Category Archives: Uncategorized

Will you see Kinneil’s ‘White Lady’? Free Hallowe’en tours on 26 October

The ancient Kinneil House will be open for free family guided tours with a Hallowe’en theme on Saturday 26 October. Youngsters are being encouraged to turn up in fancy dress. The best-dressed child will win a book token.

Tours run from 12 noon till 4pm, with the last admission at 3pm, and must be reserved online in advance of the tour date via www.historicenvironment.scot/events. Tour bookings are taken offline at midnight the day before the tour.

Our volunteers will add some spooky stories about the building’s past into the family-friendly tours. The House is said to be haunted by the ghost of a White Lady.

Kinneil House, built in the mid-16th Century, was once a home of the powerful Hamilton family. It features some of the finest wall paintings of that period in Scotland – and also has links to characters such Mary, Queen of Scots, and James Watt, the famous inventor.

The adjacent Kinneil Museum will also be open free throughout the afternoon. The museum features relics dating back to Roman times, as well as video displays and hands-on exhibits.

Halloween poster

See inside Kinneil House on 5 October

DSC_0045

Historic Kinneil House will be open for free guided tours (booking essential) on Saturday 5 October.

Tours run from 10am till 4pm, with the last admission at 3pm, and must be reserved online in advance of the tour date via www.historicenvironment.scot/events. Availability is limited, so book now to avoid disappointment. The Historic Environment Scotland (HES) booking page advises: “Please be aware that tour bookings are taken offline at midnight the day prior to the tour date. If the date you wish to book has no availability, please contact us and we will advise if an additional tour can be provided on that date. Please phone 0131 558 9326 or email communityevents@hes.scot”.

The tours inside the house are operated and hosted by HES, with some of our own volunteer guides from the Friends of Kinneil also in support.

Kinneil House was for centuries a magnificent mansion of one of the country’s most powerful families – the Hamiltons. It boasts some of Scotland’s finest 16th-Century wall paintings, and also a unique association with James Watt, who secretly worked here on his steam engine and whose Bicentenary is being marked this year.

DSC_0015

For any queries about the house tours please contact Historic Environment Scotland. For information on future open dates, please visit www.historicenvironment.scot/events or www.kinneil.org.uk.

On 5 October there will also be a display in adjacent Kinneil Museum (free admission) to seek your views about designs for some proposed new ‘Hidden Heritage’ outdoor interpretation panels to be installed in Kinneil Estate.

The story of James Watt and John Roebuck at Kinneil – talk on 26 September

Come along to a talk in Bo’ness (St Catharine’s Church Hall, Cadzow Crescent) at 7.30pm this Thursday evening, 26 September, to find out more about James Watt’s pioneering development work on the steam engine at Kinneil 250 years ago.

The patent he took out in 1769, in partnership with Dr John Roebuck of Kinneil House, is one of the most important and celebrated in the history of world technology.

2019 has also marked the Bicentenary of the death of James Watt, with events taking place all over the UK and beyond.

Ian Shearer, Chair of the Friends of Kinneil, will tell the fascinating story of Roebuck and Watt – a tale of visionary enterprise, industrial espionage, personal setbacks and failures, but also progress in developing one of the greatest Scottish inventions and in their other projects in this area of Scotland.

This is a joint event with the Bo’ness Town Trust Association to kick off their excellent series of autumn and winter lectures. If you’re at all interested in local history and heritage, and in meeting new people, talk to both organisations about membership – each priced at just £3, to be included in events and activities throughout the year!

James Watt Cottage (2)

Building limes experts visit Kinneil as new case study published

On Saturday 21 September, Kinneil House welcomed a large number of visiting delegates from the ongoing Building Limes Forum conference in Stirling, for guided tours.

With their expert knowledge, many showed great interest in the surviving evidence of the 16C/17C construction & finishing techniques applied at this very significant building, but also in the exceptional original wall paintings from those periods.

DSC_0012

More information about the paintings is available in what is still considered the most authoritative account of them by one of the men who saved Kinneil House from demolition in 1936 – James Richardson, HM Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Scotland – who then went on to conserve the paintings and much of what remains of the house. His 1941 paper can be read here.

