From the Beginning
William I Paisley (died ante 28 September 1171) and William II Paisley (killed in battle ante 1218) were prominent in the following of the first three hereditary stewards of Scotland, while William II Paisley is also noticed attending the itinerant court of the King of Scots during 1179 - 95.
Separate and quite distinct branches of the family had already developed at Lochwinnoch and Paisley and in the Roxburgshire barony of Hawick before the end of King David Bruce's reign in 1371 and the beginnings of others are found in records for Edinburgh and the three Lothians from 1389 onwards and at Dunrod near Borgue (Kirkcudbrightshire) in still Gaelic speaking Galloway from 1585.
During what might be called the peak of their activity from about 1656 to 1783, no less than five family members (in four different generations) served on the town's ruling council, by which body three went on to be selected as Treasurers, and another, Robert Paisley (f. 1656 - 1707), as Bailie or Magistrate on eight different occasions. Evidently a man of some financial consequence, for a time Bailie Robert Paisley held the wadsett or mortgage over the ten pound lands of Elderslie with its 'fortalice, manor house and yeards' (an estate owned by the descendant family of William Wallace).
Across the North Channel & Beyond
In the 'New Town of Limavady' in County Londonderry, Ulster, Henry Paisley and Neil Paisley (the son and grandson respectively of William Paisley elder f. 1628 - 64) founded a family which was still represented there towards the close of the nineteenth century and amongst whose many descendants also emigrated to North America and Canada.
While from Bailie Robert's cousin John (the head of the family in Renfrewshire), who served as Burgh Treasurer in 1673 - 74, but risked everything during the 'Killing Times' of the Covenanting period by defying the Magistrates and refusing election to the town council for 1683 - 84, are descended the Chiefly family of Paisley of Westerlea with their now numerous branches not only in Scotland but in England, America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Denmark.
His son Major General Charles Pasley, CB., (1824 - 1890), also a prominent engineer was Colonial and Inspector General of Public Works in Victoria (Australia) whilst on leave from the DPW, he volunteered to serve with the British troops in New Zealand and fought in the Maori wars of 1860. He married Charlotte Roberts, a cousin but had no family dying in 1890 with the representation of this distinguished family resting with the Pasley-Tylers. Captain Sir Henry Whatley Tyler, who died in 1908 was an instructor at the School of Military Engineering under General Sir Charles Pasley, married his daughter Margaret Pasley, an accomplished portrait artist.
Sir Malcolm, the 5th Baronet (1926 - 2004), following the family tradition, served in the Royal Navy 1944/45 before pursuing an academic career at Oxford. He was appointed a lecturer at Magdalene College in 1950 and a Fellow in 1958. He received numerous academic awards during his career but his most notable achievement was the personal retrieval of the Kafka papers from a Zurich bank in 1957. This cloak 'n' dagger mission was accomplished driving under difficult conditions across Europe to the Bodelian Library in Oxford where editing and commenting on the text became his life's work. In 1988 Sir Malcolm Pasley became Patron of the Society. In 1994 recognising the Westerlea line to be the senior line of Paisley, happily surrendered any claims to Chiefship of the family to the current Laird. The 6th Baronet is Sir Robert Killigrew Pasley.