Antonine Wall, Kinneil House, romans

Romans march on Kinneil – free family event this Saturday

Roman soldiers are due to march on historic Kinneil House in Bo’ness this weekend.

The Antonine Guard re-enactment group will be out in force setting up camp as part of a heritage day on Saturday 24 September.

There will also be tours of the mansion and the wider Kinneil Estate, demonstrations of Roman crafts and artefacts, and some other children’s activities provided by TCV Scotland and the Friends of Kinneil. The Britannia XIV re-enactment group will also provide medieval displays.

Saturday’s free event – which will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – is one of the final events of this year’s Big Roman Week festival, which aims to raise the profile of the Roman Antonine Wall in Falkirk district.

Important visitor information:

  • There will be limited parking in the estate – please leave vehicles elsewhere and walk/cycle into the estate if possible.
  • No booking needed for the free outdoor activities – just turn up throughout the day to see them. To join the outdoor guided walk to Kinneil Roman Fortlet, this will leave from outside Kinneil Museum (also open, free) at 2 p.m. and take around one hour.
  • Booking is, however, required for indoor tours of Kinneil House throughout the day – limited remaining tickets. To check availability and reserve tickets, visit the Historic Environment Scotland booking page. One or two additional tickets may be available at the door on the day in the event of any last-minute cancellations.
  • Unfortunately there will be no food and drink on sale at the event – please bring your own refreshments. Additional toilet facilities will be available at this event.
  • Please check the Friends of Kinneil Facebook/Twitter pages before arrival for any event updates.

Ian Shearer, of The Friends of Kinneil charity, said: “Members of the Antonine Guard are always a big draw and we hope lots of local families will come along to Kinneil on Saturday (September 24).

“Admission to the event will be free of charge. There will be limited parking: please walk into the estate if possible.

“To see inside Kinneil House as well, you need to book tours separately in advance from Historic Environment Scotland’s web site – a few tickets remaining. We’ll also offer a free outdoor tour of the estate at 2 p.m. – no booking needed. 

“We’ll have all the details on our website – at – and on our social media channels. We’d like to thank all the event partners and helpers.”

Other final events for this year’s Big Roman Week will include:

  • A talk on the Bridgeness Slab (or Tablet) – at Bo’ness Library on Thursday, September 22, at 7.30 p.m. Dr Louisa Campbell from the University of Glasgow will give an insight into how the tablet once looked – and talk about her work to analyse remnants from Scotland’s Roman frontier.
  • An update on recent archaeological work at Mumrills, by Laurieston. Mumrills was the largest fort on the Antonine Wall. The talk, by local historian Geoff Bailey, will run at Bo’ness Library on Friday, September 23, from 2.30 p.m.
  • There will also be children’s events at Bo’ness Library on Friday (from 4 to 5 p.m.) and Saturday (from 10.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m.). Children will be able to make Roman pots and recreate the Antonine Wall in LEGO.

The festival will end with a guided walk to Carriden Roman fort site in Bo’ness on Sunday, September 25.

En route, walkers will visit the Roman-inspired Gate Guardian sculpture at Kinneil, the Bridgeness Tablet Roman replica and the site of a Roman camp near the Drum housing estate. The walk will leave the outside of Kinneil Museum, Bo’ness, at 1.30 p.m. on Sunday.

Mr Shearer said: “Our events are free of charge, and you just have to turn up – although we are asking people to book places at the children’s events at Bo’ness Library, and for the tours inside Kinneil House.”

The Friends of Kinneil started Big Roman Week in 2009, a year after the Antonine Wall became a World Heritage Site.

Mr Shearer said: “Normally events are concentrated around September 19, which was the birthday of Emperor Antoninus Pius. 

“Of course, this year came the sad death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and her funeral on September 19.

“As a mark of respect, planned Big Roman Week events for that day were cancelled. A new film about the Antonine Wall, which had been scheduled to be screened locally that day, will now be shown at the Bo’ness Hippodrome cinema in October.”

For more updates visit @kinneil and @bigromanweek on Twitter and the charity’s Facebook channel at 

The Antonine Guard at Kinneil House. Image by Adrian Mahoney.


The Antonine Wall was built around 142AD on the orders of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius.

The turf and stone frontier – more accurately a turf rampart fronted by a wide and deep ditch – ran from Bo’ness right through Falkirk district to Old Kilpatrick, near Glasgow. Along the line of the Wall were a series of forts and fortlets.

The defensive system was designed to hold back Caledonian tribes from invading southern Scotland, then under Roman rule.

The Antonine Wall covered around 40 Roman miles, with around a third of the structure being constructed in Falkirk district.

The Wall was abandoned in the 160s when the Romans retreated to Hadrian’s Wall in northern England.

Today, many parts of the Antonine Wall lie under towns and settlements, built long after the Romans departed Scotland. However, evidence of the wall’s ramparts and buildings can still be found.

However, the local area is fortunate in having a number of highly visible parts of the Antonine Wall. As well as the remains of a fortlet at Kinneil, and a fort at Rough Castle, near Bonnybridge, the Antonine Wall can also be seen at Polmont Woods; Watling Lodge, Tamfourhill (near the Falkirk Wheel), Callendar Park in Falkirk; Seabegs Woods, near Bonnybridge; and Castlecary Roman Fort, near Allandale. You can also see the replica of a Roman tablet at Bridgeness, Bo’ness.

In addition, there are free exhibitions on the Romans in local museums, Callendar House, Falkirk, and Kinneil in Bo’ness. Outside the district, there are displays in the Auld Kirk Museum in Kirkintilloch; the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow; and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The Wall became part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site in 2008, joining Hadrian’s Wall and the German Limes frontier. It also meant that Falkirk district became home to Scotland’s fifth world heritage site.


The Friends of Kinneil charity works to promote and develop Kinneil Estate, a historical park at the western edge of Bo’ness. The group founded the Big Roman Week festival in 2009 to raise awareness of the area’s Roman links. The Festival is always held around September 19 – the date of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius’s birthday.

The Friends of Kinneil is a registered charity. Charity Registration Number : SC038368

Visit the charity and find out more at

Big Roman Week also has a dedicated listings website at

Issued by Adrian Mahoney, THE PR STORE

On behalf of the Friends of Kinneil
Tel: 07967 150560 or email: