«Conservation Plan Simpson & Brown Architects with Addyman Archaeology August 2010 Front cover: View into the cloisters from the west. Photograph ...»
THE PLACE OF PAISLEY, PAISLEY ABBEY
Abbey Close, Paisley
Simpson & Brown Architects
with Addyman Archaeology
Front cover: View into the cloisters from the west. Photograph taken March 2010 Simpson & Brown
1.0 Executive Summary 3
2.0 Introduction 6
2.1 Objectives of a Conservation Plan 6
2.2 Study Area 6
2.3 Designations 7
2.4 Structure of the Report 8
2.5 Limitations 8
2.6 Project Team 8
2.7 Acknowledgements 8
2.8 Abbreviations 9
3.0 Historical Development of the Place of Paisley 11
3.1 Introduction 11
3.2 Paisley Abbey 1163-1560 15
3.3 Phase 1 Creation of the Place by the Hamiltons 1580s-1652 20
3.4 Phase 2 Remodelling by the Cochranes, Late 17th century 29
3.5 Phase 3 Alterations and Decline in Status, 1770s 45
3.6 Phase 4 Demolition of West Range, and Alterations, 1874-1904 53
3.7 Phase 5 Restoration and Alterations 1904-1956 67
3.8 Phase 6 Alterations, 1958-64 81
3.9 Phase 7 Minor Alterations, 1970s-1980s 85
3.10 Summary Chronology 88
3.11 Place of Paisley in 2010 91
4.0 Assessment of Significance 94
4.1 Introduction 94
4.2 Historical Significance 94
4.3 Architectural, Aesthetic and Artistic Significance 95
4.4 Social and Spiritual Significance 96
4.5 Archaeological Significance 96
5.0 Summary Statement of Significance 97
6.0 Grading of Significance 98
6.1 Introduction 98
6.2 Graded Elements 98
7.0 Conservation Issues & Policies 104
7.1 Introduction 104
7.2 Base Policies
2 The Place of Paisley, Paisley Abbey –Conservation Plan
1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Place of Paisley is of outstanding importance, both at a national and at a local level. The building is at the heart of the town of Paisley, inextricably linked to the history of its most important building, Paisley Abbey. The building is held in great local affection, and the restoration phases of the Abbey and the Place have been frequently funded by local efforts since the programme of restoration began in the 19th century. The Place is built on and embodies the arrangement of the cloister laid out by the monks of the Abbey in the 12th century, occupying the site of its south range and the southern part of its east side. The claustral arrangement survived overall until the demolition of the range bounding its west side in 1874. Since that time the fully enclosed cloister arrangement has been lost, being open to the street, Abbey Close to the west. Following further demolitions in the later 19th and 20th centuries the abbey complex is now isolated within the townscape of Paisley, surrounded by open parkland and managed motor and pedestrian traffic routes.
The north side of the cloister walk was recreated in the early 20th century, and once again functions as an integral part of the Abbey, permitting covered access to the abbey church and to the shop and café. The opportunity to expand and improve both visitor and congregation facilities by rebuilding on the site of the demolished west range and the west side of the cloister has been recognised.
This report sets out what is important about the existing south and east ranges of the Place in the context of the Abbey site, and seeks to explain the importance of the demolished west range and establish the potential archaeological importance of the site.
Figure 6 West tower with cloister beyond Figure 7 West elevation 2010
The Place of Paisley, Paisley Abbey –Conservation Plan 5
2.1 Objectives of a Conservation Plan This conservation plan has been commissioned by Paisley Abbey Kirk Session to inform the future conservation, repair, use, management and alteration of the Place of Paisley.
The aim of this report is to inform future proposals for conservation, repair work and alterations to the building. This conservation plan has been prepared as an appraisal of the heritage value of the building and provides an examination of key conservation-related issues and guidelines regarding the site.
