NS4763 : The Gallowgreen

taken 13 years ago, near to Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland

This is 1 of 2 images, with title The Gallowgreen in this square
The Gallowgreen
The Gallowgreen
The Gallowgreen (or Gallow Green), in Paisley, is located off Queen Street. The path leading into the green is opposite Robert Tannahill's Cottage (see Link for the cottage itself). A prominent feature of the Gallowgreen is an old well, which is now covered with a grille (compare NS4863 : Old well beside Paisley Abbey).

Here, in 1697, the so-called Paisley Witches were strangled(*) and then burned. Their remains were interred at nearby NS4763 : Maxwellton Cross; as explained at that link, a horseshoe was then set over the place of burial, with the intention of keeping evil away from the town. The horseshoe was later replaced with a circular artwork (tondo), which continued the tradition: it is made of bronze, but it has a stainless steel horseshoe embedded in it.

More information about the legal proceedings can easily be found elsewhere; the accused are variously referred to as the Paisley Witches, the Renfrewshire Witches, or the Bargarran Witches.

(*) One of the accused, John Reid (a smith from Inchinnan), committed suicide in prison. For further comments, see NS4863 : Gravestone of John Campbell; it was this John Campbell who was called upon to examine the body of John Reid in prison.

If the area now called Gallow Green is the one that bore the same name in the seventeenth century, then a passage on page 340 of Metcalfe's "History of Paisley" (1909) describes an earlier and very different use of this land. In the seventeenth century, efforts were made to find sources of coal within the burgh. Metcalfe states that "on January 26, 1652, the bailies and Town Council resolved to close the workings in the Gallow Green. ... The probability is, the coal found was of inferior quality and the supply insufficient to make the working of it profitable. Still, in January, 1735, ex-Bailie George Storie took a five years' lease of 'the coal within the unarable ground in the part called Gallow-green' at a rental of 209 merks yearly". He would abandon that lease early.

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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Lairich Rig and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Geographical Context: Historic sites and artefacts Place: Paisley Former: Place of Execution Category: Green other tags: Witches Click a tag, to view other nearby images.
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
TIP: Click the map for more Large scale mapping
Grid Square
NS4763, 291 images   (more nearby 🔍)
Lairich Rig   (more nearby)
Date Taken
Thursday, 7 October, 2010   (more nearby)
Monday, 18 October, 2010
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 4736 6380 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:50.5914N 4:26.3596W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 4737 6381
View Direction
Southwest (about 225 degrees)
Clickable map
W Go E
Image classification(about): Geograph
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