Category: History

History articles

Remembrance 2023

Remembrance 2023

As we remember those who thought in past conflicts this weekend, this booklet from J & P Coats relating to those who served during the Second World War is available for one week from today. I recently came across it in a online bookshop and made a quick scan of it. Covering all of the UK Mills of the group it is a useful document for WW2 where records are not as accessible as WW1.

Annan to Paisley: The Carlile family of Paisley

Over the last 8 to 10 years a lot of my research has focused on the introduction of fine Linen Thread production into Scotland by Christian Millar or Shaw of Bargarran at Erskine in 1722.  Over the next 30 years Paisley had become home to many linen thread manufactures, all copying the techniques of Christian.  One of the most influential of these copycats was John Carlile, the eldest son of James Carlyle of Annan.  

John moved to Paisley during the mid to late 1730’s, with the one intention to enter the linen thread industry.   There is sufficient evidence to show that the success of Christian Millar’s Bargarran Linen Thread Company had been heard of throughout Scotland, with some of her main clients being in Bath, well known for its lace making; where the friends of Lady Blantyre of Erskine House (who had a town house there) all said that the Bargarran thread was far superior to anything they could acquire from England.

So let us focus on John Carlile now.    When John arrived in Paisley, he changed his surname from Carlyle to Carlile, forming the distinct Paisley branch of the family.   As already said, he was the eldest son of James Carlyle of Annan and was born in Annan in 1703.

In the History of The Carlile Family (Paisley Branch) published in 1909 by some of its members for private circulation it states that John “is considered to have been the founder of the Paisley family, for he left Annan and settled in Paisley, where he built the first Scottish thread manufactory (1752), particularly for the manufacture of twisting and bleaching linen yarn.”  In some ways this is not accurate; by the time John arrived in Paisley there were a growing number of linen thread manufacturers.    What can be said though is that John was the first to build a large-scale manufactory in 1752 on the banks of the White Cart Water on New Sneddon Street.  The Bankhead Mill as it was to become known grew over time, transitioning from linen to cotton in the first half of the 19th Century as the more well-known Clark and Coats families developed their fine cotton threads and yarns.   John’s Mill survived into the late 19th Century when the business was purchased by the Clark family who incorporated it into Clark & Co, who continued to run the business as a going concern.   I have seen an advert in the University of Glasgow Scottish Business Archives which states “Clark & Co: Seedhill, Bankhead & Cumberland Mills” showing their continued use of existing mills in addition to their own Seedhill Mill.  

Roy’s Military survey of the lowlands of Scotland mapped 1752-55 shows Carlile Lane and Carlile Place already in existence and the red buildings along Carlile Lane probably relate to the earliest incarnation of the Bankhead Mill established by John.

Location of the Bankhead Mill:

John was made a Free Burgess of Paisley in 1741, and married Janet, daughter of William Birkmyre, and became a Baillie of Paisley the following year.  Janet was born in 1722 and died on 2 June 1803.  John himself died on 11 October 1773, leaving five children surviving William Carlile of Paisley, James Carlile (the elder) of Paisley, Thomas Carlile of Houston, Edward Carlile of Hampstead and Mary Ferrier.   John and Janet had seven children who all died at an early age:  Margaret, 1744-5; Jean, 1748-9; Janet, 1749-55; John, 1754-5; George, 1756-7; Agnes, 1759-60; and Robert, 1761-2.

An interesting account of his home life has been preserved. We read that “The family religion consisted of worship twice each day, morning and evening, and on the Lord’s day thrice. After public worship at Church, it was …. his common practice to retire for prayer and meditation.”

After this the family convened for supper, the refreshment taken at the interval between public worship being slight; then family worship. When that was concluded, the questions in the Assemblie’s Catechism were put by him. On next Sabbath the children were examined in Willison’s Catechism. After this he generally addressed his familie, by recommending their duty and danger from sin, or on such religious topics as occurred to him: then each of the children and servants was called on to read a chapter {sic) of the Bible. Commonly after this a religious book was read ; familie worship commenced again about 9 o’clock —and thus ended the familie exercises of the Sabbath

Situation and Surrounding of Paisley Abbey

Let us recall the beautiful situation and surroundings of the abbey in the palmy days of the Abbots. The river Cart then ran clear and sparkling between green wooded banks. The monastic buildings: the great Gatehouse built by Abbot Tervas, about 9 meters north-west from the north-west turret of the Abbey, “a great pend most curiously built,” surmounted with a tower erected by Abbot George Shaw; the massive wall extending for a mile or so round the Abbey policies, adorned with statues and inscriptions; the Abbot’s house to the south-east; and some additional buildings sloping down to the river, were all in Existence. The old Cloisters were intact, the wall of the west walk being 7.3 meters from the west front of the Abbey.

