Getting Spooky at Kinneil

Kinneil House in Bo’ness – said to be haunted by the ghost of Lady Alice Lilbourne – is opening its doors for free tours on Sunday, October 27, 2013, from noon to 3 p.m.  just before Hallowe’en.

Volunteers from the charity The Friends of Kinneil will be on hand to tell visitors about Lady Alice Lilbourne, who was the wife of a Cromwellian General who was stationed at Kinneil House in the mid 17th century. The story goes that the marriage was not a happy one, and Lady Alice was locked into an attic room overlooking the rocky ravine and burn to the north of the House.

She escaped but was quickly recaptured only to fling herself out of the window to her death. Ever since, the White Lady has been said to haunt the house and its grounds.

Guides will also re-count stories of the local women tried for witchcraft and youngsters are being invited to dress up – with the best dressed winning a book token.

Kinneil House 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. It was last occupied by the philosopher Dugald Stewart and his wife in June 1823.

Demolition was halted in 1936 when Renaissance wall paintings – said to be amongst the finest in Scotland – were discovered and the property was put into the care of the Ministry of Works, now Historic Scotland.

Since the 1980s, access to the house has been limited. The Friends of Kinneil was set up in 2006 to promote Kinneil Estate and Foreshore in Bo’ness. The charity organises Kinneil House open days and other events for members and visitors. This is the last opening of 2013.

Neighbouring Kinneil Museum will also be open from 12.30 p.m.The Museum – run by Falkirk Community Trust – is open throughout the year, usually Mondays to Saturdays from 12.30 p.m. to 4 p.m., as well as any Sunday Kinneil House open days.

The museum provides an audio visual show on the history of Kinneil House and the surrounding Kinneil Estate, which also features a medieval church, a Roman fortlet and a cottage used by the inventor James Watt.

Please note that children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. The House also features winding stairs and some dark rooms – so won’t suit all visitors.

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Suse Coon

Suse Coon started life training to be an architect but ended up as a fashion buyer then civil servant. After some time out to bring up her family of three, she returned to what had been a hobby and entered the field of freelance journalism. After becoming regional correspondent, then editor of the orienteering magazine CompassSport, she formed Pages Editorial & Publishing Services. In this guise, West Lothian Life was launched, while Suse maintained a level of freelancing and wrote the award winning children's novel Richard's Castle. In 1999, Suse bought over CompassSport and found her time taken up pretty well exclusively with the two magazines. In 2004, West Lothian Life was expanded to form Lothian Life, however, the workload was too great. In 2006, CompassSport was sold and Suse concentrated on the web version of Lothian Life. Her hobbies include gardening, orienteering, sea kayaking and Tai Chi.

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