Renfrewshire Folklore

Stories! With our history, we should be hoaching with folk-tales of fairies and kelpies, ghosts, tricksters, clowns, and con-men. In fact the Gryffe valley has a fairly good range of ancient and improbable tales, but nobody tells them any more.

Have you ever heard of the fairy ring and the fierce defence the fairies made of it? What about the giant’s teeth, five inches long? – or the death-dealing, satan-worshipping ghost of Duchal Castle ; or the sardonic assassin at Duchal House (not the house you know, but another one we’ve forgotten). What about the shape-shifting housewife who spent her spare time living as a hare; or the minister who consulted the Devil?

And then there’s the thousand lost stories of japes, adventures, scams, triumphs, and tragedies at work and at home. The old mills of Bridge of Weir, the farms, homes, schools, shops, and workplaces across the valley are a rich repository of our heritage.
If you haven’t heard any of these tales it’s because people stopped listening and stopped telling.

We’ve just left the brief interlude when we plan and (sometimes) discard our New Year Resolutions; and we’re approaching the season for spring-cleaning, the time when you find old memories at the back of a drawer. Sometimes you throw them into the bin. Why not make a Spring Resolution that goes something like this: `I’ll pick up a local story and I’ll pass it on’. Don’t under-estimate yourself – you’ll be making a unique contribution to our heritage. If you have any stories to pass on please send them to: Alan Steel at