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A History of the County of Renfrew from the Earliest Times
Chapter XXIII.—Burghs


Besides the royal burgh of Renfrew, there were anciently in the shire the burgh of regality of Paisley and the burghs of barony of Greenock, Cartsdyke, Inverkip, Gourock. Port-Glasgow, Newark, Kilmacolm, Houston, Kilbarchan, Pollokshaws, and Newton Mearns. In addition to these, there are now the police burghs of Johnstone, Barrhead, and Kinning Park.

For a considerable time, Renfrew was the only burgh in the county. It is admirably situated on a level plain which extends from the foot of the Kilpatrick hills to the rising ground on the north of Paisley. It was originally built upon the north bank of one of the branches of the Clyde. Since then, the surface along the river has greatly changed. The marshy woodlands which formerly covered both banks have disappeared, and the Clyde, which formerly spread and wandered amongst numerous islands, has been confined within a narrow and steady channel, which, by dredging, has been made deep enough to admit of the passage of the largest vessels. Pont’s map, published by Bleau, in the middle of the seventeenth century, but drawn considerably before, gives six small islands between the mouth of the Kelvin and the place where the Cart falls into the Clyde. The two largest were called the White Inch and the King’s Inch. The former is now part of the lands of Partick in Govan, and the latter is the park of Elderslie House, between the burgh of Renfrew and the present channel of the Clyde.

The Clyde is now half a mile distant from Renfrew; but the gardens along the street called Townhead are described in their ancient titles as bounded on the north by the Clyde. The burgh is now united with the Clyde by a railway and by a canal.

Renfrew is said to have been built by David I. upon his own land (in Jundo proprio construxisset) at the time he was restoring the cathedral church of Glasgow. The church of the place he gave to the Bishop of Glasgow, by whom it was erected into a prebend of his cathedral, probably soon after 1136. Thirty years later, it was claimed by the monks of Paisley

as within the parish of Paisley and a pertinent of the church of S. Minn, which had recently been conferred upon them by Walter Fitz Alan. On an appeal to Rome, Urban III. (1185-1187) confirmed it as a separate parish to Glasgow. Early in the following century, the monks renounced all claim to it.

Other ecclesiastical establishments were enriched by David with property at Renfrew. About the same time that he made the Bishop of Glasgow a present of the parish church, which was probably dedicated to S. James, and stood upon the site of the present church, he gave a toft in the burgh to the Abbey of Kelso, with a boat and a net’s fishing in the river free from all custom or rent; and to the Abbey of Holyrood a toft of five perches, a net’s salmon fishing, and liberty to fish for herrings, custom free.

When the lands of Renfrew were conferred upon Walter Fitz Alan, the royal burgh probably went with them, with all its rights'and privileges unimpaired. Either David or his High Steward built the castle of the burgh. Nothing of it now remains. It stood upon a rising ground between the Cross and the Ferry in the King’s Inch, and was surrounded by a moat. Its memory and site are still retained in the names Castlehill, King’s Meadow, and King’s Orchard.

On the King’s Inch, and in the church of SS. Mary and James there, the monks who came from Wenlock to settle in Paisley, were first lodged. This has given rise to the legend that the monastery was first settled at Renfrew and afterwards transplanted to Paisley. But the residence of the monks in Renfrew was only temporary. The intention from the beginning was to build the monastery at Paisley, and thither, as soon as the house Walter was building for them there was habitable, they removed.

Immediately after their removal, Walter gave them the island beside his town of Renfrew, with the fishing between the island and Partick, a toft in the burgh, half a merk from the burgh ferm for light to their church, a net’s fishing of salmon, the mill of Renfrew, and the island “ where the monks first dwelt.” Subsequently the monks exchanged, with the grandson of the founder of their abbey, the island and their rights in the forest lands of Renfrew for the land lying between the Maic and the Calder and the lands of Durchat and Meikleriggs, but retained the Inch and the meadow of the Inch, down to the time of the Reformation. They had right of common pasture on the moor of Renfrew in 1495. They also retained the mill of Renfrew, to which the burgesses were constrained to pay full multure till 1414, when the Abbot granted them in feu the “ mill of Renfrew situated on the north side of the chapel of S. Mary,” for one merk feu duty yearly. At the same time, he gave them permission to take millstones where the monks had been used to take them.

Walter and his immediate successors were as liberal with their property at Renfrew as David I. had been. Besides the gifts already mentioned, Walter, before 1165, gave two shillings, payable at Easter, from the revenues of the burgh, to the Cathedral of Glasgow. To the Priory of Wenlock, in Shropshire, he gave a mansion in the burgh and the fishing of a salmon net and of six herring nets and a boat, as the price of the independence of his new monastery of the mother house of Wenlock. To the monks of Kelso he gave an additional toft, bounded by the stream which flows from the mill into the water of Clyde, and another toft to the Abbey of Dunfermline. Upon the monks of Newbattle, Alan, the son of Walter, bestowed a toft in the burgh—next to his own garden, on the east side, and a net in the water of Clyde where he had his own fishing; and upon the Cistercian monks of Cupar, a toft beside the church-yard, and a net’s salmon fishing in the Clyde. Walter, the grandson of the first Steward, granted twenty shillings yearly to the monks of Bromholm.

While the monks of Paisley were still at the King’s Inch, happened the invasion of Somerled, whose death at the Knock led to the speedy dispersion of his fleet and of the horde of Highlanders and wild Irishmen with whom he intended to harry the shire. His son and successor, Reginald, and his daughter-in-law, Fonia, soon after made ample reparation for any injury the monks and the county had sustained from the invasion, by giving certain valuable endowments to the monastery at Paisley.

During the Wars of Independence, Renfrew and its castle were, from time to time, in the hands of the enemy. Edward I. gave the Renfrewshire lands of the Steward to the Earl of Lincoln, who, in 1301, was holding the county and the burgh for him. When engaged in the siege of Bothwell castle, Edward despatched Godfrey Bardeneye with letters to the Earl, desiring him to send carpenters from Renfrew to assist him at the siege. Nine years later, October 15, 1310, Edward II. was at Renfrew on his way from the West to Linlithgow. Edward Balliol confiscated the Renfrewshire lands of the Stewards, and gave them to David Hastings, Earl of Atholl, and at Christmas, 1334, he was holding high court and festival in the castle of of Renfrew. In the quaint words of Wyntoun :

“At Renfrewe a niawngery
Costlyk he made ryaly,
Fewteys he tnk off mony thare
That gaddryd to the senile ware
And awcht fewte for thar tenandry ;
For nane durst him contrary.”

At Renfrew, he received the keys of Dunoon and Rothesay castles, and appointed Sir Alan Lyle, who soon after came to an unlucky end, Sheriff of Cowal and Bute.

When the Steward escaped from Bute and, with the assistance of Campbell of Lochow, had taken Dunoon castle, Renfrew received him with open arms, and he was not long in securing the baronies of Renfrew, Kyle, Cunningham, and Carrick for the King. All through the wars, Renfrew was on the national side, and here and there one reads in the calendars of burgesses of Renfrew—such as Mathew of Renfrew in prison at Nottingham, or Robert Reynfru, who died in the castle of Old Sarum—suffering for their patriotism.

After their accession to the throne, the Stuarts continued to show favour towards their ancient burgh by the Clyde. Though called a royal burgh, like some other ancient royal burghs, Renfrew had no documentary proof that it was one. This defect was remedied by Robert III. On November 11, 1396, seven months after he had erected the lands of the monastery of Paisley within the barony into a regality, he granted the burgh a charter, by which it was formally erected into a royal burgh. By the charter, he granted the burgh to the burgesses and community in feuferm, changed the old ferms into a fixed rent of eight merks yearly, and confirmed to them the fishings on the Clyde, and the petty customs as well within the burgh as throughout the barony of Renfrew. The charter also declares that no markets shall be held in the barony except within the burgh, and that the burgesses shall be as free from tolls and small customs as any other burgesses in Scotland. Right is also given in the charter to hold courts, and to the issues and profits therefrom, excepting life and limb. And generally, all other rights and privileges are granted by the charter as fully as enjoyed in other burghs. In addition to the reddendo of eight merks, a payment of one hundred shillings a year was to be made out of the burgh ferms for the support of a chaplain in the parish church. This charter is not now in existence, but is recited in a charter granted by Queen Anne, August 7, 1713, and is said to have been confirmed by James V., June 28, 1542, but the confirmation also is not extant. A few years after the granting of the charter, when the barony was separated from the county of Lanark and erected into a sheriffdom, Renfrew was made the head burgh of the shire.

