The open afternoon has been organised to tie in with this weekend’s Bo’ness Fair celebrations. The House was an early location for the children’s festival.
Visitors will be able to tour inside the imposing mansion – and see some of the best renaissance wall paintings in Scotland – between noon and 4 p.m. on Sunday (last admission 3.30 p.m.) Neighbouring Kinneil Museum will also be open.
The event has been organised by Historic Scotland and the charity The Friends of Kinneil, with the support of Falkirk Council.
A spokesperson for The Friends of Kinneil said: “Kinneil House was an early venue for the Bo’ness Fair, and also boasts other links with the festival – one of the biggest children’s events in Scotland. We’re pleased to be working with Historic Scotland to stage this special open day, just a few days after this year’s Fair.
“Volunteer guides will take people through part of the House and explain its fascinating history. We also hope to bring the house to life with live performances of renaissance music throughout the afternoon.
“Admission is free of charge.”
Kinneil House dates back to the 15th century and was once home to the Dukes of Hamilton. The building was re-modelled in the 1540s and transformed into a stately home in the 1660s.
The mansion 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 RomanFortlet – 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 ofKinneil House. The museum is open throughout the year, from 12.30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Saturday (as well as House open days). Admission is free. The museum interprets the House and the wider estate and features an audio visual show and hands-on exhibits.
To find out more about Kinneil, visit www.kinneil.org.uk
NOTES FOR EDITORS
- Kinneil House and Museum is just off the A993 (Dean Road) – the main road through Bo’ness. For location information visit www.kinneil.org.uk/map or call KinneilMuseum on 01506 778530. Follow signs for “Kinneil Estate and Museum”.
- Bo’ness Children’s Fair is thought to be the biggest event of its type in Scotland. Modelled on Lanark’s Lanimer Day it was launched in 1897 – and involves the coronation of a Fair Queen. Kinneil House was an early backdrop for the official ceremony; this week’s event will take place in another local park, a short distance away. Find out more at www.thefairday.com
- The history of Kinneil dates back to 1323 when lands were granted by Robert I to Walter Fitzgilbert of Hamildon, the head of the family which later produced the Dukes of Hamilton. The Hamiltons’ main seat was in west central Scotland but over the centuries Kinneil became their base in the east. In the 1400s they built a small tower house here in an easily defensible position overlooking a ravine. In the late 1400s or early 1500s the tower house was enlarged. In 1553 James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran, built a palace to the north east of the tower house to its north east. In 1667, William, 3rd Duke of Hamilton and his wife Anne launched a major expansion of Kinneil House. Within a century, however, the Hamiltons had ceased to use Kinneil, and rented it out to tenants.
- The Friends of Kinneil was set up in 2006 to support and promote the development of Kinneil House and the surrounding estate and area, and to enhance and protect its heritage. Over the past few years it has worked with Historic Scotland to improve public access to Kinneil House, running free open days throughout the year. It also takes part in other activities within the estate. The Friends of Kinneil is a registered charity (Charity Registration Number: SC 038368). Find out more at www.kinneil.org.uk/friends
- Kinneil House is one of 345 heritage properties and sites throughout Scotland in the care of Historic Scotland. From the Highlands and Islands to the Borders, these range from prehistoric dwellings to medieval castles, and from cathedrals to industrial buildings. They include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. For further details visit: www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/places