Peter Ranson, District Architect for Historic Environment Scotland (HES), also showed delegates the recently-restored orchard wall outside. To co-incide with the visit, HES has now published a new technical case study about this project.

refurbishment-case-study-36

The Friends of Kinneil would like to pass on thanks to all for visiting and for the level of interest. Unfortunately the tours were too short to present all the many layers of history in and around the house, and to continue the lively questioning and discussion. It demonstrated what a considerable amount of research is still to be done on Kinneil’s fabric and history – it is hoped visitors may spread the word, return and lead further in-depth study!

Kinneil House open, 21 September, as Real Ale Festival raises glass to James Watt

Historic Kinneil House will be open again for free guided tours (booking essential) on Saturday 21 September, co-inciding with the 19th annual Bo’ness Real Ale Festival. This year, the festival is commemorating the Bicentenary of the death of James Watt, and his pioneering work on the steam engine at Kinneil 250 years ago with his then patron Dr John Roebuck of Kinneil House, the co-founder of the Carron Ironworks near Falkirk. Why not combine a visit to both events?

Open Day 21 Sept

Tours run from 10am till 4pm, with the last admission at 3pm, and must be reserved online in advance of the tour date via www.historicenvironment.scot/events . Availability is limited, so book now to avoid disappointment. The Historic Environment Scotland (HES) booking page advises: “Please be aware that tour bookings are taken offline at midnight the day prior to the tour date. If the date you wish to book has no availability, please contact us and we will advise if an additional tour can be provided on that date. Please phone 0131 558 9326 or email communityevents@hes.scot”.

The tours inside the house are operated and hosted by HES, with some of our own volunteer guides also in support.

For any queries about the house tours please contact Historic Environment Scotland. For information on future open dates, please visit www.historicenvironment.scot/events or www.kinneil.org .

See also ‘James Watt remembered at town’s local real ale festival’ on the James Watt Bicentenary web site, which also lists other events during this year of commemoration. James Watt’s workshop at Kinneil will feature on the special glass to be issued to those attending the festival.

Free talk, ‘The Antonine Wall Distance Tablets’, by Geoff Bailey, 19 September

Come along to a free talk by Geoff Bailey in Bo’ness Library at 2pm on Thursday afternoon, 19 September, hosted by the Friends of Kinneil in association with Falkirk Community Trust as part of its Big Roman Week festival.

70098172_2402127343157953_7342199042929065984_o

Geoff is an excellent speaker and historian, with unrivalled knowledge and experience over many years of our Roman heritage, as district archaeologist for the Falkirk area.

The Roman inscriptions marking the construction of the Antonine Wall are a most remarkable collection, unique to this frontier. They are very ornate and the iconography tells us a lot about Roman attitude to the frontier. They also inform us about the way in which the work on the linear frontier was divided up amongst the various legions and what they called it. But where were they set up and who was the intended audience?

Please note that although the main library (a heritage building) is on the ground floor and has good accessibility – the main meeting rooms, where the talk will take place, are up one flight of stairs on the first floor. There is no lift.

No booking needed, free event.

History of Kinneil Kirk, by Geoff Bailey

Kinneil is among the oldest known parishes in Scotland, long pre-dating Bo’ness.

It was referred to in the early 8th Century by the historian Bede, and is also associated with mediaeval accounts of the legend of the 6th-Century missionary, St Serf.

Kinneil may therefore have been a site of Christian worship for 1,500 years or more. The surviving ruin of Kinneil Kirk dates back to the 12th Century. The church was for many centuries a local landmark, and a beacon to shipping in the Firth of Forth.

Historian and district archaeologist Geoff Bailey has written an excellent short history of Kinneil Kirk, which was first produced for the Falkirk Local History Society.

Geoff has kindly agreed to us also making his booklet available here to the widest possible readership. Together with his history of the estate, and his wider archaeological research in the area, it will be an invaluable resource for all those interested in Kinneil’s exceptional history.

In 2014, Geoff and others undertook further excavations and preservation work at Kinneil Kirk as part of the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative, an account of which is available here. His history of the Kirk was then also published in print version by Falkirk Community Trust. Hard copies of this are available in Kinneil Museum.

DSC_0989

 

Doors Open Day, 14 September, and start of Big Roman Week

Historic Kinneil House will be open for free guided tours on Saturday 14 September for Doors Open Day, and with additional Roman-themed activities marking the first day of Big Roman Week.

