- PAISLEY, a burgh, market-town, and ancient parish, in the Upper ward of the county of Renfrew, of which it is the principal place, and the seat of a wide manufacturing district, 7½ miles (W. by S.) from Glasgow, and 50 (W. by S.) from Edinburgh; containing 60,487 inhabitants, of whom 48,426 are in the burgh and suburbs; 5626 in the village of Johnstone; 1086 in that of Elderslie; 1504 in the villages of Nitshill, Hurlet, Crossmill, and Dovecothall; 775 in those of Thorn, Overton, and Quarrelton; and 3070 in the rural districts of the parish. This place, of which the name is of very uncertain derivation, is by most antiquaries identified with the Vanduaria of Ptolemy; and of its having been a Roman station of considerable importance, there is positive evidence in the traces of a spacious and strongly-fortified camp, which, from the vestiges yet remaining, appears to have comprehended the site of the present town, and, in connexion with its several out-posts, to have extended to the river Cart. It occupied a commanding situation, comprising within its intrenchments the hill called Oakshaw Head, on the acclivity of which the prætorium was seated, overlooking the surrounding country. Of the triple intrenchments by which it was defended, there are still left portions of the ramparts, of lofty elevation and of great breadth; and parts of the ancient Roman road from Carlisle to Paisley are also distinctly to be traced in the immediate vicinity. The original town seems to have been indebted for its rise to the foundation, by Walter, progenitor of the royal race of the Stuarts, of a monastery for a prior and thirteen brethren of the Cluniac order, brought from the abbey of Wenlock, in the county of Salop, in 1163, by the founder, who was a native of that place. This monastery was built upon the eastern bank of the Cart, on the opposite side of which soon afterwards arose a village, consisting chiefly of conventual buildings, and dwelling-houses for various persons connected with the religious community, or attracted to the spot by the vicinity of a rich and prosperous establishment. The monastery, which was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, St. James, and St. Mirin, continued to flourish as originally founded till the year 1220, when it was raised to the rank of a mitred abbey by Pope Honorius III. In addition to its ample endowment by the founder and his descendants, it received numerous munificent donations from different families of distinction; and thus became one of the wealthiest institutions in the country. Its lands were erected into a royalty, under the jurisdiction of the abbots, who obtained from succeeding sovereigns many valuable privileges; and it continued to increase in importance until 1307, when it was burnt by the English army under Aymer de Valence.The Abbey was, however, soon afterwards rebuilt, on a more extensive scale, and in a style of great magnificence. The church, a stately cruciform structure, was completed by Abbot Tarvas in 1459, and, with the conventual buildings, and immediately adjacent lands forming the Abbey park, was inclosed by a lofty wall of hewn stone, more than a mile in circumference, by Abbot Schaw, in 1485. Thus, constantly augmenting in wealth, the monastery flourished till the Dissolution, when its revenues were estimated at £2468 in money, exclusively of 155 chalders of grain; and not less than twenty-nine parish churches were dependent upon it at the time. After the Reformation, the site of the Abbey and conventual buildings, with all its lands and possessions, was erected into a temporal seigniory by the king and parliament, in favour of Claude Hamilton, third son of the Duke of Chatelherault, who was created Lord Paisley in 1587. The lordship remained in his family till the year 1652, when it was purchased from his descendant, the Earl of Abercorn, by the Earl of Angus, who sold the greater portion of the lands to William Cochrane, first earl of Dundonald, and the remainder to various other proprietors, with whom they continued till the year 1764, when the lordship was repurchased by James, Earl of Abercorn. It is now the property of his descendant, the Marquess of Abercorn. The Abbey was successively the residence of the lords Paisley and the earls of Abercorn and Dundonald; but after the demolition of part of the buildings by the Earl of Dundonald, and the appropriation of the adjacent lands to the different purchasers, it ceased to be any longer a baronial residence, and was let in separate tenements. The fine massive wall by which the whole demesne was surrounded, was, with the exception of a very small portion still remaining, entirely removed; and the Abbey park is now the site of the New Town of Paisley, a considerable part of which was erected with materials obtained from the ruins of the venerable and truly magnificent Abbey. In the year 1597, the consort of James VI. paid a visit to the Earl of Abercorn in his baronial residence called the Place of Paisley, while the ancient Abbey was still the seat of that nobleman; and in 1617 the monarch himself, on revisiting his native country, was received in the great hall, when an address in the name of the community of the town and neighbourhood was delivered in his presence by a youth of nine years of age, the son of Sir James Semple, at that time sheriff of the county. In the rebellions of 1715 and 1745, the inhabitants of Paisley and the vicinity maintained a firm and loyal adherence to their lawful sovereign, and on the former occasion, anticipating an attempt of the Pretender to land upon their coast, appointed a nightly guard of twenty men to patrol the town, and themselves remained under arms, ready at a moment's notice to repel any assault that might be made. In 1745, the troops of the Pretender having entered Glasgow to levy contributions from the citizens, the inhabitants of this town prepared themselves for a similar visit, and concluded arrangements for treating with the assailants, whom they were not sufficiently strong to withstand by force; and the magistrates, having been summoned to appear before the secretary of the Pretender, procured exemption from molestation by submitting to an imposition of £500. In 1822, when George IV. visited Scotland, the authorities of the burgh waited upon His Majesty with an address of congratulation, and an invitation to Paisley, in the Abbey of which many of his royal predecessors