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Sir Thomas Kerr of Oxnam / Ferniehirst (b. 1520, d. 1585)Thomas Kerr of Oxnam / Ferniehirst (son of John Kerr of Ferniehirst and Catherine Ker)703, 704, 705, 706 was born 1520 in Ferniehurst Castle, Fennehurst, Scotland, and died 1585707, 708, 709.He married Janet Kirkaldy on 10 Feb 1562710, 711, 712, daughter of William Kirkaldy of Grange.
Notes for Thomas Kerr of Oxnam / Ferniehirst:
BIOGRAPHY: 9th Baron of Fennehurst (Kerr)
BIOGRAPHY: Thomas Kerr (Carr) became the 9th Baron of Ferrniehirst Castle. He was
also noted for his involvement with Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. (From
notes of David W Carr) The name of Carr, Kerr or Karre is as old as the
Norman Conquest by William of Normandy in 1066. One of the followers of
William I is recorded in the Roll Of The Gattle Abbey as the name of
Karre.The early descendants of this Norman soldier and succeeding
generations spread on both sides of the border of England and
Scotland.Direct lines can be traced through various peerage books of
England and Scotland to Andrew Kerr I, the 6th Baron of Fennehurst,
Scotland. He was born in 1450 , created Baron in 1480 and knighted in
1483. He and his son Andrew II, 7th Baron of Fennehurst, were remarkable
men for talent and undaunted courage, conspicious in reigns of James IV
and James V. Andrew Kerr II, died in 1543. His son Sir John Kerr, 8th
Baron of Fennehurst, did great service against the English and rescued
Queen Mary from incursions by the English against the Scots. Sir Thomas,
9th Baron and son of Sir John, was also devoted to Queen Mary's
interests. (Quoted from Watson's 'The House of Carr'1926)
BIOGRAPHY: Sir John's son, Sir Thomas Kerr of Ferniehirst, was noted for his loyalty to Mary Queen of Scots, for whom he built a fortified house in the centre of Jedburgh. He raised the Royal Standard for her in Dumfries, helping her and her husband Darnley to put down an insurrection by a group of her nobles (she won at the time but was forced into exile a few years later). Subsequently he sheltered her English supporters after the rising of the Northern Earls (1568) and rescued Lady Northumberland, stranded by illness in a Liddesdale outlaw's hide-out. He helped his father-in-law, Kirkcaldy of Grange, to defend Edinburgh Castle in the Queen's name; when it was taken he lost precious family documents which were never seen again, but at least he escaped with his life (Kirkcaldy was beheaded) and fled abroad for some years. He was re-instated in his lands by James VI when the young King came of age and took power into his own hands. The townsmen of Jedburgh supported the Regent Morton (later also beheaded) against Mary; they "debagged" and publicly caned a herald sent out by Ferniehirst to read out a proclamation of loyalty to the Queen, also compelling him to eat his document.
BIOGRAPHY: From her English prison, Mary wrote to Sir Thomas, thanking him for his past services and encouraging him to keep up his loyalty. She seems to have taken a particular liking to his young son Andrew, the first Lord Jedburgh, and may have knighted him while still a child, for she asks in particular to be remembered to "Sir Andrew".
BIOGRAPHY: Briefly imprisoned after the fall of Edinburgh Castle, Sir Thomas was in exile and unable to perform his duties as Warden at the time of the last major clash on the Border, the Raid of Redeswire. This incident developed on one of the "days of truce" when the Wardens or their deputes met to resolve various local problems and to exchange or hang wanted criminals. On this occasion the English Warden complained that the Scots had failed to hand over a thief known as "Farnstein" (not a German refugee or mercenary, as one might think, but an Englishman whose real name was Robson). This led to mutual insults, no doubt aggravated by the fact that both sides had been liquidating a great deal of liquid. The argument grew into a scuffle and the scuffle grew into a fight. Eventually the Jedburgh men arrived in strength and dispersed the English, killing a few and capturing others, who were later released without ransom.
