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Old Kirk, Kinneil, Bo'ness, West Lothian, (see also: Kinneil House, cross)

(56°0′23″N, 3°38′14″W)
Kinneil, Bo'ness
NS 980 805
pre-1975 traditional (Scotland) West Lothian
now Falkirk
medieval St. Andrews
now n/a
medieval St Catherine
  • James King
  • Neil Cameron
31 Oct 2011

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Feature Sets

The church is now ruinous, only the W gable and foundations remaining. The excavated plan of the church shows that it originally consisted of a rectangular nave and narrower rectangular chancel. A S extension was added at a later date; this is traditionally referred to as the 'laird's loft'. The church was disused from about 1670 and a fire occurred in 1745. Excavations show that there is likely to have been an earlier structure on the site, but it has not been determined whether this was a church or something else. The present building possesses no surviving sculptural features; a simple base for a nook-shaft was recorded in 1951 but subsequently went missing. The most significant item from the church is a large stone cross, excavated on the site in 1951, which is now housed at nearby Kinneil House (See: Bo’Ness, Kinneil House).


The earliest reference to the church occurs in the mid-12thc. Herbert Camerius (1130-c.1163) granted the church to Holyrood Abbey. This was confirmed by King Malcolm IV between 1160 and 1163. Richard, Bishop of St Andrews (1163-1198), mentions tithes of mills and a salt pan among the pertinents in a confirmation charter. Herbert Camerius received his lands from King David I, but the previous owner is unknown. In 1251, the vicarage was rated at ten marks. From 1323, the church was in the hands of the Hamilton family. In 1512 there was a grant from Easter Cracky of £10 to a chaplain serving an altar at Kinneil.


Loose Sculpture


It is generally thought that the primary ruins of the church (without the S extension) date from the Romanesque period.


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.