Kinneil the village is considerably older than Borrowstounness but it declined while Bo’ness prospered. The church dates back to the 12th century and was a landmark for ships entering the harbour until it was officially supressed in 1669
The Kinneil estate behind which the church and graveyards lie, towers prominently high, sixty feet above sea level. Kinneil House has been the country seat of the influential Hamiltons since the 16th century. The lands were granted to Walter fitz Gilbert by King Robert The Bruce in 1314, Sir Gilbert was the first of the Hamiltons, he had fought with Bruce at Bannockburn, and was one of the seven knights to protect the king’s body.
Monarchs visited often, it was an ideal palace for their courts. Kinneil is situated conveniently in between the royal strongholds Edinburgh and Stirling. The house was pillaged and burned several times throughout the centuries. It is now open to the public at very restricted times only. But it is worth a visit, for several artefacts on display there.
The Kinneil Cross or Kinneil Rood is a large sculptured stone bearing a representation of Christ on the cross, but heavily defaced. It is currently on display at Kinneil House but was found in a secondary context in the foundations of Kinneil Old Parish Church during excavations in 1951. It belongs to a rare class of sculpture known as rood crosses, and is the only known example from Scotland.
The members of the Ducal House were generally buried at Hamilton Palace in Hamilton. Alexander, the tenth Duke, constructed the famous mausoleum there, which cost £150,000, and took twelve years to build.
The graveyard behind Kinneil house was one for the villagers, not for the Hamilton. It is all that remains of the village at Kinneil.
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