BIOGRAPHY: Though he missed this particular incident, Sir Thomas was involved in a similar but smaller affray, on almost the same spot, ten years later. By then he was back in office as Warden of the Middle March; Forster, now 84, was still in charge on the other side, and Forster's son-in-law, who was also a son of the Earl of Bedford, was killed. Elizabeth Tudor was not amused, and insisted on Ferniehirst's punishment, though the rights and wrongs of the whole affair were by no means clear. Being anxious to succeed to the English throne, James VI sought to ingratiate himself with her, and exiled Sir Thomas to Aberdeen, where he died within a year. The inscription on his memorial in Jedburgh Abbey reads "Sir THOMAS KERR of Fernyherst, Warden of the Marches, Provost of Edinburgh and Jedburgh, Father of Andrew Lord Jedburgh, Sir James Kerr of Creylin (Crailing) and Robert Earl of Somerset. He died at Aberdeen on March 31, 1586 and lies buried before the Communion Table. He was a man of action and perfit loyaltie and constancie to Queen Marie in all her troubles. He suffered 14 years' banishment besides forfaulter (forfeiture) of his lands. He was restored to his estates and honours by King James the Sext."
BIOGRAPHY: Sir Thomas married twice. His children by his first wife, Janet Kirkcaldy, included Sir Andrew of Ferniehirst, first Lord Jedburgh (see below) and William, who took the name of Kirkcaldy to continue his mother's line; his children, however, reverted to Kerr, having failed to inherit the Grange property. By his second marriage, to Janet Scott, Sir Thomas was the father of Sir James Kerr of Crailing (father of the second Lord Jedburgh) and of Robert Can, Earl of Somerset (see below). He had several other children by both his wives.
BIOGRAPHY: Border warfare having died down after Redeswire (though there was a final flare-up on the West March, the "Ill Week" of 1603), Sir Andrew Kerr rebuilt Ferniehirst in 1598. It had been largely destroyed by the English allies of Mary's Scottish enemies, following on Sir Thomas's support for the Northern Earls in 1569 and a Scottish invasion of the English Middle March in 1570. Despite extensive restoration towards the end of the 19th Century, the Castle now is essentially Ferniehirst as rebuilt by Sir Andrew, though some parts (The Chambers and Cellars) date back to 1470 or thereabouts.
BITS: The expression "Kerr-handed" and "corry-fisted" both refer to the well-established tradition of left-handedness within the Family. This probably goes back to Andrew Kerr, father of the first Sir Thomas, who was natuarally left-handed and found it useful in battle. In the first place it disconcerted the enemy; secondly, since the left half of the brain is the one that commands swift and decisive action, if it transmits urgent messages to the left hand and the left foot, they get there a few milliseconds faster than if they travel to the right hand and right foot. (many noted sportsmen, including cricketers, tennis-players and boxers, have also found their natural left-handedness useful for this reason.) Andrew Kerr therefore taught his sons and armed men-servants (who in accordance with custom took the family name on joining the household) to wield the sword or the Jethart Axe with the left hand, and they in turn taught their sons. The family was thus unique - certainly in Scotland and probably in the modern world - in converting natural right-handers to left-handedness, the reverse procedure being far more usual, though parents and teachers are now strongly advised against it. Ferniehirst is designed for left-handers to live in, as are several other Kerr houses. The only other well-known instance of deliberately cultivated left-handedness were the tribe of Benjamin in Ancient Israel, with a reputation in other aspects very similar to ours: "Benjamin shall raven as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey and at night he shall divide the spoils."
More About Thomas Kerr of Oxnam / Ferniehirst:
Occupation: 9th Baron of Ferniehirst.713, 714, 715
Record Change: 25 May 2004
More About Thomas Kerr of Oxnam / Ferniehirst and Janet Kirkaldy:
Marriage: 10 Feb 1562716, 717, 718
Children of Thomas Kerr of Oxnam / Ferniehirst and Janet Kirkaldy are:
- +William Carr, b. 16 May 1542, Ferniehirst, Scotland, d. date unknown.