With the accession of the Stuarts, the castle of Renfrew was raised to the dignity of a royal residence, and continued to be such for some time. Robert II. was there on May 30, 1370, which, however, was some months before his accession. It was at Renfrew that he wrote the letter to Sir Hugh Eglinton, already alluded to, in which he authorised Sir Hugh and his heirs to re-enter the office of bailie of Cunningham, notwithstanding that the office was then administered by another, with Sir Hugh’s sufferance or consent. In 1376, a payment of 41 16s. 3d. was made to Sir David Bell, as clerk of the wardrobe, for furnishings for the castle. On October 26, 1377, the King was again in residence theie. Wine was sent to the castle, presumably for the King’s use, in 1380.4 In the following year, the bailie of Renfrew received 7 7s. 0d. in part payment of an account from the Exchequer5; and, in 1400, 3s. 6d. was paid for the carriage of wine from Stirling to Renfrew, for the King’s use. The King was in Renfrew again on October 11, 1401, when he executed a charter whereby he granted to “ his beloved and faithful Robert Mantalent, knight, the lands of Tybrys with the pertinents in the sheriffdom of Dromfres falling to the King by reason of forfeiture and escheat of George Dunbarre sometime Earl of March.” Among the company present on the occasion were the Bishops of Glasgow and Aberdeen, Robert Duke of Albany, Archibald Earl of Douglas, Lord of Dalkeith, and Thomas Erskine, the King’s cousins. Later on in^the fifteenth century, the place had fallen out of favour as a royal residence. In 1468, a lease of the castle, with its orchards and meadows, was granted to Lord Lyle at a rental of 4 6s. 8d.

James IV. appointed Lord Ross of Hawkhead hereditary constable of the castle. In 1615, James Lord Ross was served heir of his grandfather, James, to the lands of Inche and the fishings in the Clyde, with the office of constable of the burgh of Renfrew. In 1669, William, Master of Ross, eldest son of George Lord Ross, obtained a charter of the same property. Down to the time of Robert III., Renfrew appears to have been, for the times, fairly prosperous. From a very small beginning, it had risen to be a rival of the neighbouring city of Glasgow and of the more ancient royal burgh of Rutherglen. When, in 1370, Glasgow was assessed at 5 18s. 5d. for the King’s ransom, and Rutherglen at 5 12s. 4d., Renfrew was assessed at 4 14s. 8d., showing that the difference in the estimated wealth of the towns was not great, and that Renfrew was not far from being on a level with either Rutherglen or Glasgow.

But from this time, slow as the development of the country was during the next four or five centuries, the burgh of Renfrew failed to keep pace with it. The cause of this is not exactly clear, but we shall probably be not far wrong if we set it down chiefly to the lack of enterprise on the part of its rulers and inhabitants. Other forces may also have been at work, acting as contributary causes, such as local politics, quarrels with neighbouring burghs, and an overweening confidence on the part of its magistrates in the power of its charters.

Renfrew and Paisley were too near to each other, and the latter was much too prosperous for the two to be good neighbours. One subject of variance was the exact delimitation of their mutual boundaries. But this on being referred to arbiters was amicably settled. The levying of toll and custom was a much more serious business. The officials in Renfrew claimed the right to levy toll and custom all through the shire, and in Paisley, at least, appear to have executed their office vexatiously. Anyhow, after enduring for a time certain real or fancied evils at the hands of the officials and people of Renfrew, the men of Paisley marched to Renfrew, and with the assistance of others took summary vengeance upon the people and did considerable damage. For this they were heavily fined, but George Shaw, who was then Abbot of Paisley, intervening on their behalf with the King, obtained, as we have seen, the remission of the fines and protection against any other consequences with which they might be threatened for the affair.

This was only the beginning of troubles. On June 2, 1490, Paisley was erected into a free burgh of barony and regality, in virtue of a charter obtained from the King in 1488. By this, Paisley obtained the right to hold markets and fairs, to levy toll and custom within its borders, and to have a market cross. Here was what appeared to the people of Renfrew a distinct encroachment upon their rights and privileges, and a threatened loss of revenue. Accordingly, as we have seen, the men of Renfrew, “ under silence of night,” inarched to Paisley and destroyed so much of the market cross as had been built and the hewn stone which was being prepared for it. The feud between the two burghs went on till the year 1494, when it was settled only by a threat on the part of Abbot George Shaw to sue the magistrates and community of Renfrew, who had already lost their case against him and his burgh before the Lords Auditors, for the tolls and customs which they had levied within his regality without legal authority for the past hundred years and for divers other sums, iu name of damages done to his monastery and its property.

After this the fortunes of the burgh appear to have gone from bad to worse. During the reign of Queen Mary the town obtained some notoriety through its minister, Mr. Andrew Hay, being accused of being art and part in the murder of Rizzio.

In the year 1580, the burgh entered into the singular agreement with the Earl of Argyll, which is given below.2 What induced the bailies to grant this remarkable document does not appear to be known. It is dated October 21, 1580, and was executed at Glasgow.

In 1593, the town was in a decaying condition, for in the month of June in that year the magistrates petitioned the Convention of Royal Burghs for assistance to repair its harbour and “ decayit places.” Other burghs in the kingdom were in a similar condition in consequence of the disturbed state of the country : Inverkeithing, North Berwick, and Dumbarton presenting similar petitions at the same time as Renfrew. The consideration of the petitions was continued by the Convention to its next meeting, when it was found expedient to approach Parliament, in order to seek the support of the whole nation for the relief of the burghs.

In the following year, it would appear, Renfrew and other of the Royal burghs were suspected of having parted too freely with their property and with neglecting to husband their resources, for at the Convention in June, at which the burgh was represented by William Ranfrow, Renfrew and three other burghs were required to produce in “ writt ” to the next general meeting of the Convention “ mair sufficient diligence anent the rowpping of thair common guid and perambuling thair marches.” Five years later (1599), permission was given to the burgh by the Convention of Royal Burghs to petition the King for the privilege of imposing, for a period of five years, certain harbour and other dues. This may probably be taken as the Convention’s answer in part to the burgh’s petition for assistance. The other part of its answer is probably to be found in the exemption, given to the burgh, from sending Commissioners to the meetings of the Convention held north of the Forth during the next three years, on condition that the money which would otherwise have gone to pay the expenses of the Commissioners should be used in the repair of the “ decayit places.”

In 1600, the town was engaged in a dispute with Dumbarton. Renfrew was suppoi’ted by Glasgow, the provost of which at the time was Sir George Elphinston of Blytbswood, Knight. Dumbarton had obtained a grant from the Crown, and interpreted it as conferring the right to levy a certain impost upon vessels passing to and fro on the Clyde. The Convention confessed its inability to decide the matter, but found in the meantime that the right granted to Dumbarton extended only to the water of Leven and not to the water of Clyde.

Two years later, the magistrates laid a complaint before the Convention against the magistrates of Glasgow for levying sixpence per thousand on herrings carried by the burgesses of Renfrew to Glasgow Bridge. On the same occasion, on the other hand, the Commissioners of Glasgow and Renfrew for themselves, and the burgh of Dumbarton, complained against the burghs of Ayr and Irvine and their magistrates, “ for suffering the fischeris quha fischis in thair watteris to fish with sandeill polkis [sand eel bags], to the grit destruction of the hering fry, verray hurtfull and prejudicial to the fiscbing of hering.” They complained also that the fishermen of Ayr and Irvine took the herring fry and sold them in the market. The Convention directed both practices to be stopped under a penalty of forty pounds. When the question of levying dues on the herrings brought by the men of Renfrew to Glasgow Bridge came to be argued, June 6, 1603, William Somerwell, the Town Clerk and representative of Renfrew, gained his case, the magistrates of Glasgow being forbidden to levy the import in all time coming.

At the meeting of the Convention, July 5, 1604, Dumbarton lodged a complaint against the burgh of Renfrew “ for sufferane numbers of unfremen to keip oppin merkettis in selling of stapill wairis in the clachenis of Kylma-colm and the new kirk of Girnok within thair liberty and fredome but [without] controlment.” On July 2, 1605, William Somerwell, the Town Clerk, appeared as Commissioner for the burgh to answer the complaint, and “ producit lettres of horning execute agains certane the saids unfretrafficqueris.” The Convention ordered the burgh “ to caus registre the said lettres aganis sic as hes suspendit or fund cautioner, to prosecute the samyn before the lordis of sessioun and to reporte thair delegens thairof to the nixt Conventioun and agains all utheris within thair liberty,” under pain of forty pounds.

In 1606, the Convention of Royal Burghs granted permission to the magistrates to renew their petition of 1599 to the King, to levy certain imposts for five years, but “provyding alwayis,” the permission bears, “the said burgh bestow the said impost upon reparation of thair herbere, and mak yerle compt to the burrowis thairof at ilk generall conventioun, under the pane of ane unlaw [fine] of twentie pundis sa oft as thai failze.”

The prosecution of the unfree traders in the “ clachenis of Kylmacolm and the new kirk of Girnok,” turned out to be an expensive affair, and the magistrates of the burgh did not enter upon it with much heart. On July 1, 1607, the Town Clerk, as Commissioner for the burgh, appeared before the Convention “ for verification of thair delegens,” and produced “ ane lettre of suspensioun raissit be James Houston in Kilmacolm” and others, together with letters of horning, against certain individuals whose names are not given. The magistrates were directed to prosecute and to report diligence; but the Convention was far from satisfied with their reports, and reference to the case occurs as late as July 3, 1656.

