NS4863 : Paisley Abbey: the south transept

taken 4 years ago, near to Paisley, Renfrewshire, Great Britain

Paisley Abbey: the south transept
Paisley Abbey: the south transept
The area is described in Howell's work, cited in the end-note, and the following details are mainly from there.

The font was the gift of a certain Mrs Craig, and was dedicated on the 29th of June 1902 in memory of her husband, Archibald Craig of Gateside (of the firm A F Craig & Co, Engineers). The font and dais are of Pavonazzo marble from the Bettogli quarries. The bowl is supported on four columns of Mexican onyx. Visible on the near side is the start of the inscription: "Suffer the little children to come unto me".

The lit area behind the font and metal gate is the St Mirin Chapel. This is described in Howell's book and some of the other works cited in the end-note, but, in relation to St Mirin's chapel in particular, the following works by David Semple may be added:

▪ "Saint Mirin" (1872)

▪ "Supplement to St Mirin: History of the Chapel of Saint Mirin and Columb., popularly called the Sounding Aisle of Paisley" (1873)

▪ "Second Supplement to St Mirin: Historical Remarks on the Demolition of the Buildings on the South Side of Paisley Abbey" (1878)

Some of the pipes of the organ are also shown here. In its original form, the organ was the work of the great Aristide Cavaillé-Coll; it has been modified several times since then.
Paisley Abbey
The abbey's website – LinkExternal link – provides a summary of its history, and other information.

It is thought that an early religious community was established at Paisley by St Mirin. In the twelfth century, Walter FitzAlan, High Steward of Scotland, had a priory established on his lands in Paisley, to be founded by monks of the Cluniac order; one of Walter's charters confirms certain lands "to God and Saint Mary, and the church of St James, and St Mirin, and St Myldburge de Passelet [Paisley], and to the priors and monks serving God there according to the order of Clugny".

In its design, the original priory was modelled on the Abbey of Cérise in France. The religious establishment at Paisley was elevated to the status of an abbey in 1245, after lengthy negotiations.

The abbey suffered grievous damage during the Wars of Independence: according to an annal entry (here translated from the original Latin), "in this year, 1307, the English burnt the Monastery of Paisley"; nothing remained but blackened walls. Some repair work was started in 1317, but little progress was made for several decades: however, by 1389-90, we have notice of glass being purchased for the abbey's windows, showing that repairs were then well under way.

A great deal of rebuilding was carried out during the time of Abbot Thomas Tervas (mid-fifteenth century), and, a little later, by Abbot George Shaw. The buildings appear to have been damaged by fire towards the end of the same century. It also seems that, at some point in the abbey's history, its central tower collapsed, damaging adjacent structures.

At the time of the Reformation (1560), the damage done to the abbey was limited, perhaps partly because the building was already in poor condition.

Subsequent developments will not be described here in detail, but it is worth noting several restorations of the abbey that were carried out in recent centuries: (1) 1788-89, under the supervision of Dr Robert Boog, minister of the First Charge at the Abbey (Boog was also responsible for piecing together what is now called the Tomb of Marjorie Bruce); (2) 1859-62, under ministers Andrew Wilson and J Cameron Lees; (3) 1898-1907, under the ministers Thomas Gentles and J B Dalgety; and (4) 1912-28 (but interrupted in 1918 by the War), under A M Maclean and W Fulton. See Howell, cited below, for details.

In the 1990s, the Great Drain below the abbey was rediscovered (see Malden, cited below); it has subsequently yielded many interesting artefacts, some of which are now displayed in the Sacristy Museum, within the abbey.

Selected references:

▪ "Historical Description of the Abbey and Town of Paisley", Charles Mackie (1835).
▪ "The Abbey of Paisley", J Cameron Lees (1878).
▪ "Paisley Abbey: Its History, Architecture, & Art", Rev A R Howell (1929).
▪ "The Monastery and Abbey of Paisley" (various contributors), edited by John Malden (2000).
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NS4863, 883 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Monday, 26 August, 2013   (more nearby)
Submitted
Wednesday, 2 October, 2013
Geographical Context
Religious sites 
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Indoor 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 4856 6394 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:50.6895N 4:25.2156W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 4856 6394
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South-southeast (about 157 degrees)
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