Kerr Clan

Kerr Clan Crest: The Sun in spledour.

Kerr Clan Motto: Sero Sed Serio (Late, but in earnest).

Kerr Clan History:
The Kerrs appear in the Scottish Borders in the 14th century, the name originating from Normandy with the arrival in Scotland of two brothers, Ralph and John. The Roxburgh branch spells the name Ker; the Lothian branch, Kerr. The Kerrs of Ferniehirst claims descent from Ralph, and the Ker of Cessford, from John. The first of the name on record in Scotland is Johannes Ker, c.1190.

In 1451, Andrew Ker of Cessford  received a Charter for the Barony of Old Roxburgh, and six years later was appointed Warden of the Marches. In the meantime, Sir Andrew Kerr of Ferniehirst received a Royal Charter for the Barony of Oxnam and was appointed Warden of the Middle Marches . In 1502, this appointment passed to his kinsman, Sir Andrew Ker of Cessford who in 1526, was killed while escorting James V to Edinburgh.

Sir Andrew Kerr of Ferniehirst's grandson, Mark Kerr, had the Abbey of Newbattle erected into Temporal Lordship in 1587 and was created Earl of Lothian in 1606. In 1621, another Sir Andrew Kerr of Ferniehirst became Lord Jedburgh.  Thereafter the titles and honours bestowed upon the Ferniehirst and Cessford lines of the Ker(r) Family tend to become a trifle confusing.

Sir Robert Ker of Cessford was created Earl of Roxburghe in 1616. In 1707, the 5th Earl of Roxburghe was created Duke of Roxburghe for his support of the Act of Union between England and Scotland.  Through marriage, the Roxburghe Family subsequently acquired the compound surname of Innes-Ker. 

In 1624, the 2nd Earl of Lothian died without male issue, and his heiress, Anne, Countess of Lothian married Sir William Kerr also of the Ferniehirst branch, a zealous Covenanter who in 1633 was created Earl of Ancram. Their son inherited both earldoms.  In 1701, Robert, 4th Earl of Lothian was created 1st Marquess of Lothian.

John Ker of Kersland (1673-1726) was a double agent for the Government and Jacobites during the 1715 Uprising.  Schomberg Henry, 9th Marquess of Lothian(1883-1900), was Secretary of State for Scotland and Keeper of the Great Seal, 1887-92.  Philip, 11th Marquess of Lothian (1882-1940), was Ambassador Extraordinary to Washington from 1939-40. The 13th Marquess of Lothian, who uses the name Michael Ancram, is a former British Cabinet Minister and former Chairman of the Scottish  Conservative Party. 
Places of Interest:
Cessford, Roxburghshire. Built in the 14th century, the tower here passed in 1446 to Andrew Ker, ancestor of the dukes of Roxburghe. 

Ferniehirst Castle, near Jedburgh, Roxburghshire.  Dating from the 15th century, this Kerr stronghold here was burned by the Earl of Sussex, but re-built in 1598.

Monteviot, Jedburgh, Roxburghshire. Seat of the marquesses of Lothian.

Newbattle Abbey, near Edinburgh. Founded by David I, today's mansion house is 17th century. It was gifted to the Nation by the 11th Marquess of Lothian and today operates as a residential college.

Surname distribution in Scotland: The Kerr name is most commonly found in Renfrewshire, Argyll and Bute, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway (Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire).

Associated family names (Septs): Carr, Carre, Cessford, Ker.

Clan Kerr membership certificates.