Towards the end of the 15th century another wall was erected 2.7m beyond the west front of the Abbey, extending 25 meters southwards.  A roof was erected on this wall and the cloister wall, and the inside fitted out for Monastic purposes.  The south front of the Abbey became a gable for this building.

Close by were the pools or tanks, lined with ashlar work, in which the monks kept fish against in case fishing in the River Clyde failed to supply enough food for them.

The rich gardens of the monastery were also near, and a deer park; on the other bank of the river, beside the Falls, stood the Abbey mill, and, further down on the same side, the large orchard, extending over six acres. A columbarium or dovecot stood on the brink of the river opposite the Watergate at the Seedhill Mills.

Paisley Abbey after Slezers view of Paisley of 1693, published in a French atlas about 1720, note the deer in the foreground

An UNDERGROUND PASSAGE, dating from this period, still in part exists, apparently leading from the Abbey southwards towards the river white cart.  It is solidly built. During an exploration of the passage in 1888, 120 carts of rubbish were taken out, amongst which several articles were found, including fragments of stained glass.

There was an OLD CHURCHYARD of the Abbey at Seedhill while the present churchyard surrounding the abbey is post reformation. The burial place of the Priors, Abbots & Monks would have been south, or to the east, of the Abbey church.

Notabilities may have been buried in the choir and under the chapter house, where remains have been found. There were interments in the cloisters, but not in the garth.

Connected with the chapel of St. Roche, there was also a churchyard at the head of Castle Street. In later times, the weavers, when digging treadle holes for their looms, often found the bones of their Roman Catholic forbears.”

The Abbey during this period was distinguished as being ONE OF THE FIVE PLACES OF PILGRIMAGE in Scotland, the others being Melrose, where the first Steward had died as a monk: Scone, where the first Stewart king was buried; Dundee; and Whithorn. Crosses for the use of pilgrims were placed at intervals on the roads leading to the church. The local names with Corsebar and Crossflat reflect possible lost cross sites along with those we know existed at Hawkead, Stanely and Arthurie to name but a few.

Text sourced and updated from A R Howell’s Paisley Abbey published 1929.

Paisley to Sarasota, Florida: The Browning’s – Part 1

It’s late November 1885, around one 100 Scots are gathering at the docks in Glasgow to board Anchor Lines SS Furnessia with the intention of forming a new Scots Colony in Sarasota, Florida.  Amongst the 100 are two Paisley families the Lawrie’s and the Browning’s who have sold their possessions at auction and are heading to Sarasota to begin a new life.

The Lawrie’s and Browning’s were related. Ellen Lawrie, wife of John Lawrie, was the sister of John Browning and both descended from an old Paisley family. The first recorded Browning in Paisley is Gavin, who operated a drug store at No 1 the High Street, part of the tollbooth on the corner of Moss Street.  In the 1783 trade directory he is recorded as a ‘Druggust’ an occupation repeated on a headstone in the graveyard at Oakshaw Trinity Church which states Lair 199 “The Property of Gavin Browning Druggist 1800”. Gavin’s oldest son, another Gavin went on to study at Glasgow University and became a surgeon in Paisley.

If we move on to 1885, the Browning’s had become timber merchants and Cartwrights in the Paisley with successful businesses established in Orchard Street.  Alexander, John and Ellen’s father had run the businesses for many years, but Paisley Burgh Council were planning to redevelop Gordon’s Loan, the area we know today as Gordon Street with the old fire station dividing the road.  The Browning’s who were operating their timber mill, and a cartwright building business from two connected properties on Orchard Street had to decide what to do?

According to John Browning’s memoirs there had been some talk within the family of moving to South Africa to take advantage of the gold diamond mining happening there, but at the same time a leaflet about a proposed Scots Colony in Florida came into the possession of the Lawrie family.  Named the Ormiston Colony of Scotland after the estate of Sir John Gillespie near Edinburgh, for the sum of £100 a family could purchase a town residence and 40 acres of land outwith the town.  With the purchase of the properties in orchard Street, and the Lawrie business in the Sneddon had recently been destroyed by fire, this new venture in Sarasota was very appealing to both families.

John’s father sold the land on Orchard Street, while his eldest son, Alexander set up a new Cartwright and Timber merchants shop elsewhere in town, and John Browning and Ellen Lawrie’s families moved to Florida arriving on the 10 Dec 1885.

There is little to show where the timber & cartwright business was on Orchard Street today, but the site of the Timber Yard & Cartwright shop partly survives as the small carpark bounded by Gordon Street.

The late 19th Century Browning family was large.   Alexander Browning had 6 children and 24 grand-children.  Of the two families who emigrated in 1885, 12 grand-children moved to Florida, with the others remaining in Paisley and the local area with their respective families.  

Are you descended from the Browning family?  The hunt is now on to track down descendants of the Browning family who remained in Paisley.  Megan and her family,  descendants of John Browning’s oldest son Alexander who was 19 when he left Paisley plans to visit the town at some point in 2022 when restrictions allow and would like to know if there are any living relatives in the area.  

