Carriden Castle is again, not really a castle. The original part of the house is a 16th century tower house of five stories, with a large modern mansion built around it. (see balhousie castle for another example.) Bartizans are present on each corner, but the roof pitch has been lowered during one of the restorations. Most of the windows have been enlarged to suit modern living, and the vaulted basements are currently being used as office space by the owners. They are restoring the interior bit by bit, and the public rooms (which are limited to the new wing of the house) are quite lovely, if a bit ‘in-the-works’. We didn’t get to see the original tower, which is the private part of the house for the family, except for a quick glimpse through the kitchen door, which is a secret door in the bookcase of the library.
The estate here was held by the Cockburn family from 1358 to 1541, when it passed to the Abercrombies. In 1601, the property was sold to Sir John Hamilton of Letterick, and he built most of the remaining buildings, including the wing of rooms now being used to house a bed and breakfast. It was sold to the Seatons, then passed through many families, including the Cornwalls of Bonhard, to the Hopes. It is privately owned now and being run as a friendly guest house. The grounds are lovely, as well, in a secluded area with several other manor houses.
We stayed here for one night before heading to Fife, in the biggest bedroom I’ve seen — we got the family room, since she didn’t have anything with a double bed otherwise — it was 12′ tall, and 22′ x 22′, at least. We felt like tiny little specs on the bed
Bo’Ness, by the way, is an interesting town. According to an email I received, Bo’ness is where Antonine Wall started, where the Hamilton family were given their first Barony by Robert the Bruce and built Kinneil Palace, and where James Watt developed his steam engine. I feel like we missed quite a lot by not exploring the town beyond wandering around for a restaurant.