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Scots monuments: Paisley Abbey Gargoyles

The gargoyle on Paisley Abbey which bears a resemblance to the monster from 80s film Aliens. Picture: Paisley Mysteries

The gargoyle on Paisley Abbey which bears a resemblance to the monster from 80s film Aliens. Picture: Paisley Mysteries


  • by Stephen Emerson
 

Visitors to Paisley Abbey could be forgiven for taking a double take when they look up at the roof of the medieval structure.

The 13th century structure is dotted with mysterious gargoyles with one - a double of the moster from the 1980s Alien film - attracting thousands of hits online in the summer after being posted on the Paisley Mysteries Facebook page.

Abbey Reverend Alan Birss said most of the gargoyles were replaced during a refurbishment - but this one must have been remodelled by a mischievous stonemason.

The purpose of the figures was to take rain water away from the roof in the days before down pipes.

Mr Birss said that 12 medieval gargoyles, which had been on the abbey for hundreds of years, had to be taken down in 1991 because they had “crumbled and were in a very bad state”.

Just one of the original gargoyles was left outside the abbey to show how they would have looked, although there are medieval grotesques inside the building.

Mr Birss said a stonemason from an Edinburgh firm was contracted to create the new gargoyles.

“I think it was a stonemason having a bit of fun,” he said.

“Perhaps the film was fairly new when they were carving this and if he was thinking of an alien perhaps the alien from the film was his idea of an alien.

“I’m sure he wasn’t deliberately copying the alien in the film. It was just a concept of an alien.”

 

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