice-President. It is completely his own work. We were so impressed by Aidan’s research skills that we felt his article on the history of Paisley merited publication. It is gratifying that the younger generation are showing a keen interest in local history research.

By Aidan Shearer

Paisley is the largest town in Renfrewshire. It is situated on the northern edge of the Gleniffer Braes. Sitting on the banks of the White Cart Water it feeds into the River Clyde. The name Paisley may come from the Brythonic Passeleg ‘basilica’ meaning ‘major church’ recalling an early undocumented importance.

It is believed that Saint Mirin founded a community on this site in the 7th Century. Long after his death a shrine to him was made and the abbey became a popular destination for pilgrims. In 1163 Walter Fitz Alan (first High Steward of Scotland) issued a charter for a priory on his land in Paisley. Around 13 monks came down from the Cluniac priory in Shropshire to found the community. It was made an abbey around 1219. In 1307 Edward I of England had the abbey burned down and it was rebuilt later in the 14th Century. William Wallace is believed to have been educated in the Abbey when he was a boy. Robert II was born in or near to the Abbey . Marjorie Bruce (mother of Robert II), all six High Stewards of Scotland and the wives of Robert II and III are all buried there. Robert ll died at Dundonald Castle in 1390 and  buried at Scone Abbey.

Saint Mirin was born in 565. He was an Irish monk and was also known as Mirren of Benchor (Bangor) Merinus, Merryn and Meadhran. His feast day is celebrated on 15th September. When he was a young boy his mother took him to Bangor Abbey in the north east of Ireland where he was placed under the care of St Comgall. When St. Regulus had made himself known in St Andrews he appointed many men to go and bring the gospel to Scotland and one of them was St Mirin.

From roughly 1800-1850 weavers in Paisley became the foremost makers of ‘Paisley shawls’. Unique additions to their handlooms and Jacquard looms permitted them to work in five different colours when most weavers were producing shawls using only two. The design became known as the Paisley Pattern.

St. Mirren F. C. was founded in 1877: Nickname – The Buddies or the Saints: Ground – St Mirren Park: Chairman – Stewart Gilmour: Manager – Danny Lennon: Highest win – 15 – 0 against Glasgow University Trophies won: First Division – 4: Scottish Cup – 3: Challenge Cup – 1: Victory Cup -1: Anglo Scottish Cup Winners – 1: Summer Cup – 1: Epson Invitational Tournament – 1 and Renfrewshire Cup – 54

Places of Interest
Renfrewshire House – headquarters of Renfrewshire Council.
Thomas Coats Memorial Church – largest Baptist Church in Europe.
Dooslan Stane – was a meeting point for the weavers unions in the south of Paisley. It is the congregating point for the Sma’ Shot parade which takes place on the first Saturday of July.

Famous People
Archie Gemmill – Footballer: Gerard Butler – Actor: Paolo Nutini – Singer/songwriter: David Tennant – Actor: Fred Goodwin – Banker: Owen Coyle – Manager of Bolton Wanderers: Paul Gallacher – Footballer: Jamie Langfield – Footballer: Derek McInnes – Manager of Bristol City: Paul Lambert – Manager of Aston Villa.
Former President of the United States of America Ronald Reagan’s maternal great-great grandparents (Claude Wilson and Margaret Downey) were married in Paisley.

© 2012 Aidan Shearer

We are still waiting for an article from his Granny!