Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Abbey

Abbey, a parish of NE Renfrewshire, including part of the town of Paisley while completely surrounding the burgh parishes, and itself called sometimes Abbey Paisley. It also contains the town of Johnstone, the Dovecothall portion of Barrhead, and the villages of Elderslie, Thorn, Quarrelton, Inkerman, Hurlet, and Nitshill. It is bounded N by Renfrew parish, NE by Govan in Lanarkshire, E by Eastwood, SE and S by Neilston, W by Lochwinnoch, and NW by Kilbarchan. Very irregular in outline, it has an extreme length from E to W of 7½ miles: its width varies between 3 and 4¾ miles: and its area is 16,179 acres, of which 2¾ are foreshore and 252½ water. The White Cart winds about 5 miles westward, partly along the eastward boundary, and partly through the interior, to Paisley, thence striking 1½ mile northward into Renfrew parish on its way to the Clyde: at Crookston it is joined by the Levern, which from Barrhead traces much of the south-eastern and eastern border. The whole of the north-western border, from Milliken Park to Blackstone House, a distance of 4¾ miles, is marked by the Black Cart: and all three streams are fed by several burns. NW of Paisley is a mineral spring: and to the SW are the Stanely and Rowbank reservoirs, large artificial sheets of water. The northern part of the parish is almost a perfect level, consisting chiefly of reclaimed moss, and near Boghead being only 13 feet above the sea: but southward one passes through ' a rough and undulating country, with masses of grey crag interspersed with whinny knolls,' to Stanely Moor and the Braes of Gleniffer-the scene of Tannahill's songs,-whose highest point within the Abbey bounds is Sergeantlaw (749 feet). Lesser elevations, from N to S, are Mosspark (159 feet), Carriagehill (147), Dikebarhill (168), Windyhill (312), Bent (637), and Hartfield (723). The soil on the arable lands has great diversity of character, being in some places a vegetable mould derived from moss: in others, especially along the streams, a rich alluvial loam. Generally, however, it is shallow, either clayey or sandy, and overlying a substratum of gravel or till, which, naturally retentive of moisture, has been greatly improved by art. The rocks of these low tracts belong to the Carboniferous Limestone series: those of the hills are various kinds of trap. In 1879, 8 collieries and 6 ironstone mines were in operation: and greenstone, sandstone, limestone, aluminous schist, fireclay, and potter's-clay are also extensively worked. The chief antiquity is Crookston Castle, and other ruins are Stanely Castle, Stewarts Raiss Tower, and Blackhall House. Hawkhead (Earl of Glasgow) and Cardonald are ancient mansions; while Johnstone Castle, Ferguslie, Househill, Ralston, Barshaw, and Egypt Park are all of modern erection. Twentythree proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 82 of between £100 and £500, 135 of between £50 and £100, and 263 of between £20 and £50. This parish is in the presbytery of Paisley and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and it contains the quoad sacra parishes of Elderslie and Johnstone, with almost the whole of Levern. The charge since 1641 has been collegiate: and there are two ministers, the first of whom has an income of £621, and the second of £512. The parish church is that of the ancient abbey, described under Paisley, where, as also under Elderslie, Johnstone, and Barrhead, other places of worship of various denominations will be noticed. The landward schoolboard consists of 9 members: and 9 schools under it, with total accommodation for 2294 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 1558, and grants amounting to £1394, 3s. 6d. Abbey parish has its own poor-law administration, and possesses a poorhouse and a lunatic asylum for itself, with respective accommodation for 555 and 98 inmates. It is traversed by reaches of the Caledonian and of the Glasgow and South-Western railway, and by the Johnstone and Glasgow Canal. Valuation of lands and heritages (1881) £79,885, 12s. 6d. Pop. of quoad sacra parish (1871) 17,489: of landward district, 11,988. Pop. of civil parish (1801) 14,153, (1861) 29,687, (1871) 30,587, (1881) 34,392, of whom 17,470 were within the burgh.—Ord. Sur., sh. 30, 1866.

(F.H. Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4); © 2004 Gazetteer for Scotland)

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 4th order divisions")
Administrative units: Abbey ScoP       Renfrewshire ScoCnty
Place: Abbey

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