Houston, Renfrewshire

Houston, Renfrewshire

infobox UK place
country = Scotland
official_name= Houston
os_grid_reference= NS404667
map_type= Scotland
population= 6610 (1991 census)
lieutenancy_scotland= Renfrewshire
post_town= JOHNSTONE
postcode_district = PA6
postcode_area= PA
dial_code= 01505
constituency_westminster= Paisley & Renfrewshire North
constituency_scottish_parliament= West Renfrewshire
constituency_scottish_parliament1= West of Scotland

Houston is a village in Renfrewshire, Scotland. It is separated between an old centre and a new, with both housing a number of small shops, restaurants and public houses. The village is mainly composed of housing developed at various times and chiefly serves as a dormitory village for nearby Glasgow and Paisley. Houston was originally and traditionally known as Kilpeter ("Cille Pheadair" in Scottish Gaelic).

The old village was designated a conservation area in 1968.


The term 'Houston' is a concatenation of "Hu's town", Hu being Hugo De Padvinan, also known as Hugh de Padinan. Hugo apparently was granted the lands which comprised the barony of Kilpeter, Houston's former name - from the dedication of a now lost church to St Peter [ [http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/descriptions/entry_page.jsp;jsessionid=39753DBEB127C8CF32E951C389579B8A?text_id=120230&word=NULL Vision of Britain | Groome Gazetteer entry for HOUSTON ] ] , in the 12th century. Hugo was an 11th century Knight Templar who followed Walter Fitzalan, the High Steward of Scotland and progenitor of the Royal House of Stewart. The village eventually sprung up around the family's castle. When the modern (17th century) village was created, stone from the castle was given for building purposes. [ [http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/ilwwcm/publishing.nsf/Content/Navigation-els-Houston(OurHistoryandHeritage)Homepage Renfrewshire Community Website - Houston ] ] . The Castle stayed in the ownership of the family until 1740 [ [http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/descriptions/entry_page.jsp;jsessionid=39753DBEB127C8CF32E951C389579B8A?text_id=120230&word=NULL Vision of Britain | Groome Gazetteer entry for HOUSTON ] ]

Before this time, Houston was the site of a Roman fort, on Barochan Hill to the north-east of the village. A Bronze Age burial site was unearthed in South Mound, part of the western edge of the village.

The village's mercat cross has a shaft dating back to the 14th century. It is at a peculiar angle as it incorporates a large sundial and was moved from its original site on Main Street. The object has become something of a symbol for the village [Being used, for example, in the badge of Houston Primary School; and to represent Houston in the arms of Gryffe High School where an image of Ranfurly Castle is used to represent Bridge of Weir]

In July 2007, Houston was featured prominently in news reports around the United Kingdom after it was discovered that inhabitants of a house in the village were linked to the 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack of June 30. [ [http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30100-1273143,00.html?f=rss Police Comb House Near Glasgow |Sky News|UK News ] ]

Former Railway Connections

Houston, at one time, was served by two railway lines, with two stations both named "Houston". The nearest station to Houston itself, Houston and Crosslee Station, which opened in 1868, was on the Glasgow and South Western Railway line. The line originally running between Glasgow St Enoch station and Greenock Princes Pier, via Paisley Canal station. It was later known as the Paisley Canal Railway line and at the time of its closure in 1986, ran between Glasgow Central station and Kilmacolm. The line was reopened in 1990 between Glasgow Central Station and Paisley Canal Station; and it may reach Houston and Kilmacolm again by 2020.

The earlier Houston station, which opened in March 1841, was on the Glasgow, Paisley and Greenock Railway (Caledonian Railway) line, at Houston Road, near the south-southeast corner of ROF Bishopton. The station being roughly midway between Paisley St James railway station and Bishopton railway station on what is now the Inverclyde Line. The line is still open but Houston station has long been closed.

Neither of the stations were actually within the village itself, but in the rural areas surrounding it.


