Renfrewshire, Scotland

According to his military record, Neilston is where James Duff was born. However, we are not entirely convinced of this, but James was certainly worked in the area until he joined the army.

A brief visit with pictures taken on 12th and 13th April 2011

Sign pointing to Neilston Neilston is a village in Eastern Renfewshire just under four miles south of Paisley and approximately twelve miles south west of Glasgow. Prior to the Industrial Revolution the area was associated with farming and woolen weaving, the latter being established by the monks of Paisley Abbey. The middle of the eighteenth century brought industrialisation in the form of several cotton mills in the area and Neilston became known for cotton and calico bleaching and printing.
Visiting any place in the British Isles you are unlikely to see much, if indeed anything, remaining from the first half of the nineteenth century and this is true of Neilston.
Neilston Church of Scotland Parish Church
Neilston Church of Scotland Parish Church, founded in medieval times and significantly developed into what we see today between 1796 and 1820, certainly was there when our James was! As far as we could tell on a quick visit it is the oldest remaining building in the area. The nearby Manse is also old but so modernised this is not apparent. The church graveyard is mostly laid to grass and many of the remaining headstones unreadable. However, we subsequently found a register of graves from the first half of the nineteenth century and no Duffs were listed in the Neilston area. We strongly suspect that our family only rated unmarked paupers graves anyway.
Parish Church Graveyard
Old houses in the High Street
Original dwellings in the area would have been single storey with thatched roofs. The above houses in High Street and below shops in Main Street are what passes for old but we think were built later than when James was in the village, maybe following "the Second Industrial Revolution" from 1860 onwards.
Shops in Main Street
In 1800 the population was around 1000, the 2001 census registered just over 5000. Much of the housing now appears to be of post war local authority origin. Latterly it has become an outer dormitory village for Glasgow.


This page was last updated on 16th June 2011.