had been interred.The town is pleasantly situated on the White Cart, by which it is divided into two portions called respectively the Old and the New Town, the former on the west, and the latter on the eastern, bank of that river. It consists principally of two streets intersecting each other at right angles; the one, nearly two miles in length, forms part of the road from Glasgow to Beith and the Ayrshire coast, and the other is a continuation of the road from Inchinnan to Neilston. These two lines are crossed in various directions by numerous spacious and well-built streets, of which George-street and Forbes-street contain many very handsome houses. The appearance of the town has been much improved by the removal of numbers of the older houses, and the erection of others of more modern style; and among the most recent additions, Garthland Place, at the eastern entrance to Paisley, is distinguished as one of the most elegant ranges of building in this part of the country. The environs are pleasing, and several of the adjacent villages are seen with peculiar effect in the general landscape of the place. The streets are lighted with gas by a company incorporated in 1823, who embarked a capital of £16,000, and erected very extensive works for the supply of the neighbourhood. In 1844, an act for a second company was passed; but a compromise has been since effected. The inhabitants were till lately but indifferently furnished with water from the river, and from public and private wells. A company therefore was formed in 1825, and an act of parliament obtained for the supply of the town. After a sufficient capital had been subscribed, this project was abandoned, from the objections of some proprietors of land; but a new company, for bringing water from the Gleniffer hills, was formed in 1835, and a capital of £40,000 subscribed. An act was procured for carrying this plan into operation; and two very capacious reservoirs, covering nearly one hundred acres, and having an average depth of almost forty feet, have been constructed, furnishing an abundant supply of pure water for the use of the inhabitants, and of the different public works carried on in the vicinity. There is a public library, supported by subscription of about 200 proprietary shareholders; it comprises more than 4500 volumes in the various departments of literature. In the town is also a very extensive library containing several thousand volumes, maintained by subscription of the operative classes; a library annexed to the Faculty of Procurators has a large collection of the most approved law books; and a medical library is attached to the House of Recovery, under the management of the Medical Society. One newspaper is published weekly. The Philosophical Institution was established in 1808, for promoting the study of natural philosophy, general literature, and science, by the delivery of single lectures by the members gratuitously, and occasionally courses of lectures by eminent professors. Connected with it are a library of above 500 volumes, and a museum containing a very valuable collection of minerals and natural curiosities. There are also some curiosities in the pleasant gardens in the immediate vicinity of the town called Hope-Temple, comprising several acres of ground tastefully laid out, and forming an interesting place of resort to the inhabitants. An agricultural society was founded here in 1819, for the advance of improvements in husbandry by the distribution of prizes; the meetings are held annually, when a show of cattle and some ploughing-matches take place. There are likewise two horticultural societies, one established in 1782, and the other in 1832; both are well supported, and have tended greatly to improvement in the management of gardens, and the raising of flowers and vegetables. To the east of the town, in the suburb of Williamsburgh, some very commodious barracks have been erected within the last thirty years; they are pleasantly situated, and adapted to the reception of half a regiment of infantry.The almost unequalled increase in the extent and population of Paisley, which formerly consisted only of one street, and contained scarcely 2000 inhabitants, is to be attributed to the introduction of the various manufactures of which it is the seat, and for which its situation near the river Clyde, affording great facility of communication, renders it peculiarly favourable. Not long after the union of the two kingdoms, when a free trade was opened, the few articles manufactured here, principally coarse checked linens and Bengals, were purchased by pedlars from England, who, selling them among their friends at home to advantage, regularly frequented this town as the principal mart, and, after acquiring some little property as itinerant merchants, took up their abode in Paisley, and became factors for supplying their correspondents in the south. The impetus thus given to the manufactures soon excited the attention of the Glasgow merchants, who bought large quantities, which they sent to London and to foreign markets. The manufacture of checked linen handkerchiefs, of different colours tastefully blended, was soon added to the articles previously made; and to these succeeded various fabrics of lighter texture, consisting chiefly of plain and figured lawns, and a new sort of sewing-thread, known by the appellation of ounce or nuns' thread, to distinguish it from other kinds manufactured at Aberdeen and Dundee. The manufacture of silk gauze, in imitation of that of Spitalfields, London, was introduced here about the year 1760, and was carried on with such success, and in such a variety of elegant patterns, as totally to supersede the making of that article by the London weavers. It soon became the staple manufacture of the place, and several companies from London settled in the town for the purpose of conducting it on a more extensive scale; it furnished employment to numbers of persons in the surrounding district for almost twenty miles, and the different manufactures here had agents for the sale of it in London, Dublin, Paris, and other parts of the continent. This manufacture, however, after a period of unexampled success for nearly thirty years, declined with the change of fashion, and was almost immediately succeeded by that of muslin, which was carried on by the same parties with much spirit and perseverance, and soon rose to a great degree of prosperity. The