If you are related and would like to connect, please contact us using our contact form.

The featured image of John Brownings family taken in America. It is dated 1885, but I believe it is a few years later, as Johns youngest daughters were 12 and 4 when they arrived in New York, and they appear to be older in this image. Image source: from the Henry B. Plant Museum.

This is the first of several blog posts on the browning family which will follow what happened to them when they arrived in America.

A familiar building??


So what is this building in the picture? It is on Paisley High Street, close to two Paisley landmarks, but today it is a lot different!

The two canons might just give it away. This is the original Volunteer Drill Hall, between Coats Memorial Church and Paisley Museum & Art Gallery.

I’m not sure when this building was constructed, but by 1896 it is described as being 130 feet long, 50 feet wide and more than a useful ornament! In 1896 plans were in place to replace it with a more commodious hall and office space for the volunteers.

The Commanding Officer was Sir Thomas Glen Coats and the local force consisted of 25 officers, 45 sergeants and 644 rank and file men.

The Parish of Neilston

Today not many people think of Neilston as being part of Renfrewshire. It sits in the modern day council area of East Renfrewshire, which was separated from the old county of Renfrew along with inverclyde at the last local government reform.

It is said that Neilston derrives its name for a person called Neil, who settled in the4 vicinity of the parish church in antiquity and called his settlement ‘Neils-toun’. One of the first written records for Neilston comes in 1227 when the church of Neilston is granted to Paisley Abbey by William de Hertford (any guesses as to where he was from?) in return for half of the corn tithes of Thornton. This grant was confirmed in 1227 by the Bishop of Glasgow and Pope Honorius. An agreement between the Paisley monks and the Bishop of Glasgow allowed the church to be used by the Abbey for its own purposes exempt any financial demands from the Bishop or See of Glasgow.

The Abbey held the church of Neilston until the reformation. They employed a curate to hold regular services and took the income from the church to help support the Abbey. The surviving rental books for Paisley Abbey show that the properties of the church of Neilston were leased out to the value of £66 13 shillings and 4 pence per year. From the reformation, until 1587 it was held by Claud Hamilton, the last Commendator (Lay Abbot) of Paisley Abbey. In 1587 the entire estate of Paisley Abbey was given to Claud Hamilton as a heritable Estate, and he took the title Lord Claud Hamilton. The estate of Paisley Abbey, including Neilston, was inherited by Claud’s grandson, James Earl of Abercorn who then sold the estate in 1652 to the Earl of Angus. Within a year the lands had been sold on again to William, Lord Cochran in 1653.. The patronage of the church at Neilston was acquired by Alexander Speirs of Elderslie in 1775.

The current Parish Church was built in 1762, with it’s spire and clock. The Village held four annual fairs and was home to 472 individuals in 1791, by 1821 the population had almost doubled to 800. Within the parish itself, there were other manufacturing villages, with the population of Parish in 1755 being 1299 individuals, rising to 6548 individuals in 1821.

 © Copyright John Allan and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 © Copyright John Allan and licensed for reuse 
under this Creative Commons Licence.

Weavers of Kilbarchan Project

Weavers of Kilbarchan Project

The Weavers of Kilbarchan project aims to investigate the weavers of Kilbarchan Parish from the 17th Century through until the 1921 Census. In addition to the census information the project will also use contemporary 17th & 18th Century records such a Poll Tax, Hearth Tax and other Tax rolls to trace the rise and fall of the weaving industry within the parish.

As you can see from the map above Kilbarchan is  a fairly large parish.  The parish is enclosed by the red line.

Weaving became the main industry of Kilbarchan during late 18th and early 19th Centuries and many of the houses in Kilbarchan village today have ther origins as wavers cottages, though only one still survives witha working loom – the National Trust for Scotland’s Weavers Cottage on Church Street.

Entrance to the NTS Weavers cottage with a 1723 date stoneabove the door.

This is a smal window looking into the loom room at the weavers cottage, but it was originally a door into the wesving shop, with a marriage lintel for Robert King & Grizal Marshal above it.

The Weavers of Kibarchan historical research project aims to investigate everyone in the parish of Kilbarchan who worked as weavers and where they lived.   

Funds received will go directly to the research and support of project website.   To access the Scottish Census records at the ScotlandsPeople centre in Edinburgh costs £15 per day along with travelling expenses of around £25  (£40 in total per day)  It is hoped that once the pandemic restrictions are relaxed, and the ScotlandsPeeople centre reopens most of the research can be carried out there.

Research can be carried out online via at £40 or 160 Credits which allows 27 census records to be looked at, compared to unlimited views in the centre.

Funds will also be used to produce a final publication.

The start date for the project will be the 1st April 2021 with the intention to complete the project with 2 years.