The conservation plan assesses and sets out in summary what is important about the Place of Paisley, based upon readily available information. The information gathered is then considered in an assessment of cultural significance, for the site as a whole and for its various parts, to be summarised in this report with a summary statement of significance.
The purpose of establishing the importance of the site is to identify and assess the attributes which make a place of value to our society. Once the heritage significance of the building is understood, informed policy decisions can be made which will enable that significance to be retained, revealed, enhanced or, at least, impaired as little as possible in any future decisions for the site. A clear understanding of the nature and degree of the significance of the building will not simply suggest constraints on future action, but it will introduce flexibility by identifying the areas which can be adapted or developed with greater freedom. It will, identify potential opportunities within the site.
From all of this information, it will be possible to establish a set of policies, or guidelines that will inform the future conservation, repair, management and use of the building according to best conservation practice.
2.2 Study Area The Place of Paisley is located on Abbey Close, immediately adjacent to, and adjoining Paisley Abbey. It is grouped around the south and east sides of an open cloister and adjoins the St Mirin’s Aisle, or south transept, of the Abbey. Although the principal entrance is on the west elevation to Abbey Close, the functional entrance to the public areas on the ground floor is from the cloister, and the principal elevation is to the south, overlooking Cotton Street.
A considerable amount of development and redevelopment has taken place in the vicinity of the church, particularly during the 19th and early 20th century, with largescale redevelopment and clearance of the area.
Apart from the Place of Paisley and the Abbey itself, the study area is dominated by the 1882 George A Clark Town Hall to the north-west and the large Modernist headquarters of Renfrewshire Council to the south-east.
The study area is shown on Figure 2.
Figure 14 Study area highlighted in pink. Google earth, ed Simpson & Brown.
2.3 Designations The Place of Paisley is a Category A listed building.
The site is not recognised as a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM), nor is it located in the immediate vicinity of a SAM.
The Place of Paisley is within the Paisley Town Centre Conservation Area.
The Place of Paisley, Paisley Abbey –Conservation Plan 7
2.4 Structure of the Report This conservation plan follows the guidelines set out in the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Conservation Management Planning (April 2008) document, (which supersedes the Heritage Lottery Fund Conservation Management Plans Checklist, Conservation Management Plans Model Brief and Conservation Management Plans: Helping your application (2004)); Historic Scotland’s document Conservation Plans: A Guide to the Preparation of Conservation Plans; The Conservation Plan 5th Ed. (The National Trust of Australia, 2000) by James Semple Kerr; and The Illustrated Burra Charter: good practice for heritage places (Australia ICOMOS, 2004) by M Walker and P Marquis-Kyle.
Reference is also made to the British Standard BS 7913 – Guide to the principles of the conservation of historic buildings (1998).
2.5 Limitations Basic historical research has been carried out for this conservation plan, using readily available sources. It is likely that further research, particularly in the uncatalogued archive of Paisley Abbey would reveal more about the history of the building. It has not been possible to consult the archive of Paisley Museum during the time available for this report. The catalogue of the Abercorn papers in the Northern Ireland Archives has been consulted however further research in the archive has not been possible.
Considerable use has been made of the information collected in Paul McWilliams’ PhD Thesis ‘Paisley Abbey’ 1995. This included references from the Heritors Records of Paisley Abbey which are kept in the National Archives of Scotland, which have not been directly consulted for this report.
This conservation plan has been completed within a limited time period. It is possible that further information will become available after the completion of this report. Any new information should be acknowledged by the stakeholders and incorporated into future revisions of the conservation plan.
2.6 Project Team The study team from Simpson & Brown comprised John Sanders, Tom Parnell, Cath Richards and Tom Addyman.
2.7 Acknowledgements Simpson & Brown gratefully acknowledges the assistance provided by the following persons, archives and organisations during the completion of this report (in
Hugh McBrien, archaeologist, WoSAS Margaret Neil, architect Robert Will, archaeologist, GUARD Steve Clancy, archaeologist, Paisley
Figure 17 Plan of second floor, as existing 2010. S&B 10 The Place of Paisley, Paisley Abbey –Conservation Plan
3.0 HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE PLACE OF PAISLEY
3.1 Introduction The Place of Paisley is a complex building. For this report, the development of the building has been grouped into seven phases, beginning with the late 16th century creation of the Place as a nobleman’s house. The fabric surviving from these phases is illustrated by coloured phase plans and elevations.
