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Ferniehirst_Castle

Ferniehirst Castle

Ferniehirst Castle (sometimes spelt Ferniehurst) is an L-shaped construction on the east bank of the river Jed about a mile and a half south of Jedburgh, Berwickshire, Scottish Borders, United Kingdom. This castle, which is privately owned is open to the public without charge at limited times.

History

The original castle, built by the Ker (or Kerr) family around 1470, was occupied by English forces in 1547 but they were dislodged by a force of Sir John Ker's clansmen, reinforced by French auxiliaries. The building was undermined, and reconstruction of the castle began in 1598. It was again damaged by an English retaliatory raid in 1570, after Sir Thomas Ker had raided northern England. James VI attacked the castle in 1593 as the Kers had assisted Francis Stewart, 1st Earl of Bothwell.

The Kers were for a long period Wardens of the Middle and East Marches.

The castle was unused in the 18th century, and re-roofed and repaired circa 1830, with a further major restoration of a part of it in 1890. It was used as a Youth Hostel from 1934 to 1984, apart from the Second World War, when it was requisitioned as a billet for troops.

In 1988 major repairs, restoration, and alterations were carried out, and the castle is once again a private home.

The Ker Chapel, 17th century, is part of the property. Probably originally a mortuary chapel, it was re-roofed in 1938 and had restrained conversion and repair in 1988.

Description

The shorter arm of this L-plan fortalice is the 16th century tower, containing the stair turret. The stair is in a spiral corbelled out in the angle. - the corbelling apparently more for elegance than for necessity. There are many shot-holes, allowing a wide angle for musket fire, and of the more restricted shut-holes used for ventillation.

Ferniehirst also has a romatic array of conically-capped corner turrets. These - known as studies - are not primarily defensive: they open from the rooms of the upper floor. There is some renaissance decoration around the windows and doors. The castle is approached through a classically-styled archway.

Traditions

The Kerr family was said to be left-handed, and their spiral stair-cases are also said to have spiralled to the left.

The castle is said to be haunted by a Green Lady.

References

  • Fenwick, Hugh, Scotland’s Castles, Robert Hale, 1976.
  • Keay, John & Julia,(editors), Collins Encyclopedia of Scotland, HarperCollins, 1994.
  • Coventry, Martin, The Castles of Scotland, Goblinshead, 2001,
  • Strang, Charles Alexander, Borders and Berwick, The Rutland Press, 1994, p.130, ISBN 1-873190-10-7
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