Why we want to do this project
While preparing a talk on the weavers of Kilbarchan in 2019 it became very apparent that previous research has focused on the weaving processes and the buildings associated with the industry and not the people. Being a genealogist as well as a historian made me start thinking of the people themselves – who were they? Can we put names to properties in the parish/ village? Can we trace the family connections such as children following in their parent’s footsteps or did they move into different parts of the textile industry in the area?

Through the project I hope to answer these questions.

About The Urban Historian

Stephen, The Urban Historian, graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in History, and went on to complete a Masters in Multimedia from the then University of Paisley.  Stephen has worked as an archaeologist on many archaeological digs in Paisley, Renfrewshire and beyond, and has taught local history, archaeology and family history at the University of the West of Scotland and the University of Dundee.

Stephen is a former chair of Paisley Thread Mill Museum and former member of the Renfrewshire Local History Forum. In addition to this he has also advised the Renfrewshire Tapestry Group on historical aspects of the old County of Renfrew along with other historical projects for Renfrewshire Council.

 Stephen’s personal research interests include the rise of linen and cotton thread manufacturing industry in Renfrewshire & Paisley along with the history of the Anchor and Ferguslie Thread Mills in Paisley and their national & international domination.

Everyone who supports the fundraiser will receive the final report and updates on the project.

We appreciate the support of the community.

 The Urban Historian’s website is

Be one of the first to help

Ferguslie – A brief history of the medieval estate


A brief history of the medieval estate to the 20th Century

Ferguslie today is seen as a large housing scheme – totally unrecognisable from its medieval origins. The name Ferguslie is most likely derived from “the meadow of Fergus” but who was this Fergus? We will probably never know.

The lands that comprise Ferguslie were given to Paisley Abbey, possibly around 1220 when Walter, The Steward granted the lands of the Forrest of Paisley to the Abbey. The grant included the forest that lay between the Black Cart & White Cart.

The link below shows the area as it was in the mid 18th Century in General Roy’s Map of Scoland.

The earliest recorded name with Ferguslie comes from the Abbey Rental book in 1460 when a widow, Matilde de Craig pays the Abbey £3 along with Cart Service on lands worth £6. (As a widow she would have been given a discount). It is highly possible that area Craigielea takes its name from her family.

The next named tenant is a Ninian Wallace paying rent in 1522 and 1523. In 1544 the Registrum de Monasterii de Paslet records John Hamilton obtaining the grant of the lands from John Hamilton, Abbot of Paisley – possibly a relation. The John Hamilton who obtained the lands was a descendant of the Hamiltons of Orbieston. The Register of the Great Seal of Scotland records John renting the lands in 1547 and becoming the owner of the lands in 1551. John Hamilton, Laird of Ferguslie died in 1557.

On Johns death his granddaughter, Margaret Wallace, inherited the estate. Margaret was married to a John Wallace of Elderslie – son of William Wallace of Elderslie who was Chamberlain to James, Earl of Abercorn. A condition of the inheritance was that Margaret was to change her surname to Hamilton which she duly did in 1609. She became better known as ‘Margaret Hamilton, The Guidewife of Ferguslie‘

By 1710 the estate had been sold to William Cochran, son of Colonel Hugh Cochrane, a younger brother of the Earl of Dundonald. The last Cochrane to live in the Castle or house of Ferguslie was Mrs Grizel Cochrane, sister of the 6th Earl of Dundonald. Grizel died on the 12th September 1753 at Cardonald, but on the 6th July 1748 her brother-in-law, put the Ferguslie Estate up for auction in Edinburgh. John Hare and Robert Fulton bought the estate on behalf of the Town Council of Paisley for £33,000 Scots or £2,700 Sterling. The town council held the estate until around 1800 when they sold the estate along with that of Carriagehill for the grand sum of £12,000, giving a nice cash boost to the town.

Until this time the Castle or House of Ferguslie lay to the north of the estate, close to the site of the much later Ferguslie Park House (known later as the Glen-Coats Hospital) of which only the gatehouse still survives.

The new owner of the Estate was Thomas Bisland, a wealthy Paisley Merchant, and son of the Town Treasurer. Thomas constructed a new manor house to the extreme south of the estate, naming it Ferguslie House. In 1811 Thomas became bankrupt and the estate was divided into two, along the route of the later railway. The northern portion of the estate with the old castle or house was purchased by John Campbell of Edinburgh. The southern portion centered on Ferguslie House was purchased by Miss John Maxwell of Williamwood, who in 1818 sold it on to Lorrain Wilson another Paisley Merchant. Lorrain Wilson upgraded the house and it passed to his son and then grandson in sequence. James Wilson, the grandson, sold it in 1845 to Thomas Coats.

