The Hall of History

Hall of History

The little tower room adjacent to the great hall with its splendid double oak doors would certainly have been used as a service area, and was at one time referred to as the buttery, an area adjacent to the main dining hall where food would be made presentable for the table and drinks etc would be prepared.

A staircase was revealed during alterations in 1851 leading down to the Kerr Kitchen, now the site of the Lothian Wing.  The staircase is left handed, and may have served a dual purpose providing access to the kitchens and an escape route in times of trouble.  

The walls are decorated with a mural depicting scenes from the history of the Ferniehirst Kerrs. The work of David Wilkinson it illustrates some of the main points in the colourful history of the Kerr  family.

The  first  scene shows the   coming of  the  family out of  Stavangar with

Duke Rollo, painted in the style of the Bayeaux Tapestry. The frieze continues with (2) the building of the first stone tower by Sir Thomas Kerr of Smailholm, (3) The defeat of the English at Ancrum Moor in 1545, (4) the retaking of the castle in 1559 by D’esse and the French troops,  (5) Sir Thomas Kerr and Mary Queen of Scots.  Two meetings of March Wardens are shown in (6), on the left at Redeswire in 1575 when a battle erupted between the Scots and the English, and on the right of the panel the Windy Gyle meeting in 1585 where Lord Francis Russell was murdered.  (7) The rebuilding of Ferniehirst in 1598 and (8) the celebration feast complete the series. 

The surnames of all the workers involved during the 1980s restoration work are included below the paintings , and fine Border names they are.  The featured relief profiles are the faces of the various heads of department at Lothian Estates who oversaw much of the work,  carefully restoring the castle to its former glory.  Above the hall entrance doors are the arms and devices of the Marquis of Lothian.