VISITORS to Kinneil House next weekend are set to come face-to-face with one of its most famous former residents.
A costumed interpreter playing Anne, Duchess of Hamilton, will entertain audiences at two free open days on Saturday, April 24, and Sunday, April 25. There will also be an opportunity to enjoy free tours of this splendid heritage property – and view the beautiful 16th and 17th century painted decorations adorning the walls and ceilings of the Arbour (right) and Parable Rooms.
The open days have been organised jointly by Historic Scotland, which cares for Kinneil House, and the charity The Friends of Kinneil. The events will run from noon to 4 pm each day, with last admission 3.30 pm.
Sheena Garden, of Historic Scotland’s Interpretation Unit, says: “Anne, Duchess Hamilton, played such an important part in the history of Kinneil House so it’s fitting that visitors meet her. Our talented costumed interpreter will be giving hourly performances to bring her story and the past of this fascinating mansion to life to enhance the tours of the property. We first introduced visitors to the Duchess at Kinneil House last year when we ran this event to tie in with Scotland’s Year of Homecoming. It proved extremely popular so we hope that it will now encourage many more visitors to come along to this outstanding site.”
Bruce Henderson, chairman of The Friends of Kinneil, said: “We’re pleased to be working with Historic Scotland on a new series of open days at Kinneil House. You can visit the grounds and its neighbouring museum throughout the year. However, access to the big house itself is limited to special open days like this. Last year, five similar events, run in conjunction with Historic Scotland, attracted 1700 people – and we’re expecting similar interest this year. Kinneil House is a wonderful place to visit and I’d encourage people to come along and enjoy the free tours. The addition of performances from our ‘Duchess’ will make the April openings even more special.”
As well as the Duchess events on 24th and 25th April, Kinneil will also be open for free tours on 27th June, 29th August and 31st October. For full details, please visit www.kinneil.org.uk
Kinneil House is the centrepiece of the magnificent Kinneil Estate, a public park owned by Falkirk Council. The estate features a cottage used by inventor James Watt, the ruins of a medieval church, and remains of a Roman Fortlet – part of the Antonine Wall, Scotland’s latest UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There is also a small museum in the former stable block in front of Kinneil House. The museum is open throughout the year, from 12.30 pm to 4pm, and admission is free. It interprets the House and the wider estate and features an audio visual show and hands-on exhibits. Check out www.kinneil.org.uk/attractions for details on everything you can see.
To get details on how to visit, check out www.kinneil.org.uk/map
ANNE, DUCHESS OF HAMILTON
SHE was born at the court of Charles I – and lived until the reign of George I. She was instrumental in the development of the town of Bo’ness and became known as the “Good Duchess” because of her charitable work. And she was one of the leading Scottish ladies of the 17th century. Born in 1631, Anne, 3rd Duchess of Hamilton, was an impressive and influential character. She and her husband William were responsible for the major expansion of Kinneil House in the late 17th century. This saw the original 15th century tower house adjoined to the nearby palace building by means of one of two decorative towers, flanking the original tower house.