Ferguslie House from the book Cottage to the Castle by andrew Coats

Ferguslie House

The northern portion of the estate was passed to John Campbell’s widow – Elizabeth Barr in 1853 and when she died the property was sold to Thomas Coats on the 16th Feb 1872. The purchase by Thomas reunited the northern and southern estates of Ferguslie under one owner, but the northern estate was renamed Ferguslie Park, and in 1890 a new mansion was constructed for Thomas’ son, Sir Thomas Glen-Coats.

Ferguslie Park House often hosted large parties. In 1926 when Lord Asquith stood as the Liberal candidate in a Paisley parliamentary election the house hosted a large party where Lord & Lady Asquith, David Lloyd George and his daughter Megan along with Lady Bonham Carter.


Fergusie Park House

Sir Thomas Glen-Coats died in 1922 to be succeeded by his son Sir Thomas Coats Glen Glen-Coats.

In 1931 Woodside House, the neighbouring estate to Ferguslie House, also in possession the Coats family was given to Paisley as a home for mothers and children. This was through the will of W H Coats, another of the Coats brothers. W H Coats died in 1928 and his will stated the house should be transferred to the town council on the death of his wife.


Woodside House

The donation of Woodside in 1931 led to an article in the Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette on the 23rd May 1931 calling on Ferguslie Park House to be given to Paisley as a replacement for the Barshaw Nursing Home (Maternity). It wasn’t until 1933 when Major A Harold Glen-Coats died that Ferguslie Park House was offered to the trustees of the Royal Alexandria Infirmary in memory of his parents, Sir Thomas & Lady Glen-Coats and Major Harold.

In 1934 the trustees of the Royal Alexandria Infirmary decided to convert the house into a 14 bed hospital with provision made for the number of beds to be increased or decreased as funds permitted. The Glen-Coats Auxiliary Hospital opened on the 19th July 1934 with 25 beds, due to a donation of £5,000 from Sir Thomas Glen Glen-Coats, his sister Mrs E H T Parsons and Major Harold’s widow. The hospital operated until 1973, and was demolished in 1982 after 9 years of dereliction and vandalism. Today the gatehouse and part of the garden survive.

Also during the 1930s the Ferguslie Houe Estate was given to the Town of Paisley by Miss Margaret & Miss Lily Coats, two of Thomas Coats’ daughters. The house was demolished and the estate was turned into the park we know today.

Based on work researched by Stephen Clancy & David Campbell in 1997 as part of the ‘Ferguslie Park History Project’ based in the former Fergulsie Park House / Glen Coats Lodge on Blackstone Rd, Fergusie Park, Paisley.

© 2021 Stephen Clancy

Paisley Canal Disaster 1810, list of those who died & survived

Paisley Canal Disaster 1810, list of those who died & survived

On the 10th November 1810, 10 days afte the canal opened, the duchess of Eglington, skippered by Thomas Rhodes was returning from Johnstone with an excursion.


Awaiting the arrival of the boat from Johnstone, there was, in the forenoon, a large assemblage of people, mainly youths and children, who, in the enjoyment of their holiday, had been drawn to the Canal Basin, either from curiosity or with the intention to take a passage in the fly boat to Johnstone. As those desirous to go in the boat far exceeded in number its capacity to carry them, the crowd got excited and unruly, and to secure a passage pressed forward towards the banks of the Canal. No sooner did the boat touch the bank than attempts were made by many, before the Johnstone passengers were landed, to force their way into the boat; and in a few minutes every part of it was filled, and particularly the top deck, where, reckless of all consequences and not for a moment dreading danger, a number far in excess of what the boat could safely carry, were densely packed together, while other parts of the boat were equally overcrowded. The crowd on the banks seeing that the boat was in danger of being overturned from an excess of top-weight, shouted to the crowd of young persons to keep back, and to the boatmen to push the boat away from the warff; but some time before this could be done the boatmen found that they were quite unable to control those already on board, or to prevent others from forcing there way into it. But, alas, it was too late for the safety of those on board, the ropes fastening the boat to the bank were unloosed, and, being pushed a few feet off, the boat instantly capsized, and all the passengers who were on the top deck were thrown into the water, and the cabin was filled with water through the windows, those who were in there were thus also put in great danger, and some were drowned.