working of muslins with embroidery shortly followed; it was pursued with only moderate success for some time, but has been rapidly increasing within the last twenty years, and now gives employment to thousands of females in this widely extended manufacturing district. The value of the silk and linen gauze, and white sewing-thread, manufactured here in 1784, has been estimated at £579,185; and about 1790, the aggregate amount of all the goods of every kind manufactured annually was computed at £660,385. The number of persons employed in 1784 in the gauze and thread works was 27,484. From the reports of the Board of Trustees for the encouragement of manufactures, it appears that the linen trade had in 1784 reached its greatest height; the number of looms that year was 2000, and nearly 2,000,000 of yards were stamped. About 5000 looms were then, according to the same authority, employed in the silk gauze manufacture, and the quantity produced was estimated at £350,000.At the beginning of the 19th century, the manufacture of shawls in imitation of those of India was attempted, at first only with comparatively moderate success; but by the perseverance and ingenuity of the persons embarked in it, the manufacture at length succeeded even beyond expectation, and shawls of soft and spun silk, and of cotton, were produced of admirable quality. Imitations, also, of the scarfs and turbans worn by the eastern nations were made, and exported in great quantities to the islands in the Archipelago and to Turkey; and the same style of work was introduced in several varieties for ladies' dresses. This trade flourished for a long time, affording employment to great numbers of persons; and is still carried on to a considerable extent. A more perfect imitation of the Indian shawl was eventually obtained, by mixing fine wool and silk in the production of what was called Persian yarn; and a still nearer approximation was made by the introduction of the fabric called Thibet, originally manufactured in Yorkshire, but afterwards adopted with improvements by the weavers of this place. The manufacture was at length brought to its present state of perfection by the use of cashmere wool from the east; this had been imported for some time by the French; and by obtaining yarn from France, the Paisley manufacturer produced an article of most beautiful quality. The manufacture of crape for dresses, and of embroidered crape and damask shawls resembling those of China, was introduced here about the year 1823, and carried on to a very considerable extent, affording lucrative employment to numbers of females, whose ingenuity and skill have produced specimens in many instances equal to those imported from Canton: this manufacture is still pursued, though less extensively than formerly. The shawls at present chiefly made are of three kinds; either entirely of silk, a mixture of silk and cotton, or wholly of cotton. The trade in them has been rapidly increasing, and the value of the quantities produced in a late year was estimated at nearly £1,000,000. The cheneille shawl was introduced into the town by Mr. Buchanan, afterwards of Glasgow, and is made on a very extensive scale: these shawls, of velvet on silk, from their extreme softness and the variety of their colours are in great estimation. The thread manufacture, in which cotton has been recently used in the place of linen, affords employment to many persons, and the quantity annually made is estimated at £100,000. The total number of looms in the town is more than 6000; there are 2000 in the villages; and in the surrounding districts, great numbers of persons are employed by the Glasgow houses. Machinery of every kind, and on the most improved principles, is used in all the factories; and for facilitating the operations, and bringing to greater perfection the articles made, numerous ingenious contrivances have been suggested, and successfully applied, both by the masters and the workmen.The printing of silks and muslins is carried on to a limited extent, and the weaving of tartan employs numerous persons. The cotton manufacture, which was first attempted at Dovecothall, is also pursued, and on a considerable scale: there are at present three factories in the town, two of which are very extensive; and sixteen likewise in the village of Elderslie and the rising town of Johnstone. An iron-foundry on a large scale has been established for more than fifty years; and connected with it are works for the manufacture of steamengines and all kinds of machinery. There are also a manufactory for gasometers, and iron boats for canal navigation; three large brass-foundries in the town; two iron-foundries, and one brass, in the village of Johnstone; and five manufactories for machinery connected with the factories of the district. A very extensive tannery is conducted with great success. There are three public breweries, two of which are extensive; three distilleries; a large soap manufactory; and seven bleachfields, to most of which capacious reservoirs have been attached by the company for supplying Paisley with water. Two banks have been established in the town, in which are also three branch banks connected with Edinburgh and Glasgow, and numerous offices for fire and life insurance: the post-office has several deliveries daily; and the revenue, before the adoption of the system of the penny-postage, amounted to £3194. The market, which is amply supplied, is weekly, on Thursday; and there are four annual fairs, for three days each, respectively commencing on the third Thursday in February, the third Thursday in May, the third Thursday in August, and the second Thursday in November. At the August fair, the Paisley races, which have been long established, attract a numerous assemblage of visiters. A fair is also held at Johnstone, in July, for cattle; and a horse fair is held in December.The town has great facility of intercourse with Glasgow, and with all other parts of the country, by excellent roads and bridges, of which latter, one of ancient structure, across the Cart, connects the Old and New Towns; while two others, over the same river, afford communication between the Abbey and town parishes. One of these, called, from its situation near the Seedhill craigs, the Seedhill bridge, was built with materials taken from the ruins of the Abbey. The Glasgow, Paisley, and Johnstone Canal, for which an act of parliament was obtained in 