On July 5, 1608, the Convention “ordained” the three burghs of Glasgow, Dumbarton and Renfrew “ to cause pen ane artickle to be gevin in to the nixt parliament for clenseing of the Wattir of Clyid, and punisching of persounis quha polutes and defyles the samyne be deid careouns, buckeis, and sic uther filthe, hurtfull to the fishcheing. ”

According to Dr. Cleland, the inhabitants of the same three burghs had united, as early as the year 1556, in an endeavour to remove the ford at Dumbuck and the most prominent “ hirsts ” [sandbanks], in order to improve the navigation of the river, which “ for thirteen miles below Glasgow was so interrupted by fords and shoals as to be barely navigable for small craft.” In 1602, and again in 1607, the three burghs above mentioned were directed by the Convention of Royal Burghs to see that the river was “ kept clean and unpolluted,” in the parts near to them, and especially within their own “ boundis ” ; but without effect. No assistance was obtained from Parliament. Renfrew and Dumbarton  appear to have taken little interest in the matter. In 1612, however, they united with Glasgow in another attempt to remove the ford at Dumbuck; but after that, the cleansing and deepening of the Clyde was left to Glasgow.

Some time before July 1, 1607, the magistrates had made Robert Fynity a merchant burgess. Fynity appears to have been non-resident, and this coming to the ears of the Convention, the magistrates were directed to compel him to make residence within the burgh before the Michaelmas following, or to strike him off the roll of burgesses. Whether the Commissioners of Glasgow had been the informants of the Convention does not appear ; but two days after the hearing of Fynity’s case, two burgesses of Renfrew complained against the burgh of Glasgow “ for trubling and molesting of the saidis persounis in bying of merchandrice within thair awin burgh and herbere thairof and for unlawing of thame and thair souerties”; and on July 7, in the following year, the magistrates laid a formal complaint before the Commissioners of the Royal Burghs against the magistrates of Glasgow “for admitting” as burgesses certain men, who are not named, “ quha duellis in Kilmacolm and makis na residence within thair burgh sen the time of thair admissioun.”

At the meeting of the Convention, on July 4, 1656, the Commissioners of the burgh complained that Robert Pollock, late provost, had taken possession “of ane great pairt of thair comoun landis,” and was using it as if it were his own. The Commissioners of Glasgow, Dumbarton and Rutherglen were therefore sent to meet in the burgh, and to “ tak inspectione of the said bussiness and to sie both thair richtis and to deall for agreement and to improve their comoun landis at the sight of the saidis burghis.”

In the following year, Peter Patton, a vassal of the town of Renfrew and a burgess, complained that he was being deprived of the “ right to pastorage ”

contrary to his charters, and that the magistrates were selling a part of their common land which was making his pasture “ unuseful ” to him. The Commissioners appear to have gone carefully into the matter, and the magistrates were compelled to compensate Patton for disturbance. Provost Pollock is not again mentioned ; but in 1669, the agent of the Convention was directed to assist Renfrew in prosecuting the lairds of Duchal and Hapland for violently taking possession of the common lands of the burgh; and inasmuch as Renfrew was reduced to poverty, he was instructed to restrict his charges against the burgh to the sum of twenty dollars.

Tucker, who drew up his report on the Scottish towns for Cromwell in 1656, wrote :—“ There is in this port [Glasgow] a collector, a cheque, and four wayters, who look to this place, Renfrew, Arskin on the south, and Kirke-patrick on the north side of Clyde, with Dumbarton, a small and very poore burgh at the head of the Firth.” Renfrew, he adds, “ has 3 or 4 boates of 5 or 6 tonnes a-piece.”  In the same year, he states that the taxes on beer, ale, and “ acquavitae,” in the shire were farmed out for four months for the sum of 100 to William Hewitt. Though it professed to have a harbour, Tucker did not reckon Renfrew among the ports of the kingdom. If he did, it had no trade, or rather yielded nothing to the revenue in the shape either of custom or of excise duties between June 1, 1656, and October 1, 1657.

When the tolbooth of the burgh fell into decay, the magistrates appealed to the Convention of Royal Burghs for assistance to rebuild it, and obtained a grant of 1,000 merks, which the agent of the Convention was directed to pay to them in two instalments of 500 merks each. One of the instalments had in 1689 been paid, but on July 4, in that year, the agent was instructed to retain the other half of the grant till the Commissioners of Glasgow and Dumbarton ascertained whether the first 500 merks “ was reallie applyed toward the repairing of the said toilbuith and that the work is advanced.” Apparently some rumour had reached the Convention that the money was not being put by the Town Council to the purpose for which it was asked and voted.

One of the most important documents in connection with the history of the burgh is the report given into the Convention of Royal Burghs in 1692 by its Commissioners, James Fletcher, Provost of Dundee, and Alexander Walker, Bailie of Aberdeen. Their report is based upon statements laid before them by David Pollock, Provost; W. Scott, Bailie ; and William Cochrane, Town Clerk.

According to this document, the Common Good of the burgh was worth 581 14s. Scots, while the debts of the burgh amounted to 678 13s. 4d. The town had no mortifications and no treasurer’s books, but by the accounts submitted to them the Commissioners “ found them superexpended yearly 192 Os. lid., for which the magistrates were forced to stent ther inhabitants, and that ther eiqueies and clerks with other dewes will extend to 15 Scots, which is annually payed.” The town had no foreign trade, “ there being no person of any stock amongst them.” The inland trade of the burgh was “ not worth the nameying.” There was not one merchant shop within the burgh. “ All they have,” the report continues, “ consists of some green herring they bring from the lochs to Glasgow for serveing the countrey, and they vent nor retaill no wines nor seek [sack] within the burgh, and what brandie they vent, they bring it from Glasgow in gallons and half gallons, and that ther consumption of malt [for beer] will be about four bolls Aveekly.”

As for ships or barks, the town had none, except twenty-four boats of between three and five tons burden each, used for conveying herring from the lochs, and worth on an average 100 merks ; and two other boats of from twelve to fifteen tons burden used for “ making of salt herring,” and worth 400 merks each. The town was neither owner nor partner in any ships, barks or boats belonging to any other burghs, whether royal, regality or barony, nor was it connected in matters of trade with unfree burghs.

The cess was raised by a tax on the inhabitants. The ministers were paid out of the teinds of the burgh and parish, and the schoolmasters out of the Common Good, as were also the rest of the public servants of the burgh. All public works were supported out of the same fund.

Most of the houses in the burgh, it is said, were inhabited by their respective heritors, and the rents of the rest ranged between twenty merks and forty shillings Scots. There were “no stranger inhabitants” in the burgh.

Within its “ precinct ” or liberty, the burgh had the particular burghs of barony and regality of “ Pasley, Kilbarchan, Houstoune, Kilmacrom, Newark, Carsedyck, Greenock, Innerkeip, and Gourack, all which are in a flourishing condition and have a considerable retail, and the worst of these have a much more considerable trade than themselves.”

The above, with a few more unimportant particulars, is said to be “ a trew accompt of the state and condition of the said burgh of Rhenfrew.” The burgh was evidently not in a prosperous condition.

It was probably on this account that, about eleven years after the above report was given in, Queen Anne, as coming in the place of the Prince and

Steward of Scotland, granted a charter Novodamus in favour of the provost, bailies, council and community of the burgh. This charter, which is dated 1703, recites and confirms the charter of Robert III., and two charters of James YI., the one dated February 5, 1575, and the other August 11, 1614.

From the recital, the second charter granted by James appears to have conveyed very valuable privileges to the burgh. It confers a right of ferry on the Clyde between Merlingford and the mouth of the Gryfe ; of the small duties, customs and tolls within the burgh and barony ; of a mill; of chapels and altarages within the burgh for the support of the poor, and of a grammar school ; of the right to choose a Provost and Dean of Guild ; of a free port, harbour and haven, as Edinburgh had in Leith, of trade and traffic, home and foreign, with the right to levy customs within the bounds of the burgh, both maritime and inland ; of a Merchant Gild, with gild courts, as in Edinburgh, of markets, fairs, and customs of fairs, and various other privileges, among which was the exclusive right to trade in the barony of Renfrew, saving the rights of the burgh of Dumbarton. It also conveyed extensive property in land, and fishings in the Clyde ; a right to draw certain payments from each ploughgate of land within the barony of Renfrew, as well as other payments from each cottar and householder, various duties which are specified to be drawn at the harbour and to be applied to its repair; and a right to levy customs on the Clyde. Finally, the burgh, with all its liberties, is incorporated into a free royal burgh. The charter of Queen Anne does little more than confirm the preceding charter of James with a Novodamus.

In spite of its new charter the town continued unprosperous. Writing in 1710, Crawford said of it :—“The town consists of one principal street, about half a mile in length, with some small lanes; it has a spacious market-place and a handsome Town-house with a steeple covered with lead. . . . This burgh had once some little foreign trade, but the business in which its inhabitants are mostly employed now is trade to Ireland.” Robertson, his continuator, who wrote in 1811, describes it as “a clean, neat enough cottage-kind of town, consisting of a single street with houses on each side, one storey high, covered with thatch.” “ It does not seem,” he adds, “ to have increased much in size or importance since Crawford’s time.” According to Wilson, some feeble attempts were made in 1781-82 to introduce into the burgh the manufacture of Lisle thread and Brussels lace, but without success. In 1792, there was one bleachfield in the burgh, a soap and candle work, a very few thread mills, and about one hundred and twenty looms, employed chiefly by manufacturers in Paisley. There was some small traffic on the Clyde in grain and in bark for tanning, but there were no prospects of improvements. The income of the town he puts down at 800, and the population in 1811 at 1,637. In the return made to Parliament in 1788, about twenty-three years before Wilson wrote, the income of the burgh was set down at 301 12s. 11d.