The list presented below shows those who died, occupation, address and age. The 2nd table shows those who survived with notes about those who escaped by swimming, and those who were seriously ill follwing the accident. (note s. is son of & d. is daughter of)

1Thomas CrawfordweaverCorse st.47
2Jean  Craig,  wife of Robert Andrew,do.46
3Helen Andrew,  d. of Robert  tambourerdo.15
4Janet  Andrew, d. of Robertdo.4
5Ann Andrew, d. of Robertdo.1
6Jean  Hill, d. of John,do.17
7Janet  Hill, d. of John4
8John Warnock, s. of Andrew,  drawerdo.11
9Agnes Warnock, d. of Andrewdo.16 months
10John Baird, step-sisters. of Wm. Nish drawerCotton St.11
11William  ParkerweaverGauze st.22
12James  BaillieweaverWilliamsburgh24
13Catherine Wright, d. of Duncan, Pollockshaws14
14John Finlaysonweaver and florist seedsmanSeedhills63
15William Smith, s. of Robert, weaverNew st.12
16James Devatt, s. of Widow, drawer New st.10
17James Craig Barr,  s. of Allan, weaverShuttle st.13
18Jas.  Pinkerton,   s. of James,drawerCanal st. 13
19Matthew Morris, s. of Alexander,   weaver  do.13
20Duncan Keith, or McGee,  s. of Duncan, weaverdo.12
21Jean Ronald, d. of John, manufacturerdo.11
22Agnes Ronald, d. of
23Andrew Brown,  s. of Thomas, weaverStorie st.13
24John Fisher,  s. of Hugh, weaverdo.12¾
25John Shedden,  s. of Robert, weaverdo.13½
26Jean Colquhoun, d. of James, clipper do.14
27Betty Ewing, d. of Robert, do.5
28Janet Thomson, step-d. of Robert Ewing,clipper do.14
29Isabella Boag, d. of George,clipper do.12
30Jean Boag, d. of George, clipper do.10
31Jean Whitehill, d. of James, clipper High st.16
32John Anderson, s. of James,drawerdo.
33Alexander Calder,  s. of Davd, drawerdo.12
34James Campbell, s. of Widow, drawerdo.9
35Alexander Brown,  s. of Widow, weaverWellmeadow14
36Mary McKegg,  d. of John, darnerLady Lane21
37James Lochhead, s. of Widow, do.13
38Jean Robertson,  d. of Robert, clipperWellmeadow 14
39Barbara Mitchell,  d. of William, tambourerWestbrae15
40Archibald Combe, an orphan, Lonewells10
41William Smith, s. of Thomas, drawer do. 11
42Michael Houston, Backrow, weaver Sandholes 60
43Margaret Turnbull, d. of James, Broomland st. 14
44George Turnbull, s. of James, do. 10
45Robert Stevenson, s. of Robert,cooper do.15
46Margaret Elliot, d. of William, clipper King st. 14
47Margaret Russell, d. of Malcolm, Broomlands 13
48Eliz. Neil,  d. of John, tambourerdo. 14
49Joseph Wilson, s. of Joseph, weaver Millerston 12
50William Hamilton,  s. of William, weaverdo. 13½
51Peter Burgess, weaver Maxwellton24
52Janet Beith, wife of J. Hopkins, weaver Maxwellton 22
53Margaret McGregor,  d. of Walter,clipperdo. 10
54William Beith, weaver do. 50
55John Beith, s. of William, drawer do. 11
56Agnes Beith,  d. of William, drawerdo. 9
57Peter Livingstone, orphan, weaver do. 15
58John Tunks, weaver Newton st.20
59Thomas Tudhope, s. of William, weaver do. 16
60James Gibb,  s. of Widow, weaverWest st.16
61David Kirkwood,  s. of Wm., weaverMaxwellton st.18
62Ann Niven,  step d. of D. McIntyre, clipperQueen st.17
63Mrs. Peacock, wife of Allan, Castle st. 50
64Allan Peacock, s. of Allan, drawer do. 11
65William Peacock, s. of Allan, do. 6
66Robert Watson, s. of Robert, do. 13
67John Rowand, weaver Ralston square29
68Agnes Rowand, d. of John 6 months.
69Elizabeth Downie,  d. of William, clipperGeorge st.15
70John Douglas, s. of Hugh, drawer Carriagehill10
71David Gilmour,  s. of William,weaverdo. 20
72James Kennedy,  s. of George, weaverLylesland16
73Robert Sproul,  s. of John, weaverLylesland16
74James King, s. of James, do.13
75William Dunn, s. of Alexander, drawer do.10
76Maxwell Cunningham, d. of Robert, Causeyside14
77Thomas Watson, s. of Thomas, soldier in the Argyleshire Militia.drawer Causeyside9
78John Allison,  s. of John, weaverGordon’s lone14
79Janet Morrison, d. of widow,clipper Prussia st.30
80John McDonald, s. of widow, weaver do.23
81John Blair, s. of John, manufacturer, Orchard st.5
82Walter Carswell, s. of Robert, merchant, Moss st 12
83Alexander Biggar,  s. of John, stocking makerdo.13
84John McLachlan, s. of Peter, weaver do 14
85Margaret Craig, d. of James. Uplay Muir, Neilston22

Additional list of people who were on the deck of the COUNTESS OF EGLINTON when she capsized, on the 10th November, 1810, and were saved.

