Re-enactment Update


Re-enactment actors in full costume, Abbey Close PaisleyThere have been lots of things to do in the preparation for the re-enactment . Finalising the storyline and the actual script have been essential tasks. Actors had to be recruited, auditioned, and casting effected.

Links needed to be further developed with community groups and partner organisations, as to involvement and direction and content of that involvement. Rehearsals had to be organised and a location for those rehearsals had to be found. Costumes had to be agreed re design and manufacture.
Orientation sessions were begun, to assist all actors with the process of thinking themselves into the late 17th Century Scotland and 1697 Paisley in particular.
The presentation of the Touring Exhibition to community organisations is now well under way, and the presentations to schools are now being finalised re dates and locations.
The technical aspects of the Project are also in course of being finalised, as it is important that this runs in parallel with the rehearsals, so that the two streams come logically together to ensure a smooth, interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking experience for all who witness what we do.
If you are interested in becoming an actor for the event, touring exhibitions for this year or next then please visit here for more information –  Jim Rutherford, ETC


Costumes Update

Photo of costume designer AnnHolidays are over and we are all raring to go. The shop has been re-arranged to make it more interesting. We are all looking forward to meeting and greeting old friends and new. Anyone can come in and be shown how to make a basic costume to wear on re-enactment day (5 October).

Come along and join us, you will have fun and meet lots of new friends. – Ann McConway, Costume Designer

Shop and Crafts Update

17th Century CostumeThe shop is now set up and ready to welcome in community groups for craft and costume workshops!

Each craft session is catered to fit the needs of the people attending, with a minimum of three different activities for people to choose from; Sewing, painting, jewellery making, paper collaging, button pictures and more. All items made can be taken away, or left to be completed during another time slot. Any items left will be put on display, available for members of the public to buy J

We offer three time slots- 45 minutes, 1 Hour or 90 Minutes.

Depending on the number of people attending, there will be a minimum of two workshop leaders who will make sure that every takes part-but most of all enjoys what they are doing.

To Book a time slot with us, please email or phone the shop unit on 0141 3284310

Re-enactment Update

Nicky, Hope and Cheryl rehearsing at Reid Kerr


Six weeks to go and our actors are getting ready for the big performance.

Rehearsals are taking place twice a week- Thursday nights and Saturday Mornings in the Shop Unit.

Each week, different scenes are rehearsed, giving actors a chance to build up their confidence and talent!

This week, we rehearsed the infamous Milk Scene, in which the young maid Katherine Campbell cursed Christian Shaw when she was caught drinking a glass of milk. The gentry scene, in which the most well off and respected people of the town discussed the strange case of Christian Shaw’s fits. We were also able to rehearse the arrival of Christian and her parents to meet the well known and respected Dr Brisbane, leading eventually to the diagnoses of Bewitchment!!!

The actors are becoming more confident with every run through of the scenes, and with all day rehearsals planned in the coming weeks, real progress will be made, a final big push before the main event on the 5th of October.

The Costume designers are working hard to ensure that all of the actors are dressed in historically accurate period costume that enables them to get right into character.

We are working closely with the events management team from Fablevision, ensuring that as much of the day as possible is authentic to the festival day that would have taken place on the 10th of June 1697- the day of the real Witch Trials.

Props and sets are now being sourced, some more difficult than others. The most unusual of places are throwing up the most difficult props to find, a milk churn being found in a volunteer’s back garden! We are also trying to build as much of the sets as we can and have the chance to really showcase what life would have been like in 1697!

Outreach Update

RWH1697 Outreach Drama Meeting

We are extremely excited to welcome on board our newest member of the outreach team – John Adam! John is taking the on the dynamic role of Outreach Leader and so far he is doing a fantastic job of getting community groups involved in the RWH this year.

John has a background that is packed full of experience in the arts as a whole but drama is where his main passion lies. Getting lots of community groups on board and excited about being part of the project comes as second nature to John which means interest is high so if you are part of a community group or you know of one who is yet to get involved then now is the time!

There are groups from all over Renfrewshire donning 17th century attire and performing street scenes for the event including Capability Scotland from Johnstone, the Paisley branch of Momentum Scotland, Historical Adventures from Foxbar and many more so even if you are outside of Paisley there are loads of ways to get involved.

There are literally hundreds of dramatic street scene opportunities, musical performance opportunities and set/prop designing and building opportunities for community groups to engage with. The final event happens on October 5th when the whole of Paisley will be transported back to 1697 and will re live the tragic events of the Bargarran Witch Trials. There isn’t much time left before the main day so get in touch, we can’t wait to work with you!

Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 In Its Second Year

Now in its second year, Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 is becoming an established festival for Paisley as well as a Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 major resource for schools, community and other groups/individuals wishing to learn about Renfrewshire’s unique history.

Learning from Salem in the USA (,_Massachusetts), the RWH1697 team are convinced of the usefulness of themed visitor attractions as a major economic regeneration tool. Our USP is that local people are researching, learning about and sharing the story with others themselves. Our approach therefore delivers social impact (involving people with disabilities, mental health issues and carers in meaningful projects is the new model of social work) and educational benefits too (see our schools section on the website for the curriculum for excellence ready learning resources for teachers and school pupils).

