The RWH1697 Shop is now open

On Monday 10th June at 11:00am, MSP George Adam officially opened the Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 shop unit,

Based on the top floor of The Paisley Centre, the unit has a number of purposes including selling of merchandise including books on the local history, postcards of local landmarks, Horseshoe Charms and more,

The space will also be used for Erskine Theatre Company (ETC) to host rehearsals every Saturday between 11:00am and 1:00pm,

There is also space for anyone who is looking to help make costumes more information can be found on our opportunities page

Please feel free to come in and see us, We’re based on the top floor just after the escalators

For more information please call us on 0141 328 4310 or email us at

Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 2013

Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 2013

We’re Back!
Unit 17
Paisley Centre


In 1697, eleven year old Christian Shaw became
“possessed by witches”.

As a result seven citizens of Renfrewshire were put to death and their remains buried under a horsehoe at Maxwellton Cross in Paisley.

Christian and her mother went on to be the founders of Renfrewshire’s textile industry and a superstition grew that if the horseshoe was ever removed the fortunes of the area would decline.

In the 1960’s, during road works, the horsehoe was lifted. Whether or not the subsequent economic decline was in any way linked, the horseshoe was replaced in the summer of 2012 as part of the first re enactment of events.

“Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697” has been established to make sure the story is revisited each year and Renfrewshire continues to flourish.

This year, the re enactment is scheduled to take place on Saturday, 5th October 2013. Every citizen and visitor to the area is invited to dress in historic attire, come into town and join in the restaging of the events.

Preparations are now underway for the main event on Saturday the 5th October. But if you can’t wait until the 5th, you will see us pop up at all the major events planned over the summer including the West End Fair, Sma’ Shot Day and the MOD. Come and say hi!’

For information on how to get involved (either as an individual or as a group)
make crafts, volunteer in the shop, create a scene, take a character role, or simply get help with making a costume for the day, please contact us:


Phone No: 0141 328 4310

Address: RWH1697, Unit 17, The Paisley Centre,
23 High Street, Paisley, PA1 2AQ

Conference Success

The Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 “Injustice Done” conference was oversubscribed with a waiting list.  We had great feedback from those that attended with requests to be kept informed of any similar events we are planning.  Many thanks to the learned speakers:  Professor Edward Cowan, Doctor Lizanne Henderson, Professor Hugh V McLachlan and Stephen Clancy.  Thank you to Fraser Walker at Fablevison for filming, representatives of the Renfrewshire Local History Forum for their support, Rachel Muir and Antony Overstall for stewarding and a special thank you to Reverend Birss, Matt McIntosh and the staff at the Abbey for their assistance in allowing us to hold this event in the Place of Paisley.

“Injustice Done” Conference Programme

“Injustice Done”

Scottish Witchcraft, Folk Belief and the Renfrewshire Witch Hunt of 1697

Paisley Abbey, Panel Room 9th June 2012 9am – 12.30pm

09:00 – 09:15   Arrival

09:15                Welcome

09:20                Professor Edward Cowan Folk Belief and the Witch-Hunt in Southwest Scotland

10:00                Tea/ Coffee

10:20                 Dr Lizanne Henderson The Eclipse of the Scottish Witch-Hunt

11:00                 Professor Hugh V. McLachlan Christian Shaw, children and the witchcraft scares in Renfrewshire and Salem in the 1690s

11:40                 Mr Stephen Clancy What happened to Christian Shaw?  Recent research into the Shaw and McGilchrist families

12:10                 Questions

12:25                 Closing Remarks

13:00                 Act One of re-enactment leaves YMCA Offices, High Street for Cenotaph.

Programme for June 9th

Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 


Time   Where
9:00 – 13:00 Farmers Market   County Square
9:15 – 12:30 “Injustice Done”  Conference SOLD OUT Abbey
10:00-  16:00 Accord Hospice Fayre  Town Hall
11:00-18:00 Live Acts on Stage – see running order below Abbey Close
13:00-13:45 Re-enactment: PART 1 Cenotaph
14:30-15:15 Re-enactment: PART2 Cenotaph
14:15-15:15 Story Telling with Alison Galbraith: “Witches and Wyse Wyffes” Abbey
1600-17:30 Re-enactment: PART 3. Public Procession starting from Cenotaph and arriving at Abbey Close Route below


The Final Procession Route

Starting at 15:55 prompt  at the YMCA, Paisley High Street.

  • ·         Walk down the High St
  • ·         Take a left turn at the Cenotaph onto Moss St
  • ·         Down Moss St and take a sharp turn right onto County Square
  • ·         Turn right onto Gilmour Street, up the hill and left onto Gauze Street
  • ·        Walk down Gauze Street, passing the Piazza centre and turn right into Abbey Close


Abbey Close Stage – Running Order


11:00-11:20 Highland Dancers
11:30-11:45 Solid Rock Academy
12:00-12:20 Band
12:30-12:50 Band
13:05-13:20 Read Raw
13:30-13:50 Highland Dancers
14:00 14:15 Solid Rock Academy
14:30-14:50 Band
15:00-15:30 Band
15:40-15:50 Read Raw 
16:45-17:30 RE-ENACTMENT
17:40-17:50 Final Scene at the ‘D’ with Burning Baskets 
17:50-18:00 Dirty Feet Dancers


Volunteers Needed


Volunteers Needed for Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697

When:    Saturday 9th June 2012 ALL DAY     Where: Paisley Town Centre

We are looking for some enthusiastic individuals who would like to take part in one of Paisley’s most exciting events yet – the Renfrewshire Witch Hunt of 1697.

