(Carr or Ker)
Sero Sed Serio

Kerr Tartan
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Kerr Tartan

A powerful borders family, composed of two main branches; namely the Kerrs of Cessford (including the Dukes of Roxburghe) and the Kerrs of Ferniehirst (who gave rise to the Marquesses of Lothian). These branches regularly faced each other from opposite sides in various conflicts. Notably, the Ferniehirsts supported Mary, Queen of Scots, while the Cessfords opposed her. Coming originally from southern Norway in the 10th C., the family settled in France before coming to Britain with the Normans in 1066 and arriving in Scotland about 100 years later.

The name is thought to derive either from the Norse Kjarr, meaning 'a small wood' or the Gaelic Cearr, meaning 'left handed'. This trait became a notable characteristic of the family when the naturally left-handed Sir Andrew Kerr had found it useful at the Battle of Flodden (1513) and had trained his supporters to follow suit. Several of the Kerr family homes, for example Ferniehirst Castle, are adapted for use by left-handed individuals.

Several Kerrs have been Provosts of Jedburgh and Sir Andrew Kerr was created Lord Jedburgh in 1622. The Marquesses of Lothian are Kerrs, with politician Michael Ancram (b.1945) becoming the 13th Marquess in 2004. Other notable Kerrs are the actress Deborah (b.1921) and rock singer Jim (b.1959).

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