The charter to found a priory at Paisley was granted in 1153 by Walter FitzAlan. A church had stood on this site since it had been founded by St. Mirin around 560 AD. The priory built in the early Norman period was upgraded to Abbey status in 1245.
In 1307 the original Abbey was burnt down by Edward I on one of his Scottish campaigns. It was rebuilt in the 14th Century but years of neglect, fires and violence left the Abbey in a poor state, roofless and unused.
It wasn't until the 18th Century that rennovation work began which was only very recently completed. Even today the whole Abbey leans very slightly, probably due to subsidence.
The blackened stone gives the Abbey a rather sombre look, but in reality it is one of Scotland's most rewarding urban churches and certainly provides the tourist in Paisley with a focus for their attentions.
Photo - Andrew J. Müller
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