Medieval curse threat to Kinneil Estate paint spray vandals

Kinneil Kirk defacing cleanup
Kinneil Kirk defacing cleanup

Vandals who daubed graffiti and offensive images on the wall of Kinneil Kirk in lurid blue paint face the wrath of a 350-year-old curse.

The Gazette reported last week on the damage caused to the 12th century listed building, more properly known as St Katherine’s Church in Kinneil Estate.

Specialists had to be brought in to test the various sections of the affected wall.

A major worry for the Friends of Kinneil was that, if the graffiti could not be removed by conventional means, experts using laser techniques to remove the paint would be required.

The cost of such specialised services would have run into thousands of pounds.

Police Scotland this week issued a renewed appeal for assistance.

A spokesman said: “Officers from Bo’ness are seeking the public’s help in identifying those responsible for mindless graffiti to the bell tower of the 12th century Kinneil Kirk.

“The ruins sit behind Kinneil House on the other side of the Gill Burn in the grounds of Kinneil Estate.

“They were damaged sometime between 4pm on Friday, July 10, and Saturday, July 11.

Constable Kielty who is investigating the incident commented: “This mindless act of vandalism has caused significant damage to a building of huge historical importance.

“I would ask anyone who knows the identity of those responsible to contact me on 101 or anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Police Scotland has confirmed it will be working closely with partner agencies to provide an increased presence in the area surrounding Kinneil Woods to try and identify those responsible.

And it can be reported that a group of dedicated volunteers have made significant progress with the clearing of the graffiti.

Maria Ford, chairwoman of the Friends of Kinneil said: “A brush and non-ionic detergent combined with significant elbow grease is shifting the majority of it without damaging the stone or mortar.

“We’re also going to try a low pressure jet washer on the higher stuff.”

Although Kinneil Estate is administered by Falkirk Community Trust, the buildings are under the care of Historic Scotland.

In 1662, it is said that the minister, Rev. William Wishart, preached a farewell sermon at Kinneil Kirk.

Laying his hands on the Bible he is alleged to have said: “The proud mansion on the other side of the burn will bow three times to the old church before it is all down.”

He added that the first man who tried to demolish the church would not die a natural death.

A warning there perhaps for the blue paint brigade?