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Kinneil House, Kinneil, West Lothian (see also: Old Kirk, Kinneil)

(56°0′23″N, 3°38′2″W)
Kinneil, Bo'ness
NS 982 805
pre-1975 traditional (Scotland) West Lothian
now Falkirk
medieval St. Andrews
now n/a
  • James King
  • Neil Cameron
31 Oct 2011

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Feature Sets

A large stone cross, now kept in Kinneil House, was found during excavations of the nearby Kinneil church ruins in 1951. It was built into walling of the S extension (Laird’s Aisle). Both the house and the church are located close to the Roman Antonine Wall, near one of the Roman fortlets. The stone cross is decorated with a relief of a crucified Christ, and its dates vary from the 11thc through to the 12thc.


The village of Kinneil was cleared in the 17th century to create a park for the house, but the church continued to be in use as a family chapel until it accidentally burned in 1745.


Loose Sculpture


The cross has not received much academic attention, partly due to the fact that it is unique in Scotland and highly unusual. A 12thc date seems more likely, given the prominant ribs and cross type carved on the three terminal outer faces. A suggestion for its original location has been given as behind the altar at an elevated position. Another suggestion is that it may have served as part of the rude cross. The heavy weight of the stone block makes it unlikely that it was placed at a very high level; however, the back of the block suggests that the cross was built into or placed in front of a wall or other structure. The church itself is thought to be of 12thc construction. Kinneil House was purchased by the Bo’ness Town Council in 1922.


R. Fawcett, J. Luxford, R. Oram and T. Turpie, A Corpus of Scottish Medieval Parish Churches, http://arts.st-andrews.ac.uk/corpusofscottishchurches/.

D. M. Hunter, ‘Kinneil Church’, Transactions of the Glasgow Archaeological Society, XV (Part 4), 1967, 189-99.

D. MacGibbon and R. Ross, The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland, III, Edinburgh 1897, 578.

C. McWilliam, The Buildings of Scotland: Lothian, Harmondsworth 1978, 270.

RCAHMS, Inventory of Monuments - West Lothian, Edinburgh 1929, 189-90.