NS4863 : Paisley Abbey: the Cardonald Stone

taken 8 years ago, near to Paisley, Renfrewshire, Great Britain

Paisley Abbey: the Cardonald Stone
Paisley Abbey: the Cardonald Stone
This large inscribed slab is located near the junction of the nave with the north transept (or, to put it another way, at the eastern end of the north aisle). Its inscription begins at the top right corner (note that the letter "" is pronounced like "th" in the word "the", and that "quh-" is equivalent to modern "wh-"):

"Heir lyis ane honorabill man James Stewart of Cardonald / Sumtyme capitane of / e Gard of Scotland to france quha decessit e xv day of / Januar ano dm 1584"

The smaller interior text, around the edge of the arms, likewise runs from the top right:

"o lord I comend my saul / into i handis / qlk ou hes redemit / by i precious blud"

["... my soul into thy hands, which thou has redeemed by thy precious blood", the word "which" ("quhilk", abbreviated here to "qlk") referring to the soul, not the hands. An information sheet, located nearby on the wall, but not visible in this photograph, also gives the text, although its transcription of the inner part differs slightly from my own version given above.]

J Cameron Lees, in the work cited in the end-note, mentions that the soldier commemorated here was an ancestor of the family of Blantyre. He does not elaborate further on that point. Several online sources (mostly quoting from or otherwise dependent upon other online sources) state, instead, that the first Lord Blantyre was the son of this James' sister Margaret.

However, Lees may well have it right: George Crawfurd, in his 1716 work "The Peerage of Scotland", refers to Margaret Stewart, mother of the first Lord Blantyre, as "Daughter of Captain James Stewart of Cardonald". It seems that (Captain) James also had a son called James, Margaret's brother, who died without issue; this may be how the confusion arose.

(The twelfth and last Lord Blantyre was Charles Walter Stuart, born in 1818. In 1895, he was pre-deceased by his unmarried son, Walter, the Master of Blantyre; the title Lord Blantyre therefore became extinct on the death of Charles Walter Stuart himself in 1900. In that connection, see also NS4471 : Monument to Lord Blantyre, a monument to the eleventh Lord Blantyre.)
Paisley Abbey

The abbey's website LinkExternal link provides a summary of its history, and other information.

It is thought that an early religious community was established at Paisley by St Mirin. In the twelfth century, Walter FitzAlan, High Steward of Scotland, had a priory established on his lands in Paisley, to be founded by monks of the Cluniac order; one of Walter's charters confirms certain lands "to God and Saint Mary, and the church of St James, and St Mirin, and St Myldburge de Passelet [Paisley], and to the priors and monks serving God there according to the order of Clugny".

[The name Paisley is thought to be derived, via either a Gaelic or a Cumbric form, from the Latin word 'basilica'. Such a derivation would indicate that the place already had ecclesiastical importance long before that priory was founded. See the short article "Paisley" by W.J.Watson (d.1948) in his "Place-Name Papers" (collection published in 2002).]

In its design, the original priory was modelled on the Abbey of Crise in France. The religious establishment at Paisley was elevated to the status of an abbey in 1245, after lengthy negotiations.

The abbey suffered grievous damage during the Wars of Independence: according to an annal entry (here translated from the original Latin), "in this year, 1307, the English burnt the Monastery of Paisley"; nothing remained but blackened walls. Some repair work was started in 1317, but little progress was made for several decades: however, by 1389-90, we have notice of glass being purchased for the abbey's windows, showing that repairs were then well under way.

A great deal of rebuilding was carried out during the time of Abbot Thomas Tervas (mid-fifteenth century), and, a little later, by Abbot George Shaw. The buildings appear to have been damaged by fire towards the end of the same century. It also seems that, at some point in the abbey's history, its central tower collapsed, damaging adjacent structures.

At the time of the Reformation (1560), the damage done to the abbey was limited, perhaps partly because the building was already in poor condition.

Subsequent developments will not be described here in detail, but it is worth noting several restorations of the abbey that were carried out in recent centuries: (1) 1788-89, under the supervision of Dr Robert Boog, minister of the First Charge at the Abbey (Boog was also responsible for piecing together what is now called the Tomb of Marjorie Bruce); (2) 1859-62, under ministers Andrew Wilson and J Cameron Lees; (3) 1898-1907, under the ministers Thomas Gentles and J B Dalgety; and (4) 1912-28 (but interrupted in 1918 by the War), under A M Maclean and W Fulton. See Howell, cited below, for details.

In the 1990s, the Great Drain below the abbey was rediscovered (see Malden, cited below); it has subsequently yielded many interesting artefacts, some of which are now displayed in the Sacristy Museum, within the abbey.

Selected references:

▪ "Historical Description of the Abbey and Town of Paisley", Charles Mackie (1835).
▪ "The Abbey of Paisley", J Cameron Lees (1878).
▪ "Paisley Abbey: Its History, Architecture, & Art", Rev A R Howell (1929).
▪ "The Monastery and Abbey of Paisley" (various contributors), edited by John Malden (2000).

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Date Taken
Monday, 26 August, 2013   (more nearby)
Thursday, 3 October, 2013
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Historic sites and artefacts  Religious sites 
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OSGB36: geotagged! NS 4855 6396 [10m precision]
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