This project has been a long time in the making and on the 9th June the entire town centre of Paisley will be transported back to 1697, when 7 locals were accused of witch craft, trialled and garrotted. These events arguably shaped the history of Paisley and on the 9th June we intend to retell this story whilst celebrating the wealth of talent and creativity of the people of Renfrewshire. Planned dramatic performances, singing, and dancing around the town centre will culminate in a final procession down to Abbey Close were the ‘accused’ will be transported by horse and cart.

But this is a feat that will take a lot of man power, and keen volunteers to make sure we have enough people on hand to deliver a fun day that runs smoothly. We are looking to recruit two types of volunteers – health and safety stewards and information stewards.

Health and Safety Stewards: 20

Dress Code: Casual Wear with High-Vis Vest

Key tasks will include:

Manning the stage at busy periods

Manning lit torches and ensuring members of the public remain at a safe distance

Escorting the horse and cart, keeping a clear pathway at all times

General Crowd Control

Information Stewards: 20

Dress Code: Period 1697 Dress

Key Tasks will include:

Distributing Maps/ Schedules and Broadsheets

Answer public enquiries about the event and the story of the Witch Hunt

Inform public about areas of interest in the town centre

Gather interest from the public for the 3 planned processions and direct them to the designated areas for performances.

Running Order:

We have a rough running order for the day with performances beginning on the stage at 11am in the morning and scheduled to finish at 5.30pm.

Final details of exact acts etc are still TBC but we confirm that set up and volunteer briefs will commence at

9.30am prompt in Paisley Town Centre.

I realise that not all volunteers may be available or able to participate from 9.30am to 6.30pm (including de-rig). All help is extremely appreciated and will help make the day a success. Sufficient breaks will be provided as will basic refreshments. I hope we can really show the community spirit of the Paisley folk by getting as much of the community involved on the day as possible. If we get this one right, there’s no telling of what this event could become in the coming years!

If you would like to register to volunteer, or if you require any further information could you please contact:

Laura Breaden

Event Organiser, Fablevision Studios

0141 425 2020

(please make the subject heading (RWH Volunteer 9th June)


A 17th Century Fashion Show

A 17th Century Fashion Show showcasing the latest trends of the 17th Century for Gentleman and Ladies of the upper class and also working class of the times. Come along and see what people used to wear and how it has changed compared to today’s fashion. You can also come along and find out how to make a very basic costume for Paisley Development Trust’s Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 on the 9th of June 2012.   All costumes have been designed by Ann McConway, a costume designer extraordinaire graduating from Cardonald College as a HND Clothing Technology student in 1988. She has created many costumes over a 30 year period including work for Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet, Glasgow Grand Opera Company, Erskine Drama Group and also private work.


The Paisley Development Trust project RWH 1697 touring exhibition has been invited to do a presentation to MSP’s at the Scottish Parliament on 16th May.

The invitation and request came from local Paisley MSP George Adam following his attendance at the launch of the Touring Exhibition in the Paisley Museum in April.

George seeks to showcase the work of the Paisley Development Trust and the Witch Hunt project in particular  to MSP’s as a way and means, through cultural and artistic activities, to aid the regeneration of  the town centre.   The RWH 1697 project is being delivered  and led by the Paisley Development Trust  in  a partnership of grass  roots organisations based with the needs of the local community at heart and involving local people and volunteers .

It has had considerable support from Renfrewshire Council, the Heritage Lottery fund, Leader funds and Paisley Vision Board. However, the most significant element has been the social capital that has been devoted to the project by the volunteers in terms of their time and efforts. The finale will be on June 9th when Paisley town centre will be transformed in to the cultural backdrop that surrounded the Renfrewshire Witch Trials of 1697.

Chair of the Paisley Development Trust, Alan Morris has welcomed the invitation and the Project manager, Liz Gardiner of Fablevision said:

“This invitation gives a grass roots community led organisation the opportunity to show, via the development of an area’s culture and heritage, the positive  and long term sustainable regeneration outcomes from such activity. Our local volunteers are over the moon at  the prospect of presenting the story to Parliament.

The project has already delivered two school learning packs, developed a website and carried out original research on the 1697 trials and thefamily histories of those involved.  This month we are taking our touring exhibition throughout Renfrewshire and are looking forward tothe culmination of the project, the re-enactment day on June 9th.”

Volunteer Stewards Needed for June 9th

We are looking for people to help out on the re-enactment day on June 9th by acting as stewards.

We will need both information stewards and health & safety stewards.

The information stewards will be dressed in period costume and hand out leaflets.  If you are interested in doing this please contact Ian Findlay –

If you would like to be a health & safety steward please contact Laura Breaden –