1805, was commenced in 1807; and that part of it forming a communication between Paisley and Johnstone was finished in 1810. In the following year, the portion between this town and Glasgow was opened. The whole line of navigation is eleven miles in length, about twenty-eight feet in width, and four feet and a half in average depth; and was completed at an expense of £130,000. In its progress it passes along two tunnels, one of which, under the Causeway-side-street of the town, is 240 feet long, and the other, near the western extremity of the town, 210 feet: it is carried across the Cart by a handsome aqueduct 240 feet in length, twenty-seven feet in breadth, and thirty feet in height, and the span of the arch over the river is eighty-four feet. It was not found necessary to construct a single lock. In addition to the boats for goods and merchandise, three boats were at first handsomely fitted up for passengers, each capable of conveying one hundred persons; and the facilities were afterwards greatly extended by the addition of lighter craft, called gig-boats, which were drawn by horses, and left the basin at Paisley every hour, from nine o'clock in the morning till eight at night, for Glasgow. The passage was performed in less than an hour; the number of passengers annually conveyed was 423,186, and the amount of fares received by the proprietors more than £9000. Not less than sixty-four horses were employed for these boats. By a recent arrangement, however, with railway companies, the conveyance of passengers is to be discontinued for twenty-one years, and the traffic confined to heavy goods, of which 68,063 tons were carried in the year ending 30th September 1844. The Railway from the New Town of Paisley to the river Clyde at Renfrew, for the conveyance of passengers and goods, was constructed by a company under an act obtained in 1835; and the line was opened in May 1837. It is three miles and a quarter in length, with a rise of about sixteen feet upon the whole distance; the earth-works are light, and there is only one stone bridge (having a semi-elliptical arch) over the railway, and four level road-crossings. The amount of capital is £23,000. The Glasgow, Paisley, and Greenock railway was commenced under an act passed in 1837; it begins at the south end of Glasgow bridge, proceeds to Paisley, and, running nearly parallel to the Clyde, terminates at Greenock, near the harbour, the whole line being twenty-two and a half miles. The portion between Glasgow and Paisley, common with the Ayr railway, noticed below, was opened on the 14th July, 1840: the capital of the company is now £866,666. The Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock, and Ayr railway proceeds through Paisley on a viaduct resting on several arches of different spans, according to the width of the streets and roads passed over, of which there are seven. Here, also, the railway is carried over the river Cart on a bold and splendid bridge of one arch, eighty-five feet in span; after which it curves, and passes over the Glasgow, Paisley, and Johnstone canal in its course to the south-west. Paisley is one of the principal intermediate stations. The works of this railway were commenced in May 1838; and the whole line, forty miles, between Glasgow and Ayr was opened in August 1840. The easy means of communication with so many important places now afforded to this town by these various lines of road, tends materially to increase its trade.Paisley was in 1488 formed into a free burgh of barony by James IV., in favour of the abbot of Paisley and his successors, to whom he gave the power of appointing a provost, bailies, and other officers. The privileges which the inhabitants had previously obtained from the superior of the regality, were confirmed and greatly extended by a charter granted in 1490 by the abbot to the provost, bailies, burgesses, and community of the recently-created burgh; and in 1576, James VI. bestowed a charter confirming to them all altarages, chapelries, and lands within the burgh. This charter is regarded as the foundation of the claims of patronage exercised by the earls of Abercorn and Dundonald after the dissolution of the monastery, and acquired from the latter family by the magistrates and council of the burgh in 1733. In 1658 the corporation, in consideration of certain sums of money, obtained from Lord Cochrane, at that time proprietor of the lordship, the right of superiority of the burgh, with all its privileges and immunities, to be held of the crown; which liberties, rights, and possessions, with the power of electing magistrates, were confirmed to the inhabitants by charter granted by Charles II., in the year 1666. The government is at present vested in a provost, four bailies, a treasurer, and a council of ten burgesses, assisted by a town-clerk, chamberlain, and other officers. The provost, who is also a deputy-lieutenant of the county; the bailies, who are also ex officio justices of the peace; and the council, are all annually elected on the first Monday in November, under the authority, and subject to the regulations, of the Municipal Reform act; and the town-clerk, chamberlain, and other officers are appointed by the provost and council. The magistrates have jurisdiction over the whole of the ancient royalty, and hold courts twice in the week for the determination of civil actions, the town-clerk being assessor; also a court of requests, called the Conveners' court, in which parties appear on summons, and state mutually their cases, before taking ulterior proceedings in the civil court, which are frequently obviated by the advice given by the magistrates. The sheriff's court, for the recovery of small debts, removed from Renfrew to this place, is held weekly, and has tended to diminish the number of cases brought before the civil court, which previously averaged about 200, but subsequently not more than seventy, annually. A police court, also, is held daily by the magistrates, assisted by the town-clerk as assessor, for the decision of petty offences and breaches of the peace: the police establishment consists of a superintendant, two serjeants, four corporals, and twelve constables, appointed by the commissioners for the wards into which the town and suburbs are divided. Prior to the adoption of the Police act, an organization of special constables had been established, which, from its efficiency in preserving order, is still