Local government

The ecclesiastical parish of Houston formed a union with the nearby rural parish and hamlet of Killellan (subject to a number of different spellings) in 1771, creating an effectively united parish centred upon one church in Houston. [ [http://www.houstonscotland.org.uk/kirk/our%20church.htm Houston and Killellan Kirk ] ] The ruins of the former Killellan church dedicated to St Fillan lie around four miles from the centre of Houston on the High Road to Kilmacolm. The civil parish of Houston and Killellan which resulted spreads over a wide area, including a number of nearby settlements, the most significant being Crosslee, Craigends and Barochan.

With the decline of significance of the civil parish, this area has largely become part of the Houston Community Council area [http://www.houstoncommunitycouncil.co.uk/] . The community council is chiefly a consultative body, forming a focus for local views, and has no statutory powers of its own.

Houston and its parish form part of the Renfrewshire council area. For the 2007 local authority elections in Scotland, Houston was entered into a new four-councillor ward, Ward 9, alongside Crosslee and the town of Linwood ( [http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/ilwwcm/publishing.nsf/Content/Navigation-cs-Ward9HomePage Ward 9] ).

Places of interest

Public houses

Despite its small size, Houston and neighbouring Crosslee have for many years been home to four public houses. Three of these public houses are located in the old village centre - the Fox and Hounds (South Street), the Houston Inn (North Street), established in 1779 and 1784 respectively, and the Crosskeys Inn (Main Street) whose name derives from the crossed keys symbol of St Peter, a reference to the original name of the settlement Kilpeter i.e. the church of Peter. A fourth pub lies in Crosslee, being the former Crosslee Inn, and is presently known as the River Inn.

The Old Village

The old village centre in Houston, being located to its north-west, is a designated conservation area. The area is home to the main village pubs, one or two shops and the village's Post Office. The buildings are all traditional local cottages for a good length of South Street and North Street bordered by two large but undeveloped parks. The old village was a planned community of houses largely built around the Houston Burn, which gave communal access to washing facilities. The older parts of it date back to the later half of the 18th century.


St. Fillan's Roman Catholic Church on Main Street was established in 1841 on a property called "Four Windings" now remembered in the name of an adjacent street.


Agricultural Show and Carnival

During the summer, the village hosts its own agricultural show in Houston Public Park. The Kirk also organises an annual Carnival, located around the church hall (the old Free Church) on Main Street, which involves a parade and a number of stalls and entertainments and involves the local primary schools.

Historic sites

Some remains of the 16th century Houston Castle still exist largely in the grounds of the newer Houston House. The area sits beside the Houston and Killellan Kirk, the Parish's only Church of Scotland church. It is possible that Lord Darnley, husband of Mary, Queen of Scots resided at the castle for some years [ [http://www.ourlocalhistory.co.uk/yew.html The Craigends Yew-www.ourlocalhistory.co.uk ] ] .

The Barochan Cross, an 11 ft tall Celtic structure carved by the Knights Templar, was to be found on the hill to the north of the village. It has now been moved to Paisley Abbey to keep it from further exposure to the elements, although a war memorial also of a Celtic cross design lies slightly south of its former position.

There were two ancient wells in Houston considered to have healing powers. St Fillan's Well no longer exists, but St Peter's Well remains and gives its name to a locally brewed ale.


There are presently three schools in Houston: St Fillan's RC Primary School, Houston Primary School and the medium-size secondary, [http://www.gryffehigh.renfrewshire.sch.uk/ Gryffe High School] . All are highly sought-after and often very oversubscribed state schools. As a result, a number of Houston children are forced to attend primary school in nearby Bridge of Weir and being within the Gryffe High School catchment area (which does not include the whole village) can raise house prices significantly.

Roman Catholic pupils from St. Fillan's Primary School can transfer for secondary education to St. Benedict's High School, Linwood, but some choose to go to Gryffe High.

The 'old schoolhouse' at the north end of Main Street in the old village centre has been converted into bed and breakfast accommodation and the former school at the south end of Main Street now exists as a community building known as the Carrick Centre.

A process of renovation on both Gryffe High School and Houston Primary School was completed in the second half of 2007.


External links

* [http://www.happyhaggis.co.uk/renfrewshire.htm A Renfrewshire History website] - with an in-depth summary of selected Renfrewshire settlements, including Houston.
* [http://craigends.net History of Craigends Estate]

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