NameOccupationAddressRelated to Person No.
86ɤ Mrs Crawford, wife of Thomas,1
87Robert Andrew, husband of Jean Craig,2
88Jean Andrew, daughter of Robert,87
89John Hill, wife (90), and d. Margaret (91),6
92Andrew Warnock, wife (93), and d. Elizabeth (94),8
95Robert Finlayson, s. of William, Lawn st.
96Ϯ Robert Lang, weaver Cotton st.
97Ϯ Mrs. Robert Lang and Ϯ child (98),96
99Robert Boyd, weaver Cotton st.
100James Robertson, weaver Thread st.
101֍ John Sclater, starcherAbbey st.
102Allan Clark, do.
103Ϯ John While, weaver Croft st.
104James Reid, s. of James, do.
105Ϯ Christian Thomson, Sneddon.
106Daniel McKellar, weaver Love st.
107James Parker, s. of James, Glen st.
108Rachel Wright, d. of Peter, Canal st.
109James and Robert Barrie (110), sons of John, do.
111Alexander McIntyre, weaver Storie st.
112Hugh Boyd, do., 
113Alexander Monro, do., 
114James Thomson, do., 
115Robert Fulton, do., 
116Robert Ross, drawerdo.
117Peter M’ Alpine, do.
118Allan McFarlane, s. of Dugald, do.
119Andrew Sheddan, s. of Andrew, High st.
120Ϯ Lydia Lang, d. of Robert,do.
121Humphry Wilson, s. of Mrs. W., do.
122William, Robert (123), and Adam (124) McGibbon, do.
125Jean Cleland, d. of John, do.
126Margaret Wilkie, do.
127Edward Graham, drawer do.
128David and John Fisher (129), s. of David,do.
130Alexander Smith, s. of William, Lady-lane.
131Ϯ James Adam, weaver do.
132Robert Adam, s. of James,129
133֍ Robert Erskine, s. of James, Lady-lane.
134John Auld, s. of Thomas, do.
135AlexanDer Kerr, s. of John, Ferguslie.
136֍ Thomas Rhodes, captain of the boat.
137֍ Archibald Storie, assistant do.
138Rt. and Wm. (139) McMillan, s. of James.,Lonewells.
140Daniel Young, weaver do.
141James Millar, s. of John, weaver Sandholes.
142Ϯ Janet Henderson, d. of Mrs H., do.
143John Wright, s. of Walter, Broomland st.
144Peter Milton, s. of Peter, do.
145Andrew Chirrey, s. of James, do.
146Alexander McMath, s. of James, do.
147John Remy, s. of John, do.
148Ϯ Peter McAlpin, s. of Alexander, John st.
149James, Ann (150), and Helen (151) Hamilton, King st.
152Janet Thomson, d. of James, do.
153Ϯ Mary Leckie, d. of John, John st.
154William Wallace, s. of William, Broomlands.
155Mary Crawford, d. of James, Ferguslie.
156Wm. Mitchel, weaver burnlip, Millerstone.
157John Smith, s. of John, do.
158John Millar, s. of John, do.
159James Beith, s. of John, Maxwellton.
160Ϯ Elizabeth Boag, do.
161Mary and Ϯ Helen (162) McFarlane, do.
163Janet Chalmers, d. of Tarbet, do.
164Agnes McGregor, wife of Peter Burgess.
165John Hopkins, husband of Janet Beith.
166James Wood, grandson of David Gordon.
167Andrew Cochran, s. of John,Maxwellton st.
168Jean Gibson, d. of John, do.
169֍ Allan Peacock, weaver Castle st.63
170Ϯ Jean Peacock, d. of Allan, do.63
171Ann Whiteford, d. of Mrs. W., do.
172Mrs. Rowand, wife of John,67
173Ϯ John Rowand, s. of John,67
174Ϯ James Morrison, s. of Wm., Ralston sq.
175֍ David Patterson, weaver do.
176֍ Alexander Laird, s. of Alex., George st.
177֍ Finlay Kerr,weaver do.
178Ϯ James Tannahill, s. of Matthew, do.
179William Grierson, weaver Carriagehill.
180John Lambie, s. of William, Causeyside.
181Isabel Brown, d. of Archibald, do.
182Ϯ Andrew McAlpin, s. of Mrs. McA., do.
183William Pullar, s. of William, do.
184֍ William Rowand, weaverCauseyside.
185John Bryson, drawer do.
186John Fyfe, s. of the late Archd. do.
187Jean Allison, d. of John, 78
188Mrs. Murdoch M’Donald, Prussia st.
189Jean and Margaret (190) Swan, d. of Robert.
191Ϯ John Murray,  TaylorMoss st.
192֍Robert Walker, , reed-makerMoss st.
193John Stevenson, Moss st.
194֍ Alexander Whitehill, weaver Sclates.
195John Clark, weaver do.
196Hugh Aitken, weaverJohnstone.
197John Rowand, do. do.
198Margaret Craig, do.
199John Robertson, drawer Canal st.
200John Rowand, weaver Johnstone.