The phase plans show when the building was altered, however individual stones are in many cases much older, as much of the masonry used by the builders up to the 19th century has been salvaged from other parts of the monastic site.
Figure 18 Phase plan showing analysis of existing buildings including Paisley Abbey S&B
Evidence The earliest detailed information found for this report dates from 1691. Ironically, the most detailed historical information about the Place relates to the now demolished west range. It is possible that further research into surviving family papers of the Earls of Abercorn and the Earls of Dundonald may reveal more. A great deal of information about the historical development of the Place is contained within the existing fabric, and an analysis of this has been used, in conjunction with historical evidence, to establish a series of phases of development.
The earliest sketch of the Place dates from 1767, and shows only the east elevation of the south block, and the north east block. No detailed representation of the north, west, or south elevation is known from prior to the 1860s. No survey of the site is known to have survived from when the abbey lands were feued for development in the 1760s. General William Roy’s Great Map of the mid 18th century shows the Abbey lands and monastic wall, but without any useful detail of the Place.
A detailed description of the demolished west range of the Place survives, together with photographs, dating from its destruction in 1874. No historical survey of the surviving south block is known, and the earliest plan of the interior dates from 1910.
The Place of Paisley, Paisley Abbey –Conservation Plan 13 Figure 22 Historical analysis of north elevation, and cross section looking west S&B Figure 23 Historical analysis of west elevation Figure 24 Historical analysis of south elevation
3.2 Paisley Abbey 1163-1560 3.2.1 Foundation and Development The Priory of Paisley was founded in 1163, by Walter Fitz-Alan, High Steward of Scotland, and ancestor of the Royal Family. Originally from Shropshire, he had been invited to become High Steward to David I, who granted him extensive lands in Renfrewshire. Having set up his headquarters at Renfrew, Walter sent for a Prior and twelve monks from the Cluniac Priory of Much Wenlock in Shropshire. He granted them land, fishings, and the existing church at Paisley, dedicated to St Mirrin. The family were new to Scotland, and there were no other Cluniac houses in the country. Paisley’s development and wealth sprang directly from its connection with what was to become the Stewart family1. Establishing and supporting a monastery was a recognised activity for a noble family, encouraged by the crown, particularly under David I. As the Stewarts strove to establish themselves within the Scots nobility the monastery of Paisley grew in wealth.
Cluniac order The Abbey of Cluny was founded in the 10th century, and became the wealthiest and most powerful in Europe. Until the 16th century rebuilding of St Peter’s Rome the monastery at Cluny was the largest building in Europe. Unlike other Benedictine houses, which were largely autonomous, Cluny created a federated order in which the administrators of subsidiary houses served as deputies of the abbot of Cluny.
Cluniac houses, being directly under the supervision of the abbot of Cluny, were mostly ‘priories’, not ‘abbeys’. All novices and those appointed to a high office in a Cluniac monastery had to travel to Cluny to be accepted by the abbot before taking their vows. All 35 of the English houses were priories. The abbey status of the two Scottish houses - Paisley and Crossraguel - was highly unusual. In total, out of over a thousand Cluniac monasteries in Europe there were only fifteen abbeys.
The wealth of the order allowed the monasteries to employ labour, so that the monks 1 R Oram, draft ‘Historical Appraisal and Research Prospects’ for excavations at Paisley Abbey The Place of Paisley, Paisley Abbey –Conservation Plan 15 lives were spent in prayer, and considerable luxury. The order was associated with the highest quality of arts and architecture. Its power was latterly undermined by competition from less extravagant orders such as the Cistercians.