kept up, at the trifling expense of furnishing batons to the constables as ensigns of their authority.Before the passing of the act for amending the parliamentary representation, the burgh merely shared in returning a member for the county; but since that time it has sent one of its own, and the limits of the ancient burgh have been extended over a wide agricultural district on the opposite side of the river Cart, which is now included within the parliamentary boundary. The number of persons occupying houses within the municipal bounds of Paisley to the amount of £10 per annum and upwards is 906, of whom 496 are burgesses; and of those occupying houses under £10 per annum, but above £5, 900, of whom 267 are burgesses. The number of £10 householders beyond the municipal, but within the parliamentary, boundary of the burgh, is 234, of whom eighty-six are burgesses; and of those occupying houses under £10 per annum, but above £5, 215, of whom sixteen are burgesses.The County and Town Hall is a spacious quadrangular edifice in the castellated style, erected in 1820, at an expense of £28,000, raised by assessment on the county. The front, or western, range of the quadrangle contains a large court-house, county-hall, council-chambers, and offices for the different departments of the public business of the town and county. The eastern range comprises the house of correction, the common gaol, and a chapel between them for their joint accommodation, in which divine service is regularly performed every Sunday evening by the ministers of the Establishment and dissenting Presbyterians. The gaol has nineteen apartments for criminals, and fifteen for debtors; of the former there were 319, and of the latter 195, committed during a recent year: here is likewise a large airing yard. The house of correction consists of forty-two cells, an hospital for the sick, and two convenient airing yards. The average number of inmates is thirty-two; they are employed in winding yarn, weaving, needlework, picking wool, and other useful works; and such as need instruction are attended by a teacher daily for one hour. Classification and moral discipline are strictly observed, and attached to the prison is a library of religious books. The steeple of the former court-house and prison is still remaining, near the market-cross; and opposite to it are the coffee-room buildings, of handsome style, ornamented with pilasters of the Ionic order, and containing a spacious reading and news room.The whole of the Paisley portion of the county, at present so populously inhabited, and forming so extensive a manufacturing district, was previously to the year 1736 one parish, now divided into the Abbey parish and the town parishes. The district is situated in the upper part of the shire, within two miles of the river Clyde; and is nearly nine miles in length, and of very irregular form, varying from half a mile to about five miles and a half in breadth. It is bounded on the north by the parish of Renfrew, on the north-east by that of Govan, on the east by the parish of Eastwood, on the south-east by Neilston, on the west by the parish of Kilbarchan, and on the south and south-west by the parishes of Neilston and Lochwinnoch. The surface is beautifully diversified, consisting around the town of numerous gentle eminences, either in rich cultivation or clothed with wood. To the north of the town the lands are generally level, being chiefly reclaimed moss; but towards the south they rise into hills, called the Braes of Gleniffer, the highest points of which have an elevation of about 700 feet above the river Cart, but which afford excellent pasturage for sheep, and in some of the lower heights are in a state of cultivation. The chief river is the Cart, or White Cart, which has its source in the high grounds between Eaglesham and the parish of Kilbride, and after forming its boundary for some few miles, enters the Abbey parish on the eastern side, and flows with a gentle course towards the town, whence it runs into the Clyde, after having united with the Black Cart near Inchinnan bridge. Above the town its banks exhibit much rich scenery, being in some parts very elevated, and crowned with wood. It formerly abounded with perch, trout, flounders, and other fish; but they have not been found in such numbers since the establishment of so many works upon its stream. The river has been rendered navigable to the town for vessels of sixty or eighty tons, by the construction of a short canal to avoid the shallows near Inchinnan bridge, and by various additional improvements of recent date, for which an act of parliament was obtained. The Levern, a smaller stream, on the banks of which are numerous cotton-mills, bleachfields, and other works, after forming part of the eastern boundary of the Abbey parish, joins the Cart, nearly at its entrance into the parish. The Black Cart has its source in Castle-Semple loch, borders the parish on the north-west, and falls into the Cart, as already remarked, near Inchinnan bridge. Various rivulets, also, descend from the higher grounds; the Espedair and Alt-Patrick burns may be considered the principal.The soil in the upper lands is dry and light; in the lower parts, a stiffish clay, retentive of moisture. The whole number of acres is estimated at 16,160, of which about 12,700 are arable, 1000 in woods and plantations, 1700 moss, and about 700 waste; the chief crops are, oats, wheat, barley, beans, potatoes, and turnips. The system of agriculture has been greatly improved, and the rotation plan of husbandry is prevalent; the farm-buildings are substantial and well arranged; the lands generally inclosed; and all the more recent improvements in the construction of implements have been adopted. Tile-draining has been carried on to a considerable extent; much waste land and moss, also, has been reclaimed and brought into cultivation. Due attention is paid to the rearing of live-stock, under the encouragement of the Agricultural Society; the dairy-farms are well managed, and the proximity of populous towns and villages affords a ready market for their produce. The cattle are of the Ayrshire breed, the sheep generally of the Leicestershire; the horses are the Clydesdales, and are considered of superior character. A number of racers and hunters are bred in the district. The woods consist of oak, elm, ash, plane, and horsechesnut; and the plantations, of birch, larch, and