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Tower of Kinneil House, Bo'ness

A Category A Listed Building in Bo'Ness, Falkirk

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.0073 / 56°0'26"N

Longitude: -3.6341 / 3°38'2"W

OS Eastings: 298206

OS Northings: 680580

OS Grid: NS982805

Mapcode National: GBR 1Q.TKK7

Mapcode Global: WH5R2.48RK

Plus Code: 9C8R2948+W9

Entry Name: Tower of Kinneil House, Bo'ness

Listing Name: Kinneil House including footbridge over Gil Burn, gatepiers to west and east and boundary walls, Bo'ness

Listing Date: 22 February 1971

Last Amended: 3 August 2017

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 406818

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB22358

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Bo'Ness

County: Falkirk

Town: Bo'Ness

Electoral Ward: Bo'ness and Blackness

Traditional County: West Lothian

Description

Description:

Kinneil House is an L-plan building comprising a late 15th century tower house and a 16th century palace wing, both with 17th century additions and remodelling. It is built in sandstone, coursed tooled and random rubble and some harling remains. There are gunloops in the west elevation of the tower.

The east (principal) elevation of the tower consists of a 5-storey, 3-bay central section flanked by advanced lower 4-storey towers with pyramidal roofs. The central section has a doorpiece (now part-obscured by modern metal protective door) with a lugged architrave and bracketed segmental pediment and balustrade parapet.

The palace range is 3 storeys and 3 bays with crowstepped gables. Only the east end of this range is roofed.

The openings are predominantly boarded up and the roofed sections have replacement grey slates. The rainwater goods are cast iron and one hopper to the west elevation is dated '1980'.

The interior was seen in 2004. The tower lacks any internal floors or partition walls. Some lath and plaster, plaster cornices, stone chimneypieces and staircases survive. The corner tower have staircases with the north tower linking to the palace range.

The ground floor of the palace block is divided into barrel-vaulted cellars, one with a well, while the first floor has two rooms with important 16th century painted decoration. The Parable Room has a fine coffered oak ceiling and black line drawings with touches of colour set into architectural frames between the dado and frieze. The painted decoration predominantly depicts the biblical story of the Good Samaritan. The Arbour Room is tunnel vaulted and has mid-16th century and 1620s painted decoration. This has been partially removed revealing an earlier scheme. The painted decoration has foliate designs with didactic scrolls and roundels and depictions of biblical scenes, including Samson and Delilah and David and Bathsheba. A 1620s trompe l'oeil painted panelling remains partly in place.

On the approach avenue to the east of the house is a pair of large and impressive 17th century square plan gatepiers. They are squared rubble and ashlar corniced with ball-finials and have engaged columns to their east face.

To the west of the tower there is a deep gorge crossed by a single arched, stone footbridge. At the west end of this bridge is a pair of later, polygonal pedestrial gatepiers. They are droved sandstone and corniced with polygonal caps.

There is a boundary wall to the southeast. It is rubble with flat coping stones and has a further 17th century gatepier with engaged column now part-obscured by foliage. There are sections of high and low rubble walls to the northeast.

Statement of Special Interest:

Property in care of Scottish Ministers jointly with Falkirk Council. Part of an A group with Nos 2 and 4, 5, 6-8 Duchess Anne Cottages, Kinneil House bridge and Kinneil House walled garden.

Kinneil House is a well preserved example of a defensive tower that was gradually converted to more palatial living in the 17th century. The palace range has significant wall and ceiling painted decoration. It is approached from a now truncated avenue to the east.

The tower house was probably begun by James, 1st Lord Hamilton in the 1470s and was frequently remodelled, and it was later said to have been blown up by the Earl of Morton in 1570. The large palace range attached to the northeast corner of the tower, was probably constructed around 1553 to 1555. It is likely that the second Marquess of Hamilton extended it in the 1620s. Anne, Duchess of Hamilton began a further phase of work in the 1670s, remodelling the tower as a formal centrepiece and adding the linking towers with pyramidal roofs of what was intended to be a U-plan symmetrical building. The proposed southeast block to balance the earlier northeast palace block was never begun.

Kinneil House remained the property of the Hamiltons until 1936 when the building was sold to the burgh of Bo'ness who gave permission for it to be demolished. The main tower having been gutted, was saved from total demolition when, painted decoration were found in the palace range. . Some restoration work was carried out to the wall and ceiling paintings in 1936-8 by John Houston. Some reroofing and replacement of rainwater goods took place in 1980. Much of the land to the east and southeast has been built up with modern housing.

The house had two famous tenants in the 18th and 19th centuries. Dr John Roebuck, founder of the Carron Iron Works, lived there from 1764-94 and is buried in Carriden Old Church Churchyard (LB22347). The moral philosopher Dugald Stewart was resident from 1809-28.

The tower sits on the line of the Antonine Wall which is a scheduled monument (SM2210) and is in the Antonine Wall World Heritage Site.

Category of listing changed from B to A on 23/03/2006.

Statutory address and listed building record revised in 2017. Previously listed as 'Kinneil, Kinneil House including gatepiers to west and east and boundary walls'.

References:

Canmore: http://canmore.org.uk/ CANMORE ID 48195

Statement of Interest

SCHEDULED ANCIENT MONUMENT. PROPERTY IN CARE jointly with Falkirk Council. Part of an A group with Nos 2 and 4, 5, 6-8 Duchess Anne Cottages, Kinneil House bridge and Kinneil House walled garden.

An important and impressive tower house and palice range with significant wall and ceiling painted decoration reached from a now truncated avenue to the E. The tower house was probably begun by James, 1st Lord Hamilton in the 1470s and was frequently remodelled, and it was later said to have been blown up by the Earl of Morton in 1570. The large NE palice block was attached to the tower and was probably contructed c1553-5. It is likely that the second Marquess of Hamilton extended it in the 1620s. Anne, Duchess of Hamilton began a further phase of work in the 1670s, remodelling the tower as a formal centrepiece and adding the linking towers with pyramidal roofs of what was intended to be a U-plan building but the proposed SE block to balance the earlier NE palice block was never begun.

Kinneil House remained the property of the Hamiltons until 1936 when the building was sold to the burgh of Bo'ness who gave permission for it to be demolished. Upon discovery of the painted decoration work was halted, although the tower block had by then been gutted. Some restoration work was carried out to the wall and ceiling paintings in 1936-8 by John Houston. Some reroofing and replacement of rainwater goods took place in 1980. Much of the land to the E and SE has been built up with modern housing.

The house had two famous tenants in the 18th and 19th centuries. Dr John Roebuck, founder of the Carron Iron Works, lived there from 1764-94 and is buried in Carriden Old Church Churchyard (see separate list description). The moral philosopher Dugald Stewart was resident from 1809-28.

Kinneil House lies within the amenity zone for the Antonine Wall recommended in D N Skinner The Countryside of the Antonine Wall (1973), and which will form the basis of the buffer zone, yet to be defined, for the proposed Antonine Wall World Heritage Site.

Category changed from B to A, 23 March 2006.

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