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

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Email Format

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)