silver, spruce, and Scotch firs: the trees are all well attended to; and the plantations, occupying chiefly elevated situations, add greatly to the beauty of the scenery.The substrata in the higher lands are mainly composed of trap-rock of the secondary character; and in the lower lands, of rocks belonging to the coal formation. Greenstone, hornblende with quartz and felspar, and porphyry of a greyish colour, are found in the hills: the greenstone is traversed with veins of jasper and chalcedony. The substrata in the lower division include ironstone, limestone, sandstone, fire-clay, and aluminous and bituminous shale. The sandstone is of a yellowish-white colour, tinged more or less with iron; it is extensively quarried at Nitshill, and the works afford constant employment to about 100 persons throughout the whole of the year. The limestone occurs in beds under the sandstone, and alternating with coal and ironstone; it is of a grey colour, and is quarried at Hurlet and Blackhall, where it is thickly imbedded with shells, crystal of calcareous spar, and small masses of mineral pitch. Coal is of course abundant in the lower portion of the Abbey parish; it has been found within the town, near Meikleriggs, and at Quarrelton, Hurlet, and other places. The coal at Quarrelton is in ten successive seams, varying from three to nine yards in thickness: a considerable quantity is of light inflammable kind, and the remainder closely resembling the Newcastle coal. It abounds with inflammable gas, and is liable to spontaneous ignition. The coal found at Hurlet occurs in a stratum about five feet and a half thick, extending over an area of nearly 500 acres, and contains a large quantity of sulphur; while at Nitshill are strata from one foot to almost three feet in thickness. Coal is also found near the road from Paisley to Beith, on the high grounds of Auchenlodmont, at Elderslie, and at Craigenfeoch; in the last place it occurs in four under-seams varying in thickness from three to five feet, and is wrought in separate lofts. The ironstone occurs in many places, and was formerly wrought to a great extent, and sent to the smelting-works on the river Clyde: ironore is still found in considerable quantities at Hawkeshead, Hurlet, and other places, occurring generally in round or lenticular masses of moderate size. Aluminous schist is abundant at Hurlet, the strata varying from six inches to three feet and a half in thickness. It is wrought by a company for the purpose of making alum, of which, in a late year, not less than 1200 tons were manufactured here; and about 300 tons of copperas were produced by the same company at their works at Nitshill. Large quantities of muriate of potash and sulphate of ammonia are manufactured at Glasgow, and sent to the alum-works by the Glasgow canal and the Hurlet railway. At this company's several works and collieries near Paisley nearly 400 persons are constantly employed; and about 200 more are engaged in the mineral productions at other places in the Abbey parish. From the abundance of ironstone and coal diffused through the district, it is not improbable that iron-works on a very extensive scale may be ultimately established here, and give a fresh impetus to the enterprising genius of the inhabitants. The rateable annual value of Paisley is £132,829, of which £66,941 are for the Abbey parish, which completely encircles, and includes part of the town.The principal gentlemen's seats in the Abbey parish are, Johnstone Castle, the residence of Ludovic Houston, Esq., a spacious and elegant mansion, in a richly-wooded demesne forming one of the chief ornaments of the county; Househill, a handsome residence, pleasantly situated on the banks of the Levern, near its confluence with the river Cart; and Ralston House, built by the late William Orr, Esq. There are numerous other houses scattered over the parish, inhabited by opulent families, and surrounded with grounds tastefully embellished; and in the immediate vicinity of the town are many pleasing villas, erected by persons retired from business.Paisley is the seat of a presbytery established in 1590, and having jurisdiction over all the parishes in the county, except those of Eaglesham and Cathcart, which, being only partly in Renfrew, were transferred to the presbytery of Greenock. Its ecclesiastical affairs, therefore, are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Paisley and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. The stipend of the incumbent of the Old or Abbey parish, of which the population is 28,246, is £376, with a manse, a comfortable residence, erected in 1824, and a glebe valued at £67 per annum. A second minister was in 1641 appointed as a colleague to the incumbent, who at that time gave five chalders out of his own income for his support; and this allowance, having been subsequently augmented, produces to the minister of the second charge a stipend of £363, but without either manse or glebe. The church of this parish is part of the Abbey church, which was fitted up for the purpose, and will be more minutely described hereafter. The increase of the population early rendered the erection of an additional church indispensable; and in 1736, a church now called the Low Church having been completed, the burgh was erected into a separate parish by the Lords Commissioners, and a charter was obtained from Lord Dundonald, granting to the magistrates permission to build other churches within its limits, of which he conceded to them the patronage. In 1756, a church was erected on the eminence called Oakshaw Head, and, from its situation, was called the High Church. About twenty-five years afterwards, a third church was built in the burgh parish, to accommodate the rapidlyaugmenting population, and, from its relative position between the other two, obtained the appellation of the Middle Church; and after its erection, the parish was by an act of the Court of Teinds in 1781, divided into three parishes, called the Low Church, the High Church, and the Middle Church parishes. The population of these parishes respectively is, 7080, 14,798, and 10,363; and the stipends of the incumbents are £300 per annum each, paid out of the common property of the corporation, who are patrons of the livings. A new church was built by the corporation in the Low Church parish, and dedicated to St. George, in 1819, by which an increase of 600 sittings was obtained, being