In the year 1833 or 1834, the burgh was visited by the Royal Commissioners on Municipal Corporations in Scotland, who reported unfavourably upon the management of the business of the town. The revenue of the burgh was in 1832-33 1,448 12s. 7d., and its debts 2,056 17s. 5d. Its expenditure for the year was 11,555 5s. Id., or 116 12s. 6d. above its income. The income had been below the expenditure, the Commissioners say, “for some years back.” Among the items of expenditure is 153 9s. for “tavern expenses and entertainments given at election of magistrates, examination of schools, annual inspection of fishings, and celebration of King’s birthday.”

Between 1817 and 1833, the debt of the town had been reduced from 4,083 2s. 9d. to 2,626 14s. 6d. But the Commissioners remark: “The expenditure of the burgh is, however, still too great, looking to the purposes to which it is applied. Some needless expenses, such as entertainments, may be usefully retrenched. For the extravagant amount of its tavern bills, considering the town, and the rank of the magistrates, this petty burgh has long been noted in the west. Indeed, the magistrates have hitherto kept a running account with the innkeeper, the convivial meetings of the Council were so frequent; and, as appears from the town’s accounts, the landlord of the town’s inn just received, occasionally, payments to account of his current bill for entertainments. ’ ’

The Commissioners endorse the statement of the author of the Statistical Account of the Parish of Renfrew, that “ had it not been for the fatal effects of burgh politics, Renfrew might, at this time, have been one of the principal seats of manufacture in the west of Scotland.”

During their visit, the Commissioners had to investigate some serious allegations by the burgesses respecting the administration and management of the burgh’s property. One was that the community had sustained a loss of above 300 by the failure of the treasurer. The blaipe was thrown upon the magistrates for allowing the treasurer to intromit with the burgh funds without finding security. The Commissioners agreed with the complainants. Another had reference to the canal; but the most serious had reference to a series of transactions between the provost and the burgh. These transactions, the Commissioners state, were “ of so singular a character as to deserve particular attention.” They then go on to remark : “ In every instance the interest of the provost appears solely to have been consulted. It is even stated in the minutes authorizing the first transaction, that the acquisition sought would be a benefit to him. In no instance does there appear to have been any necessity for the sales being made, in order to obtain funds for the use of the burgh. The proposal for the sales in each case originated with the provost. He himself was present in Council, and assisted in the deliberations of the Council, when his own proposals were taken into consideration. His name appears in the sederunt, and his signature, as ‘ Preses,’ to the Council minutes authorizing the different sales in his own favour.”

There were in all four transactions, and the detailed account which the Commissioners give of them is instructive. Transactions of a similar kind were discovered by the Select Committee on Petitions from the Royal Burghs of Scotland, in 1819, to have taken place in other towns.

During the second half of the nineteenth century, the burgh of Renfrew entered upon a new industrial and commercial life. From being a sleepy hollow, it has become a busy and thriving town. It has now large engineering establishments. Its works for the manufacture of water tube boilers are the largest in great Britain. They cover some 32 acres of ground, and give employment to about 1,400 hands. There is every probability that the town will shortly be provided with extensive docks. Two railways and lines of electric cars connect it with Glasgow and Paisley.

In 1801, the population of the town of Renfrew is said to have been 1,400 ; in 1901, it was 9,297 ; while the population of the parish at the latter date was 15,143. .

At one time the burgh might have taken the place of Glasgow. The opportunity for doing that is gone; and the burgh must now always remain a long way behind the city, of which it at one time took precedence.

The origin of Paisley is involved in obscurity. The place is first heard of in connection with S. Mirin, and then in connection with Walter, the first of the Hereditary High Stewards.

It originally stood in the neighbourhood of what is now known as the Seedhill, and was given with its church, which was dedicated to S. Mirin, by Walter Fitz Alan to the monastery he founded in almost close proximity to it. When the monastery was burned down by the English in 1307, the town of Paisley was in all probability burnt with it. After the close of the Wars of Independence, the town shared in the prosperity of the Abbey, and gradually spread to Easter and Wester Crossflat, and to the piece of land on the western side of the Cart and opposite to the Abbey, which had been specially marked out from the Forest of Paisley by Walter Fitz Alan and given to the monks.

Down to the year 1487, the town of Paisley was completely overshadowed by the monastery, and is seldom heard of apart from it. But in the year mentioned the town suddenly appeared in the Law Courts, in consequence of a quarrel with the neighbouring burgh of Renfrew. The precise cause of the quarrel is not stated. Perhaps there was no very definite cause, and only an accumulation of indefinite and to some extent imaginary causes. Renfrew and Paisley, it has already been remarked, were too close to each other to be good neighbours, and the prosperity of the Abbot’s town was not of a character not to provoke the jealousy of the royal burgh. Besides, ever since the erection of their town into a royal burgh by the charter of Robert III. in 1396, the bailies of Renfrew had been levying toll and custom in the town of Paisley and all through the regality, and probably not without provoking some degree of bitterness of feeling in the minds of the people of Paisley. Anyhow, in 1487, the men of Paisley, because of some real or imaginary grievance, took the law into their own hands, and marching to Renfrew did considerable damage in the town and among the inhabitants. For this, as we have seen, they were summoned before the Lord High Chamberlain when next on aire at Renfrew and were heavily fined, but at the intercession of George Shaw, the Abbot, they got their fines remitted by the King, and at the same time protection against any other proceedings which might be contemplated against them in consequence of the raid.

The following year, Abbot George Shaw entered into an agreement with the magistrates of Renfrew for the delimitation of their mutual boundaries. The matter was referred to William Fleming of Barrochan, Uchtrede Knox of Craigends, John Semple of Fulwood, Robert Morton of Walkinshaw, John Knox of that ilk, Robert Montgomery of Scotstoun, and John Ralston of that ilk, who, if they deemed it expedient, could call in two assessors to their assistance. They gave in their award on February 25 in the same year, and it was at once accepted and regarded as final by both parties.

Later on in the same year, August 19, 1488, Abbot George Shaw received a document from the King erecting the town of Paisley into a burgh of barony or regality. Almost two years had to elapse before the King’s charter could be given effect to ; but on June 2, 1490, the Abbot issued his charter, and the town of Paisley became a burgh of barony, with the right to hold markets and fairs, to have a market cross, and to enjoy all the rights and privileges enjoyed by any other burgh of barony in the kingdom.

This at once aroused the jealousy of the magistrates and community of Renfrew, and before the market cross of the new burgh could be erected, the men of Renfrew entered the town under the silence of night, and, as we have seen, destroyed so much of the cross as had been built, and did other damage. The indignant Abbot appealed to the King, who chanced to visit him shortly after the outrage had been perpetrated. The King at once issued a letter to the Earl of Lennox and his son, authorising and directing them to search for and apprehend and punish any who had taken part in the midnight raid. None were found, and the bailies of Renfrew taking courage, determined to insist upon the right they had exercised during the past hundred years, and before a twelvemonth was out suddenly appeared in the market place of Paisley upon a market day, and poinded certain goods for the King’s customs. The bailies of the town, however, were on the alert. They seized the poinded goods and compelled the Renfrew customar to return to Renfrew empty-handed. The magistrates of the royal burgh now appealed to the Lords Auditors, who, on June 13, 1493, gave judgment against them, on the ground that the lands of the monastery within the barony had been erected into a regality earlier than the date at which the town of Renfrew had received its charter erecting it into a royal burgh, and that consequently they had no right to levy toll and custom either in the town or in the regality of Paisley. In the following year, the Abbot pushed home his victory. He raised an action before the Lords Auditors against the bailies of Renfrew, for the damage the men of Renfrew had done to the market cross of Paisley. The year following he enlarged the scope of his action, and among other things claimed from the bailies of the royal burgh repayment of the tolls and customs they had levied within his regality during the past hundred years. On this, the bailies appear to have taken fright. Nothing more is heal’d of the matter, and the probability is that the bailies were glad to come to terms.

On May 21, 1491, while the dispute with Renfrew was going on, the Abbot presented the new burgh with the Heyt House, which stood at the west corner of Moss Street and the High Street, and was probably the place where the secular business of the monastery had been carried on, to be used as a Common Tolbooth for the transaction of the business of the burgh.

The following year Abbot Shaw gave the monks of his Abbey thirty golden crowns from the rents in the town of Paisley, to be used for the purpose of providing them with a Common Pittance, or, in the terms of the deed, “ for the endowment and support of one solemn anniversary, and of some other suffrages to be made and celebrated every year.” The Pittance was not to be divided, but was to be enjoyed in common.

In July, 1499, the chapel of SS. Mirin and Columba was completed, and along with its endowments handed over to the bailies and community of the burgh by its founder, James Crawford of Kylwynat, a burgess of Paisley, who with his wife had built and endowed it out of the savings of their industry.

