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Kinneil House

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2016.

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Kinneil, a village, a barony, and an ancient parish on the NW border of Linlithgowshire. The village, standing on the coast of the Firth of Forth, 5 furlongs WSW of Borrowstounness, shares in the business and institutions of that town, and contains ironworks, with four blast furnaces. Pop. (1861) 365, (1871) 370, (1881) 373. The barony, which lies around the village, was given by Robert Bruce to Sir Walter Hamilton, ancestor of the Dukes of Hamilton, and has ever since remained in possession of his descendants. In its physical aspects, it is noted for an expanse of rich carse land contiguous to the Forth, and for traces of the line of Antoninus' Wall. Kinneil House, 1¼ mile WSW of Borrowstounness, had undergone large repairs by the Regent Arran not many years before it was plundered and burned by Queen Mary's opponents in 1568-70. In the reign of Charles II. it was altered and highly embellished by Duchess Anne and Duke William, then passing from the character of a feudal keep to that of three sides of a quadrangle, surmounted by cornice and balusters. Crowning the edge of a bank that rises 60 feet above sea-level, and commanding from its flat lead-covered roof an extensive and beautiful view, it is approached by a fine avenue of old trees, and surrounded with a considerable quantity of natural wood. It once had such rich internal decorations as to be described by Sibbald as a ` princely seat; ' but, having lost favour with its noble proprietors as a desirable residence, it last was tenanted from 1809 till shortly before his death in 1828 by Dugald Stewart, who here wrote most of his celebrated works. Prior to this, about 1764, Kinneil had been the place where James Watt matured some of his improvements on the steam-engine. (See also Gil Burn.) The ancient parish, quite or nearly identical with the barony had Borrowstounness disjoined from it in 1649, and itself was united therewith in 1669.—Ord. Sur., sh. 31, 1867.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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