the difference between the number of seats in the Low church and in this, to which the incumbent of that parish was transferred; and after its erection the Low church was no longer appropriated as a place of public worship.The still increasing population requiring further accommodation, a Gaelic church and six chapels of ease were erected. The Gaelic church was built in 1793, for the use of the Highlanders generally in the town of Paisley and the vicinity; and to each of the chapels of ease was till lately annexed a quoad sacra district, by which they were raised to the rank of parish churches. Of the six chapels or churches, that of Johnstone was erected in 1792, the church at Levern in 1835, and that of Elderslie in 1840; and in the burgh, the North church, the Martyrs, and the South church, have been completed, and a minister ordained to each. The South late quoad sacra parish was disjoined partly from the Abbey parish and partly from the parish of Low Church, and was about half a mile in length and a quarter in breadth, having a population of 3135, all resident in the town: the church, built in 1835–6, at a cost of £2129, contains 972 sittings. The North late quoad sacra parish was separated from the Middle parish in 1834, and was in extent about one square mile, and wholly a town parish, having a population of 2876. The church was built in 1833–4, at a cost of £1700, raised by means of collections and subscriptions, aided by a grant of £300 from the General Assembly; it contains nearly 1000 sittings. The late quoad sacra parish of Martyrs was separated from High Church parish in 1836, and extended over about twenty acres, its greatest length being about 400 yards, and its greatest breadth 220; this was also quite a town district, having a population of 3471. The church was built in 1835, at an expense of £2120, raised chiefly by subscription, and contains 1200 sittings. The whole number of sittings in the churches and chapels of the Establishment is 13,000. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, the Reformed Presbytery, Old Burghers, the Relief, and the United Secession; also an episcopal chapel; places of worship for Wesleyan Methodists, Scottish and Berean Baptists, Independents, Glassites, Unitarians, and Universalists; and in the New Town a Roman Catholic chapel. A home mission has been established, and is supported by subscription. Under its direction, three licentiates of the church are appointed to preach in the most populous parts of the town and neighbourhood; and there are two Sabbath-school Societies, one of which is maintained by members of the Established Church, and the other by the different denominations of Evangelical dissenters. There were also till lately two halls connected with dissenting congregations, for the study of theology.The grammar school, of which the corporation are the trustees, had an endowment in land, with certain altarages, and revenues of chaplainships in the church of the monastery, given to the magistrates of the burgh for its foundation; but most of these endowments have been lost, and the rector receives only £17 per annum, with a school and dwelling-house from the corporation, by whom he is appointed, in addition to the fees. A school for commercial instruction is also partly maintained by the corporation, who pay the master a salary of £8. 6. 8., with a house. There are in the Abbey and burgh parishes about seventy schools, the masters of which, with some few exceptions, are supported exclusively by the fees: the master of a school at Seedhill has a schoolroom and dwelling-house, and £5 per annum bequeathed by Mr. Park about fifty years since for the instruction of children. Schools were lately established in the Abbey parish by the heritors, who assessed themselves for the maintenance of three teachers; and a school has been erected in the New Town with funds bequeathed for that purpose by the family of Corse, of Greenlaw. The parishes within the burgh recently obtained a grant of £700 from government for the erection of schools, with which, together with additions by the inhabitants, three new schools have been built, and a salary of £15 per annum guaranteed to each of the masters: in these schools are about 700 pupils. A charity-school founded in the town by Mrs. Margaret Hutchinson, has been additionally endowed with £500 bequeathed by the late Walter Carswell, Esq.; and a commodious schoolroom has been built, in which are about 250 scholars. An infant school has been erected in the New town, by subscription, on a site given by James Kibble, Esq., of Greenlaw; it is attended by eighty children. The whole number of scholars in the Abbey and town parishes was returned in 1834 as amounting to 4876; and since that period it has considerably increased. The poor have the interest of various bequests amounting together to £700. The Town's hospital was built in 1752, and an addition has been recently made to it for the reception of lunatics; it is under the control of fifteen directors chosen annually, and is visited daily by an experienced surgeon. The inmates who are capable of work are employed in some useful pursuit; and the children are duly instructed by the master, who takes them all with him to church twice every Sunday. The number of inmates in a recent year was 220, and the expense of their maintenance, £1347. There are six incorporated societies of trades, and numerous friendly and benefit societies, that distribute largely among their members when in need of help, by which the claims upon the poor's funds are greatly diminished. A dispensary was erected by subscription in 1786, and a house of recovery subsequently added; they are under the direction of a committee of subscribers, and a house-surgeon and apothecary, and are visited by six medical practitioners in the town. The building is capable of receiving at once forty-five inpatients; and in the course of a late year not less than 463 were admitted, exclusively of patients who merely received medicines and advice: the total expenditure of the establishment for the year was £466. 