HISTORIC Kinneil House in
Bo'ness is opening its doors to visitors this weekend.
The building - which houses some
of the best Renaissance wall paintings in Scotland - will provide
free access on Saturday, April 21,
and Sunday, April 22, from 12 noon until 3 p.m. on both days.
Friends of Kinneil
The opening has been organised by
the heritage group The Friends of Kinneil in conjunction with Historic
Scotland. It ties in with the government agency's Free Weekend which
will see more than 70 Historic Scotland properties open to the public
free of charge.
Adrian Mahoney, the chair of the
Friends of Kinneil, said: "Our members have been working closely
with Historic Scotland to provide additional access to the House
and to make people more aware of its fascinating history.
"We think this is the first
time in many years that the House has been open in the spring and
we hope people will pay a visit on April 21 and 22."
15th century Kinniel Estate
Kinneil House, which dominates Kinneil
Estate, dates back to the 15th century and was once a popular home
for the Dukes of Hamilton. The building was re-modelled in the 1540s
and transformed into a stately home in the 1660s.
In the early part of the 20th century,
the house and estate were sold to Bo'ness Town Council. In 1936,
the local authority stated demolition work, but halted the process
when the rare Renaissance wall paintings were discovered by a worker.
The buildings were put into the care
of the Ministry of Works, now Historic Scotland.
For the past two decades, access
to the house has been limited.
Historic Scotland delighted to be
able to open Kinneil House
However, Historic Scotland is now
working with The Friends of Kinneil to increase the number of public
Neil Young, Historic Scotland's visitor
services manager for the region, said: "We're delighted to
open up Kinneil as part of our wider Free Weekend.
We're also grateful to the local
volunteers for the Friends of Kinneil, who will be in the building
on both days, telling people about Kinneil's amazing history.
"Visitors to the House will
be able to see the painted rooms as well as important gravestones
and other artefacts found nearby.
Admission is Free of Charge
"Admission is free of charge.
But we can only allow limited numbers into the building at a time
for safety, so please come early to avoid queues."
The last admission will be 30 minutes
Mr Young said other local landmarks,
such as Linlithgow Palace, Torphichen Preceptory and Blackness Castle
would also be providing free access during the Free Weekend.
"The Weekend is your chance
to enjoy Scotland's finest and most famous castles, abbeys and ancient
monuments for free. We hope people will take this opportunity and
find out about Scotland's rich heritage," he said.
Museum also open
Kinneil Museum - run by Falkirk Council
- will also be open on April 21 and 22.
The museum provides an audio
visual show on the history of Kinneil House and the surrounding
estate, which also features a medieval church, a Roman fortlet and
a cottage used by inventor James Watt.