When the royal burghs around ceased from molesting, Paisley, though only a burgh of barony or regality, entered upon a career of prosperity and soon became a centre of trade. The principal industries carried on within it were weaving, fulling, tanning, dyeing. Other handicrafts were also practised: the workmen finding abundant employment in the Abbey and surrounding farms.

By the time of the Reformation, Paisley had become a place of considerable fame. As early as the time of Abbot John de Lithgow, it had begun to spread from the Seedhill and Crossflats to the opposite side of the White Cart. It was noted for its excellent position, being “ situat,” as Leslie says, “ amang cnowis, grene woodis, schawis and forrest fair ; ” for its beautiful Abbey, and for the splendid wall of hewn stone, more than a mile long, “ with fair images” “ stiking and standeng out,” and “ verie monie of thame,” which enclosed the Abbey and its precincts. It was also one of the four principal places of pilgrimage in the country, the others being Melrose, Dundee and Scone. The place was both thriving and lively, and was kept so by a constant stream of pilgrims and by its numerous royal and noble visitors. To the industries already mentioned, brewing and shoemaking appear to have been added.

In 1553, John Hamilton, Abbot of Paisley and Bishop of Dunkeld, having been appointed Archbishop of St. Andrews, Lord Claud Hamilton, a boy seven years of age, was made Commendator of Paisley. The whole revenues of the Abbey were valued at Rome at six hundred golden florins, and according to the Pope’s Bull appointing Lord Claud, the young Commendator was to enjoy the whole of them, with the exception of one-fourth if he kept a separate establishment, or one-third if he lived in the Abbey. During his minority the estates were to be managed by his uncle, the Archbishop, and failing him, by the Claustral Prior.

In the second year of Lord Claud’s commendatorship, July 26, 1555, “ Mat. Stewart, Barscube, and others, twelve persons in all, came,” according to Pitcairn, “ to the monastery of Paisley, by way of hame-suckin, and there invaded John Hamilton, son of Hamilton of Ferguslie, ‘ grynter ’ of Paslay, for his slaughter, and for mutilating him of his arm and sundry other crimes.” Six years later, in 1561, the year after Protestantism had been legally established in the land, the Earl of Glencairn, along with others, received a commission to destroy “ all monumentis of ydolatrie ” in the west. Their commission is supposed by some to have extended only to images, vestments, and such like things. If it did, Glencairn and his fellow iconoclasts put a very liberal construction upon it, and not only destroyed the so-called monuments supposed to have been covered by their commission, but also, in order to make their work surer or to give fuller vent to their fanaticism, left the Abbey and its church in ruins. It is not improbable that Glencairn and his horde left their mark upon the other churches and chapels in the town and neighbourhood, and as well upon the crosses which had here and there been erected.

From Archbishop Hamilton and his nephew the Abbey passed to Lord Semple, the Archbishop’s quondam bailie. On January 17, 1570, Hamilton returned to Paisley, took possession of the Abbey, seized Lord Semple and kept him prisoner. Lennox, who had been appointed Regent after the assassination of Moray, marched to the relief of Semple, and the Archbishop narrowly escaped, but only to be executed the following year at Stirling, April 7. In 1573, Lord Claud was restored to his commendatorship by the Treaty of Perth. The following year he married the daughter of Lord Seton and took up his residence in the Place of Paisley, but was again forfeited, and a commission was issued “to search for and administer justice to him.” The Abbey was besieged again in 1579, and surrendered to the Master of Glencairn; but Lord Claud or the “ Abbot,” as he was sometimes called, had “ conveyed himself quietly to sic pairt as na man knawis.”

In the troublesome times that followed, the Abbey passed from hand to hand. At last, on July 29, 1587, Lord Claud was made a Lord of Parliament, with the title of Lord Paisley, and restored to his possessions. From this time politics lost their charm for him, or if they did not, he at least ceased to meddle openly with them, and settled down in Paisley to watch over his burgh and the management of his estates. In 1597, he was honoured by a visit from Anne of Denmark, the Queen Consort, when the Kirk and Ports of the town were ordered by the Town Council to be decorated, and a “ pyntour ” to be sent for from Glasgow “ for drawing of sum drauchts in the Kirk as sail be thocht maist necessar for the present.” Twenty years later, the King visited Paisley. Lord Claud was now too old to receive him. His Majesty was received by the Earl of Abercorn, Lord Claud’s eldest son, in the “ great hall ” of Abercorn, and a “ pretty boy,” a son of Semple of Beltrees, delivered before him a bombastic address, in which he spoke of himself as “your Majesty’s own old parrot,” and of the King as “ our royall Phoebus.” The Earl pre-deceased his father : he died in 1618, and Lord Claud in 1621.

The first Earl of Abercorn was a staunch Protestant, and sat several times as a member of the General Assembly of the Reformed Church. His son, the second Earl, was a Catholic. Failing to satisfy the General Assembly, he was banished the country by that court in 1649. Three years later, he sold the lordship of Paisley to the Earl of Angus for the sum of 160,000 Scots. A year later, the greater part of the lordship was purchased from the Earl of Angus by Lord Cochrane, afterwards Earl of Dundonald.

Much of the history of the burgh has been told in the chapter on the Presbytery and in the chapters which follow it, and need not here be repeated. From the outbreak of the quarrel with Charles I. down to the proclamation of William and Mary, the burgh was heavily oppressed with taxes first by one and then by the other of the contending parties, and frequently complained. But in spite of the demands made upon the inhabitants, the burgh continued to prosper. The magistrates carried out certain transactions in the second half of the seventeenth century, which they could not have done had the town been otherwise than prosperous. In 1655, they bought from Robert Fork of Merksworth the estate of Snawdon or Sneddon for the sum of 5,500 merks Scots. In 1666, they purchased from Lord Dundonald the speriority of the town feus, and obtained a charter from Charles II. by which the town henceforth became practically and legally a royal burgh, holding directly of the Crown. In the following year, they purchased also from Lord Dundonald the lands of Oakshawside, and nine years later (1675) they acquired the estate of Caversbank in the School Wynd, so named after its owner in 1489, Robert Cavers, one of the bailies of the newly made burgh.

Not being one of the ancient royal burghs, Paisley is seldom mentioned in the early records of the Convention of those burghs. The first reference to it is in 1692, when the magistrates of Renfrew reported to the Commission of the Convention, as we have seen, that it was then in a flourishing condition and had a considerable retail trade. In the same year, the magistrates of Glasgow reported to the same body, “ Paisley has a great inland trade and is in a very flourishing condition.” According to the Poll Tax Roll, drawn up in 1695, there were at the time in the town of Paisley 66 weavers, 41 merchants, 33 shoemakers, 29 tailors, 21 malsters, 5 coopers, 2 dyers, and 2 wigmakers, while in the parish of Paisley there were 32 additional weavers.

In 1710, Crawford wrote of the town : “This burgh has a weekly mercat, on Thursday, when there is great store of provisions; but that which chiefly renders this place considerable is its trade of linen and muslin, where there is a great weekly sale in its mercats of those sorts of cloth : many of the inhabitants being chiefly employed in that sort of manufactory.” Wilson says that at that time the manufactures consisted of imitations of striped muslins, known as Bengals, and coarse linen checks. Thirty years later, the principal manufactures were checkered linen handkerchiefs, some of them fine and beautifully variegated, by the manner in which the colours were disposed. These were succeeded by goods of a lighter texture, such as lawns, some of them plain, others striped or checkered with cotton, and others spotted or figured according to the taste or fancy of the artist. The weaving of linen gauze was also carried on to a considerable extent. All these goods were carried to England by the merchants for sale at the great fairs. In 1774, the value of the manufactures of the town is given at 15,886 ; in 1784, the best year, at 164,385 ; in 1807, it fell to 27,771 ; and in 1811, to 4,513. In 1812, the manufacture of these goods had almost entirety ceased.

In 1759, the manufacture of silk gauze was introduced into the town, and rapidly increased. Between 1760 and 1780, a number of English companies settled in Paisley, and the silk gauze trade became the principal industry of the town. It was carried on in all the villages round about for a distance of twenty miles, and the silk gauzes of Paisley were seen in the markets of London, Dublin and Paris. In 1781, some twenty houses in Paisley were engaged in the trade. They employed five thousand looms, and produced goods of the yearly value of 350,000. The manufacture of ribbons and other silk goods, which was introduced in 1772, was for some time carried on successfully. But in 1812, the manufacture of silk goods of every description had been almost entirely given up.

In the year 1780, cotton spinning was introduced into the shire. The first mill, as already mentioned, was erected upon the water of Levern at Barrhead, in the parish of Neilston. Soon after, another was erected at Busby, and in 1782 a large mill was built at Johnstone. In less than twenty years, mills had been erected on the banks of most of the rivers in the county. In 1812, there were nineteen cotton mills in the shire, besides others in Pollokshaws and Paisley, giving employment to 932 men, 2,449 women, and 1,792 children, and producing cotton yarn of the annual value of 630,000.

