Set within a carefully designed park landscape Kinneil House or Palace was built for James Hamilton the second Earl of Arran when he was the Protector and Governor of Scotland from 1542 to 1554 during the minority of Mary, Queen of Scots. For a few short years it was the seat of Scottish government.
It still houses the best 16th and 17th century murals in Scotland. The bed chamber is now known as the Arbour room and the painting is full of foliage, scrolls and animals. This was later painted over in imitation of wainscoting and a coffered ceiling containing the 1621 coat of arms of Arran. The withdrawing chamber has a number of biblical scenes on the walls, notably the Good Samaritan.
In 1677 Anne Duchess of Hamilton began a programme of renovation, producing the house and grounds as they appear today. By the late 18th century the house was being let. Inventor, industrialist and part-founder of Carron Company Dr John Roebuck lived here 1764-94. Dugald Stewart the philosopher was the last tenant 1809-1828.
The grounds are also the setting for events connected with Roman Week, which runs from 17th to 24th September. The Antonine Wall runs close to the House and the remains of a Roman fortlet can be seen. There is also a 12th century church. Kinneil Museum, located in the old coachhouse, is open 2-4pm.
Building Date: 16th century