Late 16th century L-plan laird s house incorporating earlier fabric; considerably altered subsequently and restored 1883 and 1938; house and former kitchen wing restored again 1987-90 by Simpson and Brown.
Unusually long two-storey main block on vaulted cellars with four-storey square turreted stair tower at west angle, three-storey small circular tower at east angle, and single storey thatched L-plan wing at south angle. Rubble with freestone dressings; crowstepped gables.
Northwest (principal) elevation: five-bay main block on five barrel-vaulted cellars (all transverse except at northeast end), each with separate door. Advanced blank four-storey right bay; corbelled pepperpot bartizans, each with two windows with gun-loops below and quartrefoil gun-hole between; crowstepped gable and projecting quoins at angles; single bay return to east contains principal entrance and lighting for stair; door at ground with thin, simple fleuron-studded pilasters and cornice, ogee pediment with carved tympanum (much eroded); modern bracketed timber canopy-porch; small square window above flanked and surmounted by framed recarved armorial panels (ditto); windows to three upper storeys, uppermost breaking eaves with swept dormerhead. Turret stair in re-entrant angle corbelled out from ground, corbel with 22 members, trefoil moulding; small window with moulded surround and gun-hole below at second storey, square window above, arrowslit window and gun-hole to fourth storey. Moulded string course above door continues around turret and returns along main block to final bay. Four east bays of main block punctuated by broad projecting and diminishing coped stack between first and second bays from right with entrance to cellar at ground, framed armorial panel above and chamfered angles; between second and third bays projecting canted stairtower, corbelled to square above principal floor, with tiny window and gun-hole to principal floor, window above and arrowslit in gable. Principal floor with window to first bay with thin pilasters on shaped and sunk bases and moulded cornice; window to second bay with flanking shafts enriched with spindles supporting cable moulded cornice; third bay blank; left bay with modern stone stair to door; porch as above. Upper floor with enlarged windows to each bay.
Northeast elevation: gable of main block at centre with windows to each floor (tiny to cellar) and quarter-engaged round Library tower at left angle. Tower with remains of dumb-bell gun-slits at ground and three windows to both upper floors; cubic sundial on foliate corbel to principal floor. Garden wall adjoins right angle of gable. Set-back to right, principal entrance bay (see above); adjoining to right, Renaissance archway with moulded parapet and framed armorial panel linking with remaining wall of former outbuildings (concealing later garage). Set-back to left single storey two-bay thatched private wing; second bay on lower ground.
Southeast elevation: five-bay; circular tower attached at east end with small stair-turret corbelled across re-entrant angle. Two small basement windows at centre; right one to chapel with later iron cross. Large windows to all bays of principal floor with roll-moulded reveals; small octagonal window between third and fourth bays from right (perhaps in site of earlier doorway). Upper floor with pairs of windows to two left bays, single windows to right bays; three wallhead stacks; raised eaves. Projecting single storey private wing attached at left with tripartite window to right and five various windows to left.
Southwest elevation: gable of main block at centre with large windows to all floors. To left, squared buttress on moulded base contains stair and supports large corbelled pepperpot tower (as above) at south angle of stairtower; tower with window to each floor, upper one breaking eaves with swept dormer; pepperpot tower at west corner (see above). To right single storey, five-bay, L-plan wing; first three bays with door at centre and two skylights set into thatch; advanced two-bay gable beyond, with two windows on north return.
Multi-pane timber sash and case windows. Grey slates; reed-thatch to single storey wing with concrete ridge.
Interior: stairtower with panelled timber scale and platt stair to principal floor and gallery above; panelled rooms to upper floors, attic room with boarded barrel-vaulted ceiling. Ante room of main block with modern mural frieze depicting local history and people involved in recent restoration with double doors to greay hall; hall with flat-arched chimneypieces on north and east walls (both largely replacements), rubble walls, corbel cornice. Modern kitchen and newly created passage at east end leads to round library in east tower; timber ceiling with moulded ribs, each compartment with knob pendant and elaborate carved pendant at centre; bookshelves on carved brackets line room; garde-robe and private stair; woodwork entirely renewed in 1883 restoration. Some 17th century fireplaces to upper floors.
Garden Walls and Outbuildings: ruined rubble wall and end gable of stable remain facing former chapel; rubble wall with two doorways links to north corner of castle; parallel wall to rear forms enclosed area. Screen wall adjoining arched gateway (see above) hides later rubble two-bay garage with crowstepped gables and slate roof.
Statement of Special Interest
Ferniehurst is the ancient seat of the Kerrs, Marquises of Lothian. A building was first erected on the site at the end of the 15th century, and this was sacked, demolished and rebuilt several times in the 16th century, always retaining the form of a long rectangle. This was finally rebuilt, retaining the cellarage and much of the main block, in 1598 at which time the turreted staircase jamb, corbelled stair in the re-entrant angle, and the stair and fireplace projections on the N wall were also added. Windows have been variously opened, blocked, enlarged and/or ornamented, and the upper storey heightened at some point. An L-plan kitchen wing was added to the southeast corner in the mid-17th century; this was ruinous until its recent restoration as a private wing by Simpson and Brown. The arched and rusticated Renaissance gateway is late 17th century. There was once a further wing at the northeast corner, perhaps balancing the stairtower and forming a very broad and shallow U-plan; this may have been part of a 17th century scheme of enrichments which included the string course running around the north front (this disappears where the addition joined the castle). Extensive restorations were carried out in 1898, and in 1938, after which the castle became a youth hostel. More recently, from 1987-90, it has been converted once again to a family home for the Lothians.
A Group with Ferniehurst Castle visitor centre (see separate listing, LB13370).
Canmore https://canmore.org.uk/ Canmore ID 56846.
Groome, F. (1895) Ordnance Gazetteer IV. p.14.
Hugill, R. (1970) Borderland Castles and Peles pp.107-109.
Kerr, A (1985) Ferniehurst Castle.
MacGibbon, D. and Ross, T (1889) Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland, Volume II pp.156-162, Figs.614-621.
Ordnance Survey Name Book.
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland Roxburghshire Inventory No.436 Figs.280 and 281.
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings Scotland (2016) A Survey of Thatched Buildings in Scotland. London: SPAB. p.376.
Watson, J. (1880) Smail s Guide to Jedburgh and Vicinity. pp.47-51.
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Printed: 26/03/2019 14:05