After cotton spinning, came the manufacture of muslin. It came in about the year 1785, and found its centre in Paisley. “The ingenuity and good taste of the traders and workmen in Paisley,” Mr. Wilson observes, “ had led them to introduce many beautiful varieties in the patterns of lawns and silk gauzes, but the use of muslin being introduced, and daity gaining ground among all ranks, the elegant lawns and silk gauzes of Paisley being no longer in demand, the manufacture of these was gradually dropt. It was necessary that new and varied fabrics should be brought forward to meet the change of fashion. The skill of the weavers in Paisley was consequently directed to this object, and productions from their looms were soon exhibited, which surpassed the muslins of any other part of the Kingdom. Their early habits enabled them easily to invent varieties of patterns of fancy muslins, and they found it equally easy to alter and improve them. The transition from ornamental thin gauzes to cotton goods of a light and elegant texture, was to them so simple and natural that in no other manufacturing town were fine muslins and richly finished articles of dress produced in the same perfection. Their ingenuity as workmen is still unrivalled, and their superiority is generally acknowledged ; and what was said of Bolton in Lancashire in the year 1793 may be at present [1811] strictly applied to Paisley : ‘ It is the centre of the manufacture of ornamental or fancy goods, and it is only by emigrants from this place that any branches of this trade have been transplanted elsewhere. The most ingenious part of the workmanship remains rooted as it were to the soil, and flourishes even amid present discouragements.’ ” At the same time, this industry was being carried on in Glasgow, and from a statement made by Mr. Wilson, it appears that the most skilful workmen there were natives of Paisley. The number of looms employed in the manufacture in the town of Paisley and in its environments was about 5,000, and the number in use in the whole of the county about 7,000.

The shawl trade of Paisley dates from the beginning of the nineteenth century. Singularly enough, this industry was one of the results of Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt. Officers in both of the European armies there sent specimens of the Turkish and Indian shawls which were then in use in Egypt, and attempts were soon after made iu Paisley and in Edinburgh to imitate them. John Kennedy, formerly a teacher in the town of Paisley, used to assert that the first to engage in the business was his father, to whom, he said, the nobility and gentry of the neighbourhood used to send the shawls they received from the East to be imitated. In Edinburgh the trade fell almost entirely into the hands of members of the Society of Friends, whose workmen, however, were chiefly from Paisley.

The first shawls imitated in Paisley were from Egypt and the Levant. The prevailing figure upon them was “ a perverse looking, wry-necked sprig, in one colour—generally green—or made up of little bars of various colours, like so many chips of pointed wood built into the required shapeless form. The sprigs, placed at regular distances, filled the centre of the shawl, which was sometimes bordered and sometimes not.”

Another kind of shawl imitated at this early period of the industry in Paisley was the “ damask shawl,” so named probably from being made in the ancient city of Damascus. As first made in Paisley it was somewhat expensive. The material was for the most part rich trane silk, for which, at a later period, cotton was substituted.

The “ red silk shawl ” was also made at this period. Though called the “red silk shawl,” the ground of it was often yellow or white. Generally, however, it was red. It was always of solid silk, and almost invariably figured with black.

These shawls were made between 1800 and 1820. Trade in them was briskest at the end of the great war in 1815. Thereafter the trade declined, and when a revival came another class of goods took the market.

Shawls brought from Delhi were also imitated, and were known as “ Delhi shawls.” Made of silk or cashmere wool, they were figured with floss silk, and in some cases with gold and silver thread. The figures were of different sizes, and of every variety of bright colours.

It was in these Delhi shawls that the pine figure was first introduced. But “ what is called the pine in Indian patterns is not an imitation of the rich fruit known by that name, nor of the kind of fir so called; nor is it merely an ideal figure, for it bears a close resemblance to a kind of gourd or pitcher plant indigenous to some parts of India. Its general form is that of an elegantly proportioned vase tapering off at the neck into a gracefully curved beak or proboscis.”1 This figure became a leading feature of shawl patterns, and reigned so paramount over all other figures, that though many attempts were made to supersede it, they invariably failed. Though modified in various ways, it held its own.

What were known as Angola and Chenile shawls were also made. About 1827, various styles and modifications of the harness shawl were introduced ; so also were the Zebra and Canton crape shawls. In 1838, the harness figured shawls were superseded for a time by a class of shawls on which conventional representations of natural flowers, chiefly the rose and corn poppy, were embroidered. This was about the last attempt to set aside Indian styles in shawl patterns.

The “ Paisley shawl ” continued to be made till after the middle of the nineteenth century. Since then it has gone entirely out of fashion in this country, and the manufacture of it in Paisley has entirely ceased. Other shawls continued to be made, such as woollen shawls, bandana or shoulder shawls, and travelling plaids, and some are still made, but the trade in them is not great.

Between the years 1750 and 1850, the town of Paisley grew and its trade increased. The prosperity of the town, however, was not uninterrupted. There were times when, owing chiefly to the wars on the Continent, trade was greatly depressed and many of the inhabitants of the burgh had to endure great privations.

The harvests of 1799 and 1800 were bad, food became scarce, and though every effort was made to import foreign grain, many of the people were reduced to a state of great destitution. From 1817 to 1822, the trade of the town was in a very fluctuating and precarious condition. The years 1823 and 1824 were years of prosperity ; but the three following years were calamitous not only in Paisley, but also throughout the shire and country. In July, 1827, no fewer than 15,000 persons in Paisley and its neighbourhood were receiving aid from funds raised in almost all parts of the kingdom. The money thus spent is said to have amounted to upwards of 13,000, of which 3,700 was received from the London Manufacturing Committee. In the years 1829, 1831, the weaving trade was specially depressed, and still more in 1837, when 850 weavers, 60 dyers, and many drawboys, winders and others were without employment. The sum of 12,081 was raised by public subscription and spent in relieving them. But worst of all was the condition of industry in 1841-42-43. The sufferings of the operatives during these years is described as dreadful. So great was the depression of trade at this time that out of 112 firms solvent and doing business in July, 1841, 67 failed, and 20 out of 40 individuals described as merchants became insolvent. The liabilities of the firms that went down amounted to upwards of 750,000. The sympathy of the whole country was aroused on behalf of the suffering population, and a sum of no less than 47,187 was raised for the relief of the town. Another period of depression followed in 1847, when 7,000 people were thrown out of employment, and had to depend for food and life upon the generosity of their friends.

The second half of the nineteenth century has been to Paisley a period of prosperity unexampled in its own history, and rarely exceeded on this side of the Atlantic. This has been due for the most part to the development of the cotton thread industry. This industry was introduced into the burgh about the beginning of the nineteenth century, but little came of it until the founding of the two great firms of Messrs. J. & P. Coats and Messrs. Clark & Co. Since then, owing to the enterprise of these firms and largely to the invention of the sewing machine, the industry has assumed immense proportions. In Paisley the entire industry was for some time in the hands of the two firms mentioned. During the last decade of the nineteenth century they were converted into limited liability companies, the Messrs. J. & P. Coats, as the vendors, receiving for their own property and business the sum of 5,750,000. That was in 1890. Since then the two firms have been amalgamated, and the value of the business has been largely increased. Messrs. Coats, Limited, have large interests in the same industry in America and on the continent of Europe. At the time of writing remunerative work is given to about 10,000 men, women and children, whose power of production, owing to improvements in machinery, is now from three to four times greater than it was some forty years ago.

The other industries of the town are engineering, shipbuilding, the manufacture of starch, corn-flour, soap, tobacco, carpets, paper and muslin, cloth finishing, dyeing, laundry work, distillation of wood, iron and brass founding, and sanitary engineering.

The population of the burgh of Paisley, which in 1801 was 24,324, is given by the census of 1901 at 79,355.

Greenock was erected into a burgh of barony by a charter granted to John Shaw of Greenock by Charles I. in 1635. This charter was ratified by Parliament, November 17, 1641, and in 1670, Charles II. granted a charter Novodamus in favour of Sir John Shaw of Greenock, creating of new the estate of Greenock into a free barony, and declaring the town of Greenock the burgh of the barony. By this charter, full powers were conferred upon Sir John Shaw to choose bailies, clerks, serjeants, and other officers.

Reporting on the place in 1656, Tucker compares it with Newark and says : “ Greenocke [is] such another, onely the inhabitants more ; but all seamen or fishermen trading for Ireland or the Isles in open boates; at which place there is a mole or peere, where vessells in streese of weather may ride, and shelter themselves before they passe up to Newark.”

At the beginning of the eighteenth century Greenock had a population of about 1,000, and a harbour fit only for the reception of fishing boats. Its principal industry at the time was the herring fishing. Before the Union it had some trade with the Baltic, where the herrings of the Clyde were exchanged for timber, and also with France and Spain and other parts of Europe.

The Union of 1707 gave a great impetus to the trade of Greenock, and may be said to have laid the foundation of its prosperity. As if anticipating the Union and the new fields of commerce thereby to be opened to them, the people of Greenock, in 1700, petitioned the Parliament of Scotland for assistance to build a harbour, but for some reason their prayer was not granted. In the year of the Union the people took the matter into their own hands, and voluntarily assessing themselves, spent 5,600 on their new harbour. The trade then greatly increased, a custom house was established in 1714 as a member of Port-Glasgow, and, in 1740, after paying off the debt upon the harbour, a surplus of 1,500 remained. Application was soon after made to Parliament for powers to erect a harbour on a more extensive scale, and in 1751 an Act was obtained granting to certain trustees, for the term of thirty-one years, a duty of twopence Scots on each pint of ale brewed or sold in the town, to be applied to deepening and repairing the harbour, and to building a new church, Town House, market, etc. Fresh Acts were obtained in connection with the harbour in 1773, 1783, 1789, 1801, 1803, and 1810. Since then other Acts have been obtained for similar purposes.