Those marked Ϯ were extremely ill; those marked ֍ made their own way out by swimming; and those marked ɤ later died.

The information presented her was originally published in Vanduara, or Odds and Ends published by William Hector in 1880.

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© 10 November 2020 in this format.

Dark Events at Bargarran in 1676

Dark Events at Bargarran in 1676

Today when the name Bargarran is mentioned, we always turn our mind to 1696 and the last mass witch hunt in Scotland that led to the execution of 7 people in Paisley on the 10th October 1697.  But the events that unfolded there in 1696 were preceded by a mysterious death in 1676.

Bargarran House, Erskine

In the Winter of 1676, John Shaw (Christian Shaw’s grandfather) died in mysterious circumstances, with his body being discovered the following spring, as though he had died the day before.

The account was described by Robert Law the son of the minister of Inchinnan Church, the neighbouring parish to Erskine. 

There was a gentleman, John Shaw of Bargarran, in Erskine Parish. He always used to ride across the water of Gryfe, which was between his house and Paisley.  The River Gryfe was often deep late at night. Being at Paisley one night, he came late out of the town to go home, something ordinary to him, and it being very dark, he came to the water side at the ford, (Allan’s ford). He called to his servant that was riding with him to cross the water first. The servant told him it was deep, due to high tide, and that it was also very dark.  John Shaw believed he could cross and set his horse to begin crossing the river.

The servant thinking Shaw was too adventurous stayed behind, waiting to see what would become of him.  When Shaw was halfway across, the other man heard him groan heavily, and then nothing more.  Suspecting Shaw might have been thrown from the horse the servant then went to the nearest house and stayed all night.

Meanwhile, ‘Bargarran’, Shaws horse returned home, alone with bridle and saddle still intact but without his master around 11 or 12pm. Shaws Lady and children were amazed at this and concluded that he had perished crossing the water.

Early the next morning his family and neighbours began to look for him, and not only seek him between the house and the river, but  also by boat searching all the river to the Clyde and along the Clyde along the Bargarran Estates River Bank.  He was not found, and they gave up searching for him.

Four months later, in the spring, his body was found near two miles of the water, and a mile from Bargarran House, in a ditch at the end of a moor. (Those gentlemen who had searched the area in the winter declared that in their searching during the winter they had searched that area “and found nothing like him in it).

What was remarkable, was that his right hand had been cut off; his private members were cut off; his cloths and boots not wet, nor in anyway spoiled.  Papers in his pocket were bone dry, his gold that wore was found on him. (Among which papers there was a discharge of an account he had just received from a Paisley merchant, who, ‘believing that his payment had been lost with John Shaw in the river, had again paid his son for the same count already payed).  Shaw’s hat Iay beside him, and his leather-cap was in place on his head with the string of his hat around his collar, which was normal for him when he was riding in dark nights or on windy nights. Shaw’s body found, fresh, as if he were newly deceased. When his boots were taken off, one of his heels bled.

All men were sensible that he was brought to that untimely death by the hidden works of darkness (witchcraft) but how to investigate this, his relations knew not.

Where did the event take place? 

In the early part of the story it is said that Shaw crossed the River Gryffe at Allans Ford.  Alans Farmstead is shown on Roy’s Military Survey Map on what we now know as the Black Cart Water, below the confluence of the River Gryffe with the Black Cart.  It is assumed the Ford named after the farm, would be in close proximity to the property.   See   If you look at the Ordnance Survey 6 inch map of 1843 – 1882 there is a track running from Easter Yonderton Farm toward the Black Cart Water and terminates on the river bank beside a small island.  On the opposite bank there appears to be the remains of a track running along the land boundary between Allans Farm and Townhead of Inchinnan.  It is very possible this is the route Shaw had taken, and the site of Allans Ford. See

Today the site of Allans Farm is off Inchinnan Drive, with the Rolls Royce factory sitting on the norther end of the farmstead.  The present open farmland between Inchinnan Drive and the Black Cart Water would be part of the original farm.  See,-4.4325068,1082m/data=!3m1!1e3. If you zoom in on the island at the centre of this satellite image, you can see possible remains of two fords on either side of the island.

The site of the location of Shaw’s remains, remains a mystery.  Described as “near two miles of the water, and a mile from Bargarran House, in a ditch at the end of a moor” would imply to me that his remains were found along the banks of the River Clyde, having been washed down river as the tide went out.   Allans Ford/ Farm is 2.5 miles from Bargarran House, and if you go upriver from the ford, you are further away from the house.  To be around a mile from the house means the only possible water he could have been found in is the Clyde, somewhere around Newshot Island or in front of Erskine House. 

I will leave it to you to decide what really happened.

The information presented in this blog is (c) Stephen Clancy, The Urban Historian – 20 October 2020

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