Visit Kinneil House for free on August 26

Kinneil House, Kinneil Estate, Bo'nessHISTORIC Kinneil House in Bo’ness – which boasts some of the best renaissance wall paintings in Scotland – opens its doors for free tours this Sunday (August 26, 2012).

The open afternoon has been organised by Historic Scotland in conjunction with the charity The Friends of Kinneil. The building, which dates back to the 15th century, was once home to the powerful Hamilton family.

Visitors will be able to see inside the property from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, with the last admission at 3.30 p.m.

The event will tie in with a free family fun day being held in the surrounding Kinneil Estate. The event will have a Roman theme, acknowledging the area’s Roman roots. The line of the Roman Antonine Wall passes right next to Kinneil House and there are the remains of a Roman fortlet nearby.

Maria Ford, the chair of the Friends of Kinneil, said: "Kinneil House is a wonderful place to visit and I’d encourage people to come along and enjoy the free tours and the fun day on Sunday.

"The House features wonderful renaissance wall paintings, recently used to inspire some of the renovation works at Stirling Castle’s palace. It has also been linked to great historic figures: from Mary, Queen of Scots to the inventor James Watt."

One of the wall paintings at Kinneil HouseThe charity has been working with Historic Scotland since 2006. Together the organisations run free tours around the building during special open days. At other times visitors can tour the grounds and find out more in the neighbouring Kinneil Museum, which will also be open on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday’s Kinneil Heritage Day starts at 12.30 p.m. (although the House will be accessible from noon).

The Roman re-enactment group The Antonine Guard will be on hand to entertain the crowds. Youngsters are also being urged to dress up as Romans for the chance to win a prize.

The fun day organiser, Falkirk Community Trust – with the support of Falkirk Council – is also promising:

  • displays from Alba Falconry and their birds of prey;
  • archery from the Falkirk Company of Archers;
  • face-painting for youngsters;
  • on-site storytelling from local librarians;
  • a charity market;
  • inflatable fun;
  • a climbing wall; and
  • craft workshops.

Mrs Ford said: "With the additional attractions in the surrounding Kinneil Estate, Kinneil House will be busy this Sunday. My advice would be to come along early to get the best view. Here’s hoping the sun shines and we have a lovely day at Kinneil this weekend."



Inside the Parable Room at Kinneil HouseKinneil House is located on the western edge of Bo’ness, off the A904 (follow signs for Kinneil Estate and Museum). Set in a public park, the oldest part of Kinneil House is a 15th century tower remodelled by the Earl of Arran between 1546 and 1550 and transformed into a stately home for the Dukes of Hamilton in the 1660s.

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 a series of free open days. 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



To find out more about Kinneil – including details on future open days and driving directions – visit http://www.kinneil.org.uk