Houston is a village in Place:Renfrewshire, Scotland. 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, 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. The Castle stayed in the ownership of the family until 1740. 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.
The old village centre in Houston, 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.
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.
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.
- ↑ A mercat cross is a market cross found in Scottish cities and towns where trade and commerce was a part of economic life. It was originally a place where merchants would gather, and later became the focal point of many town events such as executions, announcements and proclamations. To this day several important announcements and proclamations are still ceremonially made at the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh, including the calling of general elections and the succession of new monarchs.Despite the name, the typical mercat cross is not actually cruciform - variations range from a short pole stuck in the ground to the grand pillar rising out of the "cross house" in Edinburgh. [From: Wikipedia