Kinneil House open for Halloween


A HAUNTED house is opening its doors to the public … for this year’s Hallowe’en.

Historic Kinneil House in Bo’ness – which boasts its own “White Lady”
– will provide free access to visitors on Saturday, October 31, from
12 noon to 3 p.m. (last admission 2.30 p.m.)

The charity The Friends of Kinneil has joined forces with Historic
Scotland to run the free open afternoon.

Youngsters are being encouraged to come along in fancy dress – with
the best getting a book token. Last year hundreds of visitors came
through the doors. Full details are available online at

The imposing mansion, within the beautiful Kinneil Estate, is said to
be haunted by the ghost of Lady Alice Lilbourne, who fell to her death
from one of the building’s top-floor windows.

Bruce Henderson, the chairman of The Friends of Kinneil, said: “Lady
Lilbourne was the wife of a Cromwellian General who was stationed at
Kinneil House in the mid 17th century. The story goes that the
marriage was not a happy one, and Lady Alice was locked into an attic
room overlooking the rocky ravine and burn. In desperation, she flung
herself out of the window to her death on the rocks almost 200 feet
below. Ever since, the White Lady has been said to haunt the house and
its grounds.”

He added: “We don’t know if she will make an appearance this
Hallowe’en, but we’re sure lots of people will want to come along and
see if they bump into her!”

Mr Henderson said volunteer guides would be getting into the “spirit”
of things. “I hope young visitors will also join in the fun by donning
fancy dress. We’re giving a prize to the best dressed visitor.
However, we must stress that anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an
adult to gain access.”

The neighbouring Kinneil Museum – run by Falkirk Council – will also
be open. The museum provides an audio visual show on the history of
Kinneil House and the surrounding Kinneil Estate, which also features
a medieval church, a Roman fortlet and a cottage used by inventor
James Watt.
For many, however, the potential to see a ghost will be one of the
main attractions this Hallowe’en.

The writer Maria Edgeworth visited Kinneil and the last occupants of
the house – the philosopher Dugald Stewart and his wife – in June
She wrote: “Mrs. Stewart told us this morning that there were plenty
of ghosts at our service belonging to Kinneil House. One in
particular, Lady Lilbourne, who is often seen all in white, as a ghost
should be, and with white wings, fluttering on the top of the castle,
from whence she leaps into the sea – a prodigious leap of three or
four hundred yards, nothing for a well-bred ghost. At other times she
wears boots, and stumps up and down stairs in them, and across
passages, and through bedchambers, frightening ladies’ maids and

* The volunteers from Friends of Kinneil are organising the Hallowe’en
open afternoon as part of “CSV Make a Difference Day” – a national
initiative which encourages people across the country to take part in
local initiatives. To find out more visit http://www.csv.org.uk/difference


Kinneil House dates back to the 15th century and was once a popular
home for the Dukes of Hamilton. The building was re-modelled in the
1540s and transformed into a stately home in the 1660s.

Demolition was halted in 1936, when renaissance wall paintings – said
to be amongst the finest in Scotland – were discovered and the
property was put into the care of the Ministry of Works, now Historic

For the past two decades, access to the house has been limited.
However, Historic Scotland is now working with The Friends of Kinneil
group to increase the number of public openings.

To find out more about the House and its surrounding estate, visit


1. Kinneil House and Estate is just off the A993 – the main road
through Bo’ness in central Scotland. For location information visit

2. Kinneil House is only during special open days. However,
neighbouring Kinneil Museum, run by Falkirk Council, is open to the
public throughout the year. The Museum is normally open Monday to
Saturday from 12.30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. The surrounding
Kinneil Estate features remains of the Antonine Wall and is part of
the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site.

3. Kinneil House is one of 345 outstanding historic properties and
sites in the care of Historic Scotland. These include some of the
leading tourism attractions in the country, including Stirling,
Edinburgh and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the
Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. Find out more by visiting

To find out more about Kinneil’s ghost, visit our special page at www.kinneil.org.uk/ghost