Ferniehirst Castle, affectionately known as Scotlands frontier fortress, is possibly the best-preserved of a distinctive group of highly-prestigious mansions erected by wealthy Border lairds during the closing decades of the 16th century. Spaciously planned and elegantly detailed, it stands hidden in trees, high above the east bank of Jed Water.
Built originally as a peel tower in 1476 by Sir Thomas Kerr, Ferniehirst survived centuries of bloody border warfare. It was sacked by the English in 1523, attacked and retaken in 1549 with the help of the French and captured by the English once again in 1570. In 1593 the castle was almost completely demolished by James VI as punishment for the then laird assisting his enemies.
Rebuilt by Sir Andrew Kerr in 1598, it was
occupied for two hundred years before falling
into decay. The castle we see today is essentially
Ferniehirst as rebuilt by Sir Andrew, though
the chambers and cellars at ground level date
back to 1476.
Between 1934 and 1984 Ferniehirst was leased
by the Scottish Youth Hostel Association,
with the exception of a period during World
War II when it was requisitioned as a billet
for troops. The castle opened to the public
During recent years, the Kerr family have
overseen repairs and restoration work, carefully
undertaken by local craftsmen using traditional
materials. The results of such pain-staking
work is much in evidence today.