Once one of the prominent Border Reiver clans, the name Kerr stems from the old Norse word ‘Kjarr’ meaning, ‘marsh-dweller’ and it is believed that the clan first came to Scotland from Normandy.
It would be during the reign of David I (1082-1153) that the Kerr family would first receive any substantial territory, being given lands in Cunninghame in Ayrshire. This land would go on to be known as Kersland.
Later, William Ker of Kersland would go on to fight alongside William Wallace in 1296 as he struggled to help Scotland keep its independence from England. Ker is said to have been a constant companion of Wallace and was with him when he was captured in 1305 with Ker, unfortunately, being killed in the ensuing scuffle.
The clan would eventually settle at Ferniehirst Castle, south of Jedburgh, and it is from here that they would gain their reputation as a great Border Reiver clan.
Today, the clan chief remains in control of Ferniehirst Castle despite living in England. The current chief is Michael Andrew Foster Jude Kerr, 13th Marquess of Lothian.