Ferniehurst Castle, Roxburghshire
~ History ~
1476 ~ Sir Thomas Kerr builds himself a pele tower.
1523 ~ The castle is sacked by the English.
1540's ~ King Henry VIII of England tries to force the marriage of the infant Mary, Queen of Scots, to his young son, the future Edward VI. When diplomacy fails, he launches a vicious campaign against the Scots. Mary is hurriedly taken into safety in France and betrothed to the young dauphin Francois to destroy Henry's intention to annex Scotland. King Henry II of France intervenes on the Scots behalf and despatches a strong force in Scotland to expell the English.
The English garrison of twenty-five men stationed at Ferniehurst Castle is attacked by the much larger force of some 200 French. The garrison manage to secure the gates as the castle comes under attack.
Despite arrows and stones raining down on the attackers, they eventually manage to scale the walls, forcing the English to retreat into the towers of the castle. Eventually, the English seek terms of surrender. The French meanwhile manage to make a hole in one of the towers large enough to let a man in. By this time Scottish forces arrive and force open the castle gates. Fearing for their lives should the Scots capture the English, the garrison captain escapes out the hole in the tower to seek terms with the French.
However, a Scotsman, upon recognising the English captain being the soldier who had ravished his wife and daughters, rains blow after blow upon his head, so it falls into four pieces from his body. His Scottish comrades wash their hands in the blood of the dead English captain.
The remaining English soldiers are exchanged by the French to their Scottish allies for money, horses and other plunder. One English soldier exchanged for a horse is tied by the neck and heels, laid down in a field and lanced through, before having his body cut to pieces with body parts impaled upon their spears. The remaining English soldiers face similar torture and execution.
1549 ~ The Scots recapture the castle with help from the French.
1550 ~ The Treaty of Boulogne see's both French and English forces to be withdrawn from Scotland, much to the displeasure of the vengeful Scots.
1562 ~ Despite the treaty skirmishes between both sides continued with French interventions and aid for their Scottish allies. Finally, the last French galley sails for home.
1570 ~ The English again capture the castle, almost destroying it in the process.
1593 ~ Ferniehurst Castle is almost demolished by King James VI as punishment for the then laird assisting his enemies.
1598 ~ The castle is rebuilt by Sir Andrew Kerr.
1790's ~ the castle falls into decay and ruin.
Ferniehirst Castle is a border fortress in fantastic condition and preservation. Today it has all the appearance of a beautiful and peaceful fortified manor set among its manicured lawns and woodland.
However, this castle hides a turbulent and grizzly past.
The castle is in private ownership and is open to the public on certain days.
Unfortunately, the castle was not open to explore its grounds and buildings on the day we arrived, as we headed for the English border after a week of exploring the fabulous castles and towers that can be found right along the Scottish Borders.