With growing partnerships in Museums, Schools, Social Work, Creative Renfrewshire Network, Education Services, Tourism and the BIDS group; with a drop in exhibition space and retail unit in the Paisley Centre (Unit 17) and in line with the current heritage assets strategy review being developed by Renfrewshire Council, RWH1697 is confident that we have a powerful tool which will be of benefit to the whole region if we can develop a robust partnership approach

RWH 1697 – Conference 2013

Picture of brass Tondo from Maxwellton Cross


Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 2013 Conference

Building Paisley’s Heritage:   A Resource for Tourism and Regeneration?

9:30 am to 2:30 pm on Friday 4th October 2013 at the University of West of Scotland, Paisley Campus


Stephen Clancy, Renfrewshire History – Paisley’s Forgotten Heritage

Professor Hugh McLachlan, Glasgow Caledonian University – Using Heritage for Tourism and Regeneration

Ingrid Shearer, Northlight Heritage – A Case Study:  Govan Old Kirk

And a discussion on how we can take ideas forward

Tickets are £15 each and includes Lunch and Refreshments

Early Bird Offer:  Buy your ticket before 12 September for special price of £12

Tickets now available from our shop:  Unit 17 in the Paisley Centre, 23 High Street,  Paisley PA1 2AQ

Recruitment Week

RWH Actors @ Paisley Town Hall

Recruitment Week

RWH Actors inside Paisley Abbey

This year’s Renfrewshire Witch Hunt is set to take place on October 5 in Paisley Town Centre and we’re aiming to make it the biggest and best yet. Last year’s Witch Hunt was deemed a huge success by Renfrewshire council, MSPs and all those involved in the project. The event provides a unique opportunity to bring together the community, on a day which interactively explores a fascinatingly dark period in Renfrewshire’s past. On the back of such a success however, we now need even more people to get involved and help us make RWH 2013 a truly unforgettable occasion.

From the 5th to the 10th of August we are hosting a community recruitment initiative in which anyone is invited to drop by, have a chat and discuss how they can take part. There are a wide variety of opportunities with acting, costume production and stewarding being just a few. Drama, outreach and community groups are also encouraged to come along.

At the end of the week, Saturday 10th, we will be staging a family afternoon in the town centre complete with workshops, craft sessions and several other fun and engaging activities. Stephen Clancy, a history expert from the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), will also be in attendance to offer an informed and deeply interesting account of what went on all those years ago. The event is completely free and there will still be opportunities to get signed up.

So if you’re interested in meeting new people, gaining some real CV – worthy experience and making a positive and meaningful contribution to the community then why not come along over the course of the week, sign up, get involved, and help us make RWH 2013 a day to remember!

Monday 11am – 4pm – General Volunteering for main event and shop/other / Media / Photographers / Film Makers / Blogger / Journalists /
Tuesday 11am – 4pm – Outreach / Community Groups / Are you interested in theatre, acting and Scottish history? Are you a member of a community or drama group or are you a youth group leader?
Thursday 1pm- 4pm – Costume design and making / Craft Making
Friday 11am – 4pm – Acting/Drama – Get a chance to sign up and become part of the main performance on the big event day or to go out on touring exhibitions across Renfrewshire

Lesley King One of Our ActorsRWH Actors inside the abbey

Re-Enactment Festival 5th October 2013

On 5th October – 11am – 5pm 2013  Paisley Town Centre will return to 1697 for a unique re-enactment festival and everyone is invited to dress in historic attire, come into town and join in the re-enactment of the story of the Paisley Witches

This is to be a yearly event held in Paisley Town Centre. If you would like to get involved then please check out our Opportunities page to find out what you can volunteer opportunities we have.

We look forward to seeing you in costume on the 5th of October, hopefully in full 17th Century costume. Please feel free to drop into our base at Unit 17, Paisley Shopping Centre, High Street, PA1 2AQ for more information or contact us on


County Square 

  • Fire Performer – Juggling, dancing and moreRenfrewshire Witch Hunt - Re-enactment Group
  • Hog Roast  and a winter menu of food
  • Renfrewshire Witch Hunt Actors performing some scenes, including a bar brawl and a gentry scene
  • Kids from David O’Rorke Historical Adventures performing scenes
  • Hoots Owls with 7 birds of pray including falcons and owls.
  • A stall with props such as Armour, swords, shields and more


Public Procession

Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 - Public Prcoession

  • A public procession with actors from RWH, community groups such as,  Historical Adventures, SONAS,  Capability Scotland, members from Sma Shot Cottages and many more all in 1697 costume interacting with the public as they head toward Abbey Close
  • A horse and cart leading the way, with two large Clydesdale horses and a rickety old themed cart with the accused in the back ready to be taken to trial.
  • Militia guarding the accused with handheld burning torches

Abbey Close (Main Performance)

  • Three Flambeaux outside Paisley Town Hall
  • A main performance from the actors of Renfrewshire Witch Hunt (trained by Erskine Theatre Company)
  • Singing from SONAS group singing in Gaelic

Monthly Newsletter

Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 have introduced a monthly newsletter which is sent via email to provide all subscribers updates on the RWH1697 Project,

To sign up to receive these updates please fill out the form below:

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Email Format