After the Union the town still continued the herring fishing industry, and in 1791-92 exported some 45,000 barrels, Port-Glasgow during the same year exporting about 9,000, the industry declining there as it increased at Greenock. During the eighteenth century Greenock engaged in the whale fishery. It was first attempted in 1752, when several ships were sent to Greenland. For a time no more ships were sent, but in 1786 the attempt was renewed, and five vessels were despatched. The ventures appear to have been unsuccessful. A ship belonging to Port-Glasgow persevered till 1794 and then ceased. Two ships were sent from Greenock in 1811 ; but the business was gradually left to the whalers sailing from the east coast.

The trade to which the merchants of Greenock chiefly devoted themselves after the Union, was that with America and the West Indies. Goods were sent across to the Colonies, and the ships returned laden chiefly with tobacco. Greenock had then no ships of her own, and those which were employed were English.

For many years the merchants of the Clyde trading to the American Colonies had to contend with the merchants of London, Bristol, Liverpool and Whitehaven, who did all they could to frustrate their endeavours to obtain a share of the American trade; but in 1735, the Clyde merchants, after many discouragements, found their Colonial trade reviving, though slowly. From 1750 to the outbreak of the American War of Independence, it increased year by year. In 1775, Glasgow and Greenock imported 57,143 hogsheads of tobacco from Virginia, Maryland, and Carolina. After the declaration of Independence by the American Colonies of Great Britain, the merchants of Greenock continued to trade with the West Indies, extended their connections with the continent of Europe, and developed their coasting trade.

During the second half of the eighteenth century, their principal imports were : rum, cotton, sugar, coffee, and dye-woods from the West Indies ; rice, potash, cotton, tobacco and naval stores from the American Colonies ; wines and fruit from Spain, Portugal and the Mediterranean; besides large quantities of wheat from Ireland and Canada.

The exports at the same period were manufactured goods from Glasgow and Paisley; coals and fish to America and the West Indies; sugar, coffee, rum, and other West Indian produce to the continent of Europe. A coasting trade was carried on with the west coasts of England and of Scotland, and with Ireland, and by means of the Clyde and Forth Canal with the east coasts of Scotland and of England, as far south as London. In 1725, a ropework was laid out in Greenock, and, not long after, a factory was erected for the making of sail-cloth. Nets for the herring fishing were also extensively made. A ropework in Gourock, begun in 1772, gave employment, in 1792, to forty-nine people. Ropes and sail-cloth were also made at Port-Glasgow, where there was also a large flax mill. Sugar refining was carried on both at Greenock and at Port-Glasgow. Establishments for cooperage were necessary in consequence of the extensive herring fishery. According to Wilson, “before the American war, all the large vessels belonging to the Clyde were built in America, but, since the peace of 1783, shipbuilding has been carried on with much success in the ports of the Clyde.” Wilson wrote in 1811. His statement is somewhat startling, and, in the light of what is going on now, almost amusing. The remaining sentences of his paragraph are worth quoting, if only to suggest a contrast with the present. “At Port-Glasgow,” he continues, “there are three ship-builders’ yards well stocked with timber, where vessels are built of considerable burthen and of good structure. And at Greenock this important business has, for a considerable time, been most ably conducted, and a suitable capital employed. The largest merchant vessel ever built in Scotland was launched there in 1792. She belonged to a company in that town, who had a contract with Government, for supplying the royal navy with masts from Nova Scotia.”

For the privilege of participating with the royal burghs in foreign trade, Greenock was, in 1835, paying annually the sum of 72, as its share of the cess, but with right of relief against the towns of Paisley and Crawfordsdyke, jointly, for 12 of this sum. These payments, to which all burghs of barony doing any foreign trade were formerly subject, were abolished by the Act of Parliament for the reform of the municipal corporations in Scotland consequent upon the report of the Royal Commission upon them, of 1835.

With the exception of Paisley, no burgh in this shire has participated so largely in the commercial and industrial progress which has characterised the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1801, the population of Greenock was 17,458 ; in 1901, it was 67,645. It still sends out boats to the herring fishing, but its trade and commerce have wonderfully increased. Its chief industry is shipbuilding. It has also large engineering works, engaged in making engines of all kinds, boilers, and tools. The sugar refining industry, which for a time, owing to the prevalence of the bounty system on the Continent, was greatly depressed had almost ceased, is now slowly reviving. The commerce of its port extends to most parts of the world. The port is also one of the chief centres of the summer passenger traffic on the Clyde.

Now forming part of Greenock is the ancient barony of Cartsburn, Carse-burn, or Easter Greenock, as it is indifferently called, with its burgh of barony of Crawfordsdyke, or Cartsdyke. The lands of Cartsburn belonged originally to the Crawfords of Kilbirnie, in Ayrshire, by whom they were acquired in the time of Queen Mary. In the early part of the seventeenth century they pertained to John Crawford of Kilbirnie, who was distinguished for his loyalty to Charles I., by whom he was made a baronet in 1641. He died in 1661, and left issue by his second wife, Magdalen, daughter of Lord Carnegie, Anne, married to Sir Archibald Stewart of Blackhall, the first baronet, and Margaret, wife of Patrick Lindsay, second son of John Earl of Crawford. The lands were settled by deed of entail on Margaret, the second daughter, and the heirs male of her body, In 1669, Margaret Crawford, with the consent of her husband, sold the lands of Carseburn, or Easter Greenock, or Grenok-Crawford, to the first Sir John Shaw, proprietor of Wester Greenock, or Grenok-Shaw, to whom, in 1670, a Crown charter was granted, containing a clause by which Easter and Wester Greenock were united into one barony, to be called the burgh of barony of Greenock.

The date at which Crawfordsdyke, or Cartsdyke, was erected into a burgh of barony is uncertain, but there is good reason for believing that it was 1641. the year in which Parliament ratified the Charter of Erection granted by Charles I. to John Shaw and Helen Houston, which, as the Act states, was dated at Greenock, June 5, 1635.

The earliest account we have of Cartsburn is Hamilton of Wishaw’s, who wrote in 1710. “The town,” he writes, “is mostly sub-feued to merchants, seamen, or loading-men, who have built very good houses in it, and it is a very thriving place.” “Cartsdyke,” he says, “hath a very convenient harbour.” Of the merchants of Cartsdyke, or Crawfordsdyke, we have heard before. They were complained of by the burgesses of Dumbarton to the Convention of the Royal Burghs for an infringement of the rights of the royal burghs in connection with trade. In 1712, the population of the place is said to have fallen short of 200. Among them were eight merchants, seventeen skippers, twenty-eight sailors, one mathematician, and one bookseller. The mathematician was Thomas Watt; the bookseller was named William M‘Ure, and is supposed to have been an ancestor of John M'Ure, the historian of Glasgow. In 1741, the population is given at 719 souls. A charter in connection with the feuing of the burgh lands, of date July 28, 1677, is made out in favour of James Sprewl in Arthurlie, who was one of the Sprewls of Cowdon, and related to John Sprewl, the town clerk of Glasgow, to James Sprewl, the apothecary, of Paisley, and to John Sprewl, commonly known as Bass John. The chief industry of the burgh appears to have been at first the herring fishery. After its union with Greenock, Cartsburn shared in the prosperity of the older burgh.

Two miles west from Greenock stands the town of Gourock upon the bay of Gourock, and in the ancient barony of Finnart-Stewart. Originally, the lands of Finnart-Stewart belonged to the Earl of Douglas. In the reign of King James II. they were forfeited and given to Sir Archibald Stewart of Castlemilk, who received a Crown charter erecting Gourock into a burgh of barony, with the privilege of holding a weekly market upon the Tuesday. Stewart was descended from William Stewart, a younger son of Sir John Stewart of Darnley, in the reign of Robert II. John Stewart of Castlemilk, his son, who lived in the reign of Robert III., witnessed the resignation which William Urrie made of the lands of Fulton to the monks of Paisley, January 9, 1409. He was killed at the battle of Verneuil in France, 1424. His successor was the Sir Archibald mentioned above. To him succeeded Alexander Stewart of Castlemilk, who is retoured in his lands in 1500. To him succeeded Archibald, his son, who resigned the lauds of Finnart in favour of his son, Archibald, in 1528. This last Archibald was the father of David Stewart of Castlemilk, and was contemporary with Queen Mary. He was succeeded by his son, Archibald, who, by Janet his wife, daughter of Stewart of Minto, had Sir Archibald, his son and heir, who married Ann, daughter of Robert Lord Semple, by whom he had two sons, Sir Archibald and James, from the latter of whom descended the Stewarts of Torrence. Sir Archibald married a daughter of John Earl of Wigton, and had issue Archibald, who succeeded his grandfather, and was made a baronet by Charles II., the last day of February, 1668. He was succeeded by Sir William, his son and heir, who married Margaret, daughter and sole heiress of John Crawford of Miltoun, whose grandfather, James Crawford, was a younger son of Patrick Crawford of Cartsburn.

