New Walking Tours of Paisley

Walking Tours will start on Monday 14th July between 1.30 and 3.30pm. The first walk will be Paisley’s Witchcraft Sites.

The Cost will be £5 for Adults, £3 for children and £15 for Families (2 Adults/ 2 children) RWH1697 Friends can join for £3.50.

We presently have 3 walks planned: Walk 1 – Paisley’s Witchcraft Sites; Walk 2 – Paisley Canal & Maxwelton; Walk 3 – Paisley’s Textile Heritage.

We shall post details of each weeks walk on the website, and a poster in the Hub window will say which tour is happening the following Monday.

Sma’ Shot Day 2014

We shall be at SMA’ SHOT DAY this coming Saturday, 5th July.   We shall be participating in the Parade from the  Broadie Park to Abbey Close and we shall have a selection of our gifts and mechandise availabale at our stall including Paisley Pattern Ties, earings, necklaces, rings, booklets, notpads, pens, pencils and keyings amongst many others.   Why not come along and support us and the many other charities that will be there!

Friends of RWH1697 Membership

RWH1697 is a Membership based Charity, and operates as A Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation No. SC04364.

We have a membership package available at the annual cost of £5, that gives you:
The opportunity to participation in Re-enactments,
2 Annual Newsletters,
Advanced notification of events,
Reduced entry to some events,
Reduced prices on history classes,
Reduced prices on our Walking Tours,

All friends are members of RWH1697 and are eligible to vote at the AGM .


Download the Membership Leaflet here, and return with payment to the Hub.

Our membership year starts at our AGM in February.

Heritage & Creative Hub Activities

rwh shop banner-web

Another new week and our doors are open!

Why not pop into the Heritage & Creative Hub and find out about our crafting classes:
knitting on a Wednesday 1pm-3pm;
Crochet on Friday 10am-12noon or our
Children’s Storytelling Monday 1pm-3pm,
Art Classes Tuesday and Thursday 10am-12noon,
or our History lessons on a Tuesday afternoon 1.30pm – 3.30pm.

We are also setting up Quilting classes on a Friday Afternoon from 1pm-3pm. All classes are £5 per session, with materials provided. (History lessons are £40 for a 4 week session or £10 a week.)

If you are interested, you can pop into the hub, send us a message facebook, or use our contact page here.

Charity Trustees

Charity Trustees

To help support the ongoing work of RWH 1697 we are looking for new Charity Trustees to join our Board. We want to hear from enthusiastic people who would like to be members of this exciting and worthwhile project and who are willing to stand for election as Charity Trustees.

Because we are committed to involving all local people, young and older and including those with disabilities or physical or mental health issues we believe that this project delivers real social impact. All our volunteers have access to a wide range of opportunities from research, writing, costume, scenic design to provision of administrative support and from participation in re-enactments to being part of essential technical back-up teams.  We believe it is important for everyone to share in the learning so RWH 1697 has produced educational resources and made these available on the web site. The school learning packs for teachers and both primary and secondary pupils have been developed to make the learning experience both interesting and varied as well as meeting the requirements of the Curriculum of Excellence.

Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 - October 5th 2013 (Photo Taken By Sian Minto)

With ongoing development of the current outreach programme and having a growing number of partnerships with local museums, schools, Local Authority social work departments and education services, college and university departments as well as with tourism agencies, Creative Renfrewshire Network and The Paisley Centre RWH1697 team feel confident that this project will be a powerful regeneration tool and of continuing and long-term benefit to Paisley and indeed to the whole region.

RWH 1697 has been acknowledged as being in line with the current heritage assets strategy review being undertaken by Renfrewshire Council

Please download the application here, fill it in and return it to

Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 2013 festival huge success as thousand strong-crowd gathers to replay events of 1697

Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 - October 5th 2013 (Photo Taken By John Donlin)On Saturday 5th of October we successfully took Paisley Town Centre back to the 17th century, to a time when accusation and fear was palpable. Our annual re-enactment festival, which explores an incredibly dark period in Renfrewshire’s past, was a massive hit.

The crowd were treated to performances from community groups from across Renfrewshire, Karen E Moir dance & drama ,Turning point Scotland, Kibble Education & care centre, Bargarran Youth club, Erskine Girls brigade, Sma Shot cottages, Momentum, Capability Scotland, Razzamataz Theatre School,  Sonas Gaelic Choir and Historical Adventures. They all performed at various points throughout the six hour long event after been provided Outreach Drama Workshops from John Adam, Fablevision Studios in the months leading up to the event.

Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 - October 5th 2013 (Photo Taken By Dougie Coull)

Erskine Theatre Company, who wrote the re-enactment and taught the actors who performed the main re-enactment on the stage that was erected in the towns County Square. The actors range from 7 years old to 70 years old with different backgrounds and abilities. Months of rehearsals in West College Scotland Paisley Campus the strong group of 50 actors came together on the 5th and put on a show that they will never forget and neither will the people of Paisley.


Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 - October 5th 2013 (Photo Taken By John Donlin)

Saturday’s re-enactment was the second annual festival, but the first after Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 since being its own Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation that was formed by young core group members from the Paisley Development Trust Project the previous year. Despite last year’s being a considerable success, this year’s event firmly set the bar drawing in a remarkably bigger audience. Finishing with a public procession led by a horse and cart, the crowd followed the actors from the County Square down to the Paisley Abbey, where torches were lit to signify the burning of the witches. The cast were then greeted by rapturous applause before returning to the Renfrewshire Witch Hunt shop to put their 21st century clothes back on and return to the present day. The festival event manager Ian Findlay (Fablevision Studios), brought the festival together after having to make changes last minute due to unforeseen circumstances.

Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 - October 5th 2013 (Photo Taken By Sian Minto)Academics, local business people and community activists had attended a conference at the University of the West of Scotland the previous day, entitled: ‘Building Paisley’s Heritage: A Resource for Tourism and Regeneration?” to discuss the heritage of the town and consider case studies from other areas where urban regeneration has been led by cultural tourism.

Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 - October 5th 2013 (Photo Taken By Rosie Jake Photography)Salem in the USA has used its dark witch history to great effect as a tourist attraction. Most notably in the UK, Salford and Gateshead are examples where manufacturing industries have decayed but regeneration has occurred through investment in major cultural and heritage projects. The Lowry in the former and the Sage in the latter, have created a new identity and generated fresh prosperity in these areas.

With the Mod also coming to Paisley this month, it’s quite clear to us that Paisley’s economy benefits greatly from such cultural events. Many of those executed in 1697 were Gaels from the Western Isles who had come to the town seeking work (their strange, incomprehensible tongue sounding threatening and foreign to lowland Paisley buddies).Saturday was therefore filled with Gaelic speech and song, acting as a precursor of what is to come with the Mod fest next week.

Perhaps an 11 year old girl from the 17th century is still influencing the fortunes of her local area.

RWH will now continue to do touring exhibitions, outreach work and it will also continue to visit Renfrewshire Schools, community centres, libraries and museums to put on smaller re-enactments and teach local people about the history of their hometown and heritage. Saturday’s success will be used a platform to build on and work towards achieving the SCIO’s strategic ambitions of growth and development into a fully established social enterprise.

If you would like to get involved with the project, have our actors come out and perform or anything else then please email

Re-Enactment Festival Is Upon Us!

With only three weeks to go until the big day we are all getting very excited and everyone is pulling together for the final push towards the event. There is still some chance to be involved with the re-enactment festival with opportunities for Event Stewards and also Photographers/Vidographers Re-enactment Festival

Things are progressing well with the costumes, recruiting a new volunteer Ailsa to help complete the last few. Ann our Costume Coordinator is happy with the progress and is confident that all the work needed will be completed over the next three weeks withe spare costumes that the public could come and “borrow” on the day. More details of this soon. We have allocated costumes to specific characters now. So everyone now has the exact costume related to their character, and gives them a sense of membership and also responsibility.


We moved to Reid Kerr College (West College Scotland – Thanks again for all the support) for Thursday rehearsals (5.30pm to 8pm) and it has been very beneficial, allowing us to rehearse more sections of the re-enactment than was possible in the shop. Saturday rehearsals remain located in the Paisley Centre from 11am until 1pm. Touring exhibition slots with community groups and schools are developing and have been very well received. Some cast changes – welcome to the new members, and we look forward to linking with the outreach groups in due course.

Re-Enacment at airport birefing

Natalie Elliott giving instruction to the Actors on her last touring exhibition at Glasgow Airport

We are delighted to support Natalie Elliott in her new post as the co-ordinator for Creative Renfrewshire Network. There will be much that we can continue to do together as we recommit ourselves to the regeneration of Renfrewshire through the identification and building on our cultural assets. We will miss her very much from the Shop, the touring exhibition and rehearsals but we are glad that she will be able to continue as a volunteer in her spare time.

Glasgow Airport – Best of Scotland – Witches Perfom

Some of the cast with Rob Miller from Glasgow Airport

Rob Miller Commercial Account Manager at Glasgow Airport With some of the cast

The first of what we hope will be a long term relationship with Glasgow Airport as part of the Best of Scotland Campaign happened on Friday , 30th August when we inhabited the departures hall with bemused, costumed characters from 1697. Our cast members were terrified of the flying carriages (no horses even!) and strange display boards. People talking into sticks, tapping their fingers on boards and drinking out of cups that seemed to smash when pressed too harshly were only some of the terrifying experiences they encountered.   Modern day travelers found the antics amusing and certainly entertained them as they waited for their delayed flights to Malaga – Liz Gardiner (Project Coordinator)



People in Paisley town centre on the 30th August were intrigued as some of our cast walked from the Paisley Performance at Glasgow AirportCentre to get the service bus 757 to Glasgow Airport – soon we were lined up at the bus shelter at Gilmour Street station along with other passengers who were interested to know what we were doing, and there was also the opportunity to chat briefly to travelers entering and leaving the station – the bus arrived, and the driver and existing passengers coped very well with us all getting on board – in our varied costumes it certainly made for a colourful picture as we sat with the other passengers, many of whom were very interested in what we were about!

The Glasgow Airport experience was itself quite something, and we were soon busily engaging with passengers and staff as we re-enacted parts of our story, even indulging in conversations in French and Spanish!

A very good experience for cast who were able to attend, and a good team exercise! – Jim Rutherford ( Artistic Director)