11. A savings' bank, called the Paisley Provident Bank, was established in 1815, in which the amount of deposits for the year is about £5090.Of the ancient monastery of this place, a venerable and splendid cruciform structure, in the decorated style of English architecture, the chief remains are, the nave of the church, which is now the Abbey parish church, and a portion of the north transept, and of the cloisters, with St. Mirin's chapel. The western entrance is divided into three compartments by panelled and niched buttresses, terminating in conical pinnacles of recent addition and incongruous character: the centre has a richly-moulded and deeply-recessed archway of Norman character, supported on each side by a series of fifteen slender clustered columns. Above the doorway are two handsome windows of three lights, headed with geometrical tracery; and these are surmounted by one large window of five lights, headed with trefoil, and having the crown of the arch filled with flowing tracery of elaborate and beautiful design. The nave, ninety-three feet in length and thirty-three feet in breadth, is separated from the aisles by a range of ten massive clustered columns with plainly-moulded capitals, sustaining the arches of the triforium, which are of circular form, richly moulded, and subdivided by a central mullion into two pointed arches headed in cinquefoil. The nave is lighted by a series of twelve clerestory windows on either side, each of two lights, headed with elegant tracery. The original groined roof, embellished with sculptured bosses at the intersection of the arches, has been concealed by the insertion of a coved ceiling, which detracts greatly from the grandeur of effect produced by the arrangement and style of the interior. The aisles are lighted by handsome windows of the decorated style, divided into two, three, and in some instances four, lights, and enriched with tracery of various kinds; and in some parts the groined roof, in the same style as that of the nave, is still preserved. That portion of the transept which is remaining has a spacious and elegant window of two lights, with flowing tracery of beautiful design. Of the choir, a few feet of the walls remain above the foundation; and the bases of the massive clustered columns that supported the tower are to be seen. The cloisters appear to have inclosed a quadrangular area of about sixty feet, from which is an entrance to the chapel of St. Mirin on the east side. The chapel is about forty-eight feet in length and twenty-four feet in breadth, with a lofty and finely-groined roof: at the east end is a large window of four lights headed with trefoil, but now blocked up; beneath which is a cluster of sculptured figures in bold relief. In the south wall is a niche in which a piscina is placed; in the north wall are two spacious arches, built up; and at the east end is a vault under the elevated portion of the pavement, forming the place of sepulture of the Abercorn family. Nearly in the centre of the floor of the chapel is the altar-tomb of Queen Bleary, which was found in the area of the cloisters in a mutilated state, and, being re-constructed, was placed here under the direction of the late Dr. Boog. The sides and ends of this monument are divided into compartments, ornamented with sculptured figures of ecclesiastics, armorial shields, and other devices in bold relief; and on the slab is the figure of a female in a recumbent posture, with the head resting on a cushion, under a rich canopy, and the hands folded as in the attitude of prayer. Various conjectures have been made respecting the person to whose memory the monument was raised; but nothing satisfactory has been established. The chapel, from its extraordinary reverberation of sound, has obtained the appellation of the "sounding aisle." Within what was formerly the choir of the monastery, and in the adjoining cemetery, are numerous gravestones, and monumental inscriptions: the queens of Robert II. and III., and Walter, the great steward, and his lady, were interred in the Abbey church.There are some remains of the ancient residence of the Abercorn and Dundonald families, let out in different tenements. Three miles to the south of the town are the shattered ruins of Cruickston Castle, the favourite resort of Mary, Queen of Scots; and about two miles also to the south of it, are the remains of the tower of Stewarts-Raiss, seated on the bank of the river Levern. Near the Braes of Gleniffer, by which it is overlooked, is the tower of Stanley Castle, rising to the height of forty feet, and crowned with a boldly-projecting battlement supported by corbels; it is still in good preservation, and forms an interesting feature in the landscape. Hawkhead House, the old residence of the Kelburn family, and now of the Earl of Glasgow, is an irregular quadrangular edifice, with a strong tower, round which additional buildings were erected; the grounds are finely laid out with stately avenues of trees forming an approach to the castle, and are deeply embosomed in woods. Blackwall House, situated on the banks of the river Cart, was a mansion of great strength, but is now a ruin; and Cardonald, a spacious castellated mansion, formerly the seat of Lord Blantyre, is now let out in tenements. Near the village of Elderslie is a house in which it is said the renowned Sir William Wallace was born; and near it is a tree called "Wallace's Oak," from its having afforded shelter and concealment to that hero and his friends, when pursued by a hostile force of superior strength. About two miles and a half to the east of the town is a saline spring called Candren Well, on the properties of which a treatise was written by the late Dr. Lyall, a native of Paisley. Among other distinguished natives may be enumerated, Andrew Knox, a relative of the Reformer, who was ordained as minister of this parish, and was afterwards bishop of Raphoe; Patrick Adamson, archbishop of St. Andrew's; Thomas Smeton, principal of the college of Glasgow; Robert Boyd, successively principal of the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow; Alexander Dunlop, father of the principal of that name; Robert Millar, author of the Propagation of Christianity and other treatises of merit; John Witherspoon, president of the college of New Jersey, and an eminent divine; Robert Findlay, professor of theology in the college of Glasgow; Robert Tannahill, author of some lyric poetry; Alexander Wilson, the American ornithologist; Dr. Robert Watt, author of the Bibliotheca Britannica; John Henning, a distinguished modeller; the gifted Professor Wilson, of Edinburgh; and William Motherwell, a poet of much merit.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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