DSC_0980

Free Kinneil House tours on 14 September run from 10am till 4pm, with the last admission at 3pm, and must be reserved online in advance of the tour date via www.historicenvironment.scot/events. Availability is limited, so book now to avoid disappointment. The Historic Environment Scotland (HES) booking page advises: “Please be aware that tour bookings are taken offline at midnight the day prior to the tour date. If the date you wish to book has no availability, please contact us and we will advise if an additional tour can be provided on that date. Please phone 0131 558 9326 or email communityevents@hes.scot”.

The ‘Roman Day’ aspect of the event is this year provided by the ‘Re-Discovering the Antonine Wall’ project (which is substantially funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund) team. Replica Roman tents will be on display outside the museum at Kinneil from 10am to 3pm to give an idea of what it was like for a Roman soldier to be on military campaign in Scotland.

Other Roman reproductions include a military flask, pottery and weapons. The organisers state, ‘This is your chance to handle a gladius – the short stabbing sword used by the legionaries – feel the weight. Experts will be on hand to put the objects into context and provide additional information’.

You can visit and enjoy the Roman activities even if not booked for a house tour.

Doors Open Days is Scotland’s largest free festival that celebrates heritage and the built environment. It offers free access to over a thousand venues across the country throughout September, every year. Co-ordinated nationally by the Scottish Civic Trust, it is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Big Roman Week, organised by Falkirk Community Trust, runs from 14 to 22 September and sees a broad range of events taking place across the area, celebrating the Roman heritage surrounding the Antonine Wall World Heritage Site, which extends across Central Scotland and includes Kinneil Estate. A copy of the full programme of events (pdf) is available here – including other events in Bo’ness, and a free guided walk from Kinneil to Polmont on Sunday 15 September.

The tours inside the house are operated by HES, with some of our own volunteer guides also in support. For any queries about the house tours please contact Historic Environment Scotland, or about Big Roman Week activities please contact Falkirk Community Trust.

BRW2019

Bo’ness Revival – Historic Hill Climb & Classic Car Event, 31 August/1 September

As if all its other layers of world-class heritage weren’t enough, Kinneil is also Scotland’s first true motor-racing venue! The spectacular Hill Climb event lives on, & it’s this weekend: find out more at the Bo’ness Revival web site (and/or Facebook page).

The 2019 event celebrates the 60th anniversary of Jim Clark at Bo’ness in 1959.

This year, Historic Scotland will also open the magnificent Kinneil House to racegoers (event ticket-holders) from 1-4pm on Sunday, 1 September – visitors will be able to speak to Historic Scotland guides, and to some of our own volunteers, inside the house to learn more of its history (no set tour times, open access subject to limited numbers at any one time).

69717253_2229290000521516_3868737726547230720_n

Join The Friends of Kinneil – now only £3! Meet us at Volunteer Fayre, 29 August, to find out more

The membership subscription to join The Friends of Kinneil is now just £3/year, or £5 for couples/families!

Following our recent AGM, it was agreed to introduce these new, reduced rates so as to make membership of the award-winning heritage charity as accessible as possible to the widest number of people.

Are you interested in the fantastic history and heritage of the local area? Would you like to show your support for our objectives to see further development of Kinneil House, Museum, Estate and Nature Reserve – and the surrounding area? Do you enjoy meeting people, volunteering and have skills which could be helpful to us? Are you a newcomer to Bo’ness, or established resident, and keen to become involved in a friendly and enthusiastic group which in 2016 won a Scottish Heritage Angel Award for our commitment to heritage volunteering?

  • Discover 2,000 years of history
  • Explore local and world heritage
  • Support conservation activities
  • Enjoy open days and social events
  • Help fundraising and development.

Then please join us! You’ll find all the details of how to join, and an application form, on our ‘Friends’ page. A group/corporate subscription is also available at £25/year.

If you’d first like to find out more and talk to some of our existing members, why not come along to the free Bo’ness Volunteer Fayre this Thursday, 2-8pm, in Bo’ness Town Hall? You’ll also be able to talk to many other groups carrying out a range of fantastic activities across the town. You can find all the details on the poster below. Or just contact us by e-mail or telephone, or come to another of our events – we’d be happy to tell you more about the benefits of membership.

Groups such as ours could not continue and succeed without all the amazing efforts of the people who support and help us, and we rely on a wide range of skills to do this – read our ‘Volunteering’ page for examples. Most of all we need support and enthusiasm. so please join us, or simply make a donation, even if you’re not able to contribute volunteering time – we understand everyone’s other commitments.

We hope to see some of you very soon!

Volunteer Fair August 2019