Friday, 11 March 2011

The Paisley Abbey

The Paisley Abbey is one of the most prominant landmarks in the entire town. It is the only remaining part of the town's Clunic Monastary that can be seen above ground, as all of the other buildings were destroyed during or after the Reforemation in the 16th Century. The Great Drain, which serviced the monastery, was rediscovered in 1992, and research into the actual route of the drain will hopefully highlight where other monastic buildings may have once stood.

The history of the Abbey can be traced back to 1163, when a priory was founded in Renfrew, by Walter Fitz Alan. 15 years later, the prior was moved to Paisley, and within 100 years of the orignal founding of the priory, it was promoted to the position of monastery. The monastery was one of the most influencial and powerful in Scotland, especially through its connections to the Bruces and the Stewarts. William Wallace is also meant to have been educated in the monastery. The connections between the monastery and Robert the Bruce were that strong, that the Abbey church was partially destroyed by the English during the Scottish Ward of Independence. It was rebuilt, but at about the time of the Reformation, it partially fell into ruin, and the nave was sealed off from the rest of the building and used as Paisley's parish church. This allowed for the east end of the church to be used as part of the graveyard. That is why when you go in today, the east end (choir) of the church is higher up than the nave.

In the 19th and 20th Centuries, a number of restoration programmes were carried out on the Abbey. That is how the Abbey, as we see it today, came into being. It is open Monday-Saturday from 10am until 3.30pm all year round, and it is free to visit, even though donations are welcome. It is closed to visitors on Sundays, as it is still a working church that is now part of the Church (Kirk) of Scotland.

This is a place that I would really recomend for a visit, even over the nearby Glasgow Cathedral. The architecture is beautiful, the history is brilliant and it is a direct link to Scotland's history.

A Place to Live, Study, Visit and Do Business In

Over the past 3 decades Paisley, Scotland, has suffered from a steady decline in fortunes. It has gotten to the point that there are a number of empty shops in the town centre. There is absolutly nothing wrong with these shops, it is just that people are more interested in going into Glagow's City Centre, or into shopping malls, especially Braehead in Renfrew and Silverburn in Pollok. There has been talk over the years of Paisley's town centre being regenerated, but nothing seems to happen. Recently, there has been talk of the regeneration of the town's Museum and Art Gallery.

I remember going into Paisley when I was a kid. The streets and shops were heaving, and many of the shops were still open and doing brisk business. I know that people will argue that money can't be put into the regeneration of Paisley, because of the recession. But this has been going on from long before the recession began, and even during the good times, Paisley was still allowed to go down hill.

Paisley is a town with great potential. It just hasn't been given the oppertunity to actually pick itself back up and dust itself off after all of the difficulties that have been dealt with over the years. As well as a museum and art gallery, Paisley is also the home of the University of the West of Scotland, as well as the Paisley Abbey. There are also a wide variety of independent shops in Paisley, including Chocolatz, Apollo Music, The Music Centre and Abbey Books. There are also loads of cafes, restraunts and bars/pubs in the town.

I have spent much of the last decade bitching about Paisley's decline and wondering why no-one seemed to be doing anything about it. Then I decided that maybe I should get off my high horse and try to do something about the situation. The aim of this blog is to highlight all of the brilliant things that can be found in Paisley, as well as promoting events and business that are based in the town. This will be carried out alongside the Facebook page Paisley - A Bright Future, which can be found at