Founded 1163. Mostly 1st and 3rd pointed Gothic 6-bay nave and aisles; 6 bay aisle-less choir, aisleless transepts and central tower. Oldest surviving parts are 3 eastern bays of south aisle, c 1190 and west bay of nave and lower part of west front, 13th century; remainder 15th century. St Mirren's Chapel or Aisle added to south transept in 1499. Restorations and additions:- 1) 1788-9: nave 2) 1859-62: J Salmon, architect: nave and partial repair of transepts 3) 1888-1907, Rowand Anderson, architect: transepts and lower part of central tower. 4) 1912-28, P Macgregor Chalmers, architect until 1922: walls of choir, addition of vestry, and reconstruction of part of cloister. Thereafter R S Lorimer: alteration to details of Chalmer's scheme, plus choir vault and upper stage of tower. 5) 1980-1 removal of 18th century plaster ceiling to nave and replacement by open timber roof with tie beams. Interior has sexpartite and ridge store vaulting to nave aisles and pointed barrel vault with decorative ribs to St Mirren Aisle. Choir, transepts and crossing have modern stone vaults. Furnishings: choir stalls, communion table, etc. designed by Lorimer. Pulpit, T G Abercrombie, architect, 1904. Lectern by J Craig Barr, architect. Medieval bas-reliefs to east wall of St Mirren's Chapel. Monuments: late 13th century female recumbent effigy on 15th century (?) tomb base. Memorial to Robert III by J Hutchison, RSA 1888 in choir. Memorial to W McDowal 1816 at extreme west of south nave aisle by Flaxman. The Barochan Cross is a free-standing, sandstone belongs to an important series of sculpture from the former British (early medieval) kingdom of Strathclyde. Dating from around AD 900 – 1100. The cross stands around 1.95 m high, excluding the base. Decorated on all four sides, the majority of the decoration comprises panels of bold, median-incised interlace with some key pattern. The large lower panel on the front contains an interesting figural scene that includes: a mounted warrior carrying a spear; a man carrying a drinking horn; three men, one with an axe; and two opposed animals. On the back the two main panels each contain a line of four identical figures, in addition to interlace: in the upper panel is the outline of four figures in long garments; below four figures in profile, blowing trumpets and carrying spears. War Memorial in Cloister Court by Jeffrey Waddell, architect, to design of R Blomfield, architect 1923. Stained glass of 19th and 20th centuries by many artists and companies.
Statement of Interest
Ecclesiastical building in use as such. Detailed information on the windows is found in Howell and in a pamphlet available from the Abbey. For details of glass see A R Howell PAISLEY ABBEY.