Cessford Castle, Roxburghshire
South of Kelso
Cessford is a massive L-plan castle, with walls up to twelve feet thick, rising to three storeys in the main building and four in the wing. There are also remains of a large courtyard.
The castle is quite easy to find with a track from the road that takes you right up to the castle perimeter. A walk round the site reveals extensive earthworks and better appreciation just how large this castle was in its day.
~ History ~
1316 ~ The Mowbray's are forced to forfeit their lands by King Robert the Bruce. The land later passes to the Sinclair's and then the Kerrs, a notorious border reiver family who made their fortune through theft, robbery, and violence against the English and other neighbouring clans.
1400's ~ The Kerr's build themselves Sesfort Castle.
1482 ~ The Kerr's are ordered to garrison their castle with 60 men of war.
1513 ~ Sir Andrew Kerr of Cessford fights at and survives the Battle of Flodden, witnessing the fall of his King to the English. He later becomes Warden of the Marches.
1519 ~ The castle is attacked and damaged by the English.
1523 ~ The Earl of Surrey lays siege to Cessford Castle. Following significant difficulties taking the castle, which he reports as the third strongest in all of Scotland, he is eventually successful and gives orders for it to be slighted so it can never again be held against the English. Soon after the Scots again restore the castle.
1543 ~ The English return and burn the castle.
1544 ~ Following further repairs by the Scots, the English return and following some difficulties, burn the castle's outer defences and barmkin.
1552 ~ Sir Walter Kerr is banished to France for his part in the murder of Walter Scott during a bloody feud.
He is also at the same time active against Mary, Queen of Scots.
1568 ~ The Kerrs fight against Mary, Queen of Scots at the Battle of Langside.
1616 ~ The Kerrs are elevated to the title of Earls.
1704 ~ The family's fortunes increase further, and they are created Dukes of Roxburghe.
1650 ~ The castle is abandoned with much of the materials used for building Floors castle seventy years later.