Hamilton of Wishaw, writing in 1710, describes Gourock as “a thriving little town upon the shore,” with “a very fine and secure harbour for vessels.” A century later Robertson, the editor of Crawford, wrote: “ This town is pleasantly situated ... on the west side of the beautiful bay of the same name. The number of inhabitants is about 750, of whom a great proportion are herring and white fishers, there being about 40 small wherries or sloops here manned by three or four men each. There is also a ropework on a pretty large establishment, which employs 50 or 60 people; and about 25 or 30 men are employed in quarrying whinstone for street-paving, which is in great demand, not only in the neighbouring towns of Greenock and Glasgow, but is exported in considerable quantities (by way of ballast) to Liverpool, and even to America. The rest of the people are in the ordinary line of craftsmen, carpenters, smiths, etc.

“The bay of Gourock is esteemed to be among the best anchoring grounds in the Firth, and is much resorted to by shipping of all sizes, as there is neither bank nor shoal to obstruct the way. The place is much frequented in the bathing season by people from Glasgow, Paisley, and other towns, and more so lately, from the easy conveyance by steam boats.”

The town has now a large residential population. The number, according to the census of 1901, was 5,244. In 1900, the valuation of the burgh was 40,217, and in 1905, 46,162. The place is still a favourite summer resort. In the bay a large fleet of yachts, belonging to private owners, finds anchorage during the winter months. Some years ago Gourock was placed in direct communication with Glasgow by an extension of the Caledonian Railway. This has given a great impetus to the growth of the permanent population, as well as of its summer visitors.

Further west from Greenock is the old burgh of barony of Inverkip, and still further the modern village of Wemyss Bay, which has sprung up during the nineteenth century.

Port-Glasgow owes its existence to the increasing trade of Glasgow in the second half of the seventeenth century, and to the want of a deep waterway up to that city. In January, 1668, the magistrates of Glasgow purchased about twenty-two acres of land adjacent to the burgh of Newark. Afterwards they obtained from the Crown a charter of confirmation, erecting the lands and harbour, which was authorized to be constructed, into a free port.^ Power was also given to appoint bailies, clerks, and other officers, and to exercise jurisdiction, civil and criminal, competent to a baron, to build a prison, and to levy customs, tolls, and anchorage dues. This charter was ratified by Parliament in 1669. A custom house was established at the new port as early as the year 1694. After the Union, the burgh rapidly increased in size and importance, and extended itself to the adjacent burgh of Newark, which belonged to Mr. Hamilton of Wishaw. In 1774, a contract was entered into between the Magistrates and Town Council of Glasgow on the one hand, and the feuars of Port-Glasgow and Newark on the other, by which the magistrates of Glasgow made over to the feuars (l) the beer and ale duty of two pennies Scots,^or one-sixth of a penny sterling, levied in the town of Port-Glasgow by virtue of former Acts of Parliament in favour of Glasgow, (2) the anchorage or shore dues of the harbour of Port-Glasgow, (3) the use of the prison and court-house, which reverted to the granters in 1815, when a new prison and court-house were built, and (4) a piece of ground for a market-place and slaughter-house. The feuars, on the other hand, bound themselves to relieve the magistrates of Glasgow of the minister’s stipend, the other ecclesiastical burdens, the schoolmaster’s salary, and certain other payments. It was also provided and agreed to by Mr. Hamilton of Wishaw that Port-Glasgow and Newark should be governed by a magistracy and council, one of whom, viz., the chief or senior magistrate, should be elected by the Magistrates and Town Council of Glasgow. The feuars were also bound to pave, clean, and light the two burghs, and to bring water to them, to defray the expenses of all which they were to levy a town tax of 2 per cent, on the rental of all occupied buildings, with the exception of those belonging to the city of Glasgow. In 1775, an Act of Parliament was obtained to give effect to this contract. A further Act^was obtained in 1803, by which the powers of the Act of 1775 were extended.

The burgh of Newark is described by Tucker as “ a small place, where there are (besides the laird’s house of the place) some foure or five houses, but before them a pretty good roade, where all vessells doe ride, unlade, and send theyr goods up the river to Glasgowe in small boates ; and at this place there is a way ter constantly attending.”

Writing forty years after the foundation of Port-Glasgow, Mr. Hamilton of Wishaw says : “ Not long ago, the town of Glasgow purchased from the Laird of Newark [Sir Patrick Maxwell of Newark] some few acres of ground upon the bay of Newark, where they have built ane very fine harbour and some very good houses, both for dwellings and salearadges [cellarages] and warehouses, so as it is now the only place to which all vessels tradeing to Glasgow comes. And it is now called New Glasgow, and is a place of much trade and resort, especially when the herring fishing falls to be in Clyde, for the river at this place is fyve or six miles broad. This place is so increased with people that they have now built ane church there.”

The commerce of the town is described by Mr. Wilson in 1811 as similar to that of Greenock, but less extensive. In 1792, it had 125 vessels, partly owned in Glasgow and partly in Port-Glasgow, engaged in its trade, with a tonnage of 12,760. Of these, 91 vessels, with a tonnage of 11,273, were employed in foreign trade, chiefly with America. Eighteen vessels were engaged in the coasting trade, and 16 in the herring fishery. In 1811, 176 vessels, with a tonnage of 31,159, and giving employment to 2,045 seamen, were engaged in the inward foreign trade of the port; and in the outward, 188 vessels of 30,800 tons burden, and 2,204 men. By this time the coasting trade had begun to fall off, owing to the deepening of the waterway up to Glasgow. There were large warehouses in the town for West India produce, and along the shore, as now, large ponds for the reception of timber. Between 1800 and 1810, the Magistrates and Town Council of Glasgow spent 15,000 in deepening and cleaning the harbour, and in extending the quays. The tonnage dues were the same as at Greenock, except that vessels engaged in the Irish and coasting trade paid one penny per ton less than at Greenock. The first dry or graving dock in Scotland was built here in 1760 by the Magistrates of Glasgow, and was subsequently sold by them to the Magistrates and Town Council of Port-Glasgow. The town is now largely engaged in shipbuilding and in the timber trade, and has large engineering works. In 1801, the population was 3,865 ; in 1901, 16,840.

Pollokshaws, in the parish of Eastwood, was erected into a burgh of barony by a charter from the Crown, dated January 5, 1813. The charter conveys generally “ All powers, liberties, privileges, and jurisdictions pertaining and belonging, or which ought to pertain to and belong, to any free and independent burgh of barony which may have been erected in Scotland since the date of the Act of Parliament made in the twentieth year of His Majesty George the Second intituled ‘ An Act for taking away and abolishing the Heritable Jurisdictions.’” The magistracy was to consist of a provost, bailie, treasurer and six councillors, three being a quorum.

Writing, in 1818, Robertson, Crawford’s editor, describes the place as one of the largest villages in the county. Its population in 1811, he says, was 3,048, and at the time he was writing, he supposed it to be not less than 3,500. “It is cheerfully situated,” he adds, “by the Water of Cart, which also affords great facility to various branches of manufacture, which are carried on here with great activity and ingenuity, such as bleaching, dyeing, tanning, etc. The greatest source of employment, however, is the cotton manufacture. Much work is also done by the aid of steam machinery, even the weaving of cloth. From 200 to 300 looms are put in motion by one engine alone.”

Since Robertson’s day the burgh has very largely increased. Though it still retains its autonomy, it is practically a suburb or part of Glasgow. It has a large residential as well as a large working class population. Among the industries carried on in the burgh are cotton weaving, paper making, manufacture of pottery, boilers, engines, muslins of the finer sorts, and bleaching.

The population in 1901 was 11,178. Its yearly value in 1900 was 39,097 9s., and in 1905, 46,642 11s.

Eaglesham was erected into a burgh of barony in 1672. Other burghs of barony enumerated in the county are Mearns, Kilbarchan, Houston, Kilmacolm, and Inverkip. Of the dates of their erection nothing appears to be known. In 1692 most of them are described, along with Paisley, Newark, Carsdyke, Greenock and Gourock, as in a flourishing condition, and as having a considerable retail trade, “ much more, considerable ” than the royal burgh of Renfrew. The privileges which all these places must have had in virtue of their charters of erection have long fallen into desuetude ; even the fairs have ceased to be held. None of them is reported on by the Commissioners of 1835. Kilmacolm, however, has since grown into a populous place, and Kilbarchan is rapidly following in its steps.

Johnstone, in the Paisley Abbey parish, and Barrhead, partly in the same parish and partly in the parish of Neilston, two villages in the early part of the nineteenth century, are now considerable towns. At both are large works for the manufacture of tools and engines. At Barrhead are also chemical and sanitary engineering works. In 1835, Johnstone had a population of nearly 6,000 inhabitants. At the last census (1901) its population was 10,502. Its rental value in 1900 was 36,518 12s. 11d., and in 1905, 42,229 5s. 9d. The population of Barrhead in 1891 was 7,359, and in 1901, 9,257. The annual rental value of the burgh in 1900 was—in Neilston parish, 26,008 18s. 11d., and in 1905, 32,599 6s. id. ; in the Abbey (Paisley) parish in 1900, it was 2,971 17s. 6d., and in 1905, 3,917 10s. 6d.


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