Concept

Clan Kerr

Summary
Clan Kerr (kɜːr) is a Scottish clan whose origins lie in the Scottish Borders. During the Middle Ages, it was one of the prominent border reiver clans along the present-day Anglo-Scottish border and played an important role in the history of the Border country of Scotland. The name Kerr is rendered in various forms such as Kerr, Ker, Kear, Carr, Carre, and Cares. The name stems from the Old Norse kjarr which means marsh dweller, and came to Scotland from Normandy, the French settlement of the Norsemen. Another variant is found on the west coast of Scotland, particularly on the Isle of Arran, taken from the Gaelic ciar, meaning dusky. The early Roxburghshire Kerrs had their origins in the 12th century Ayrshire bailiery of Cunninghame. During the reign of David I (1082–1153), Hugh de Morville, Lord High Constable of Scotland, granted lands in Cunninghame to the Norman family of William de Ker. These lands became known as Kersland. At this time, Cunninghame was under the control of de Morville who also maintained the nearby port of Irvine – one of Scotland's earliest capitals – as his military headquarters. Hugh de Morville hailed from the Normandy town of Morville. In an era when noble families defined themselves by their location of origin, it is conceivable that the roots of the family of William de Ker (William from Ker) lie in a town bearing the name of Ker. Though speculative, this could be the Normandy town of Criel, renamed Criel-sur-Mer in 1902. According to a publication from 1740: "Ker veut dire une maison; & je crois que le nom du bourg de Criel en est derivé..." ("Ker means a house; and I think that the name of the village of Criel is derived from it...") William de Ker's grandson is said to have been allied to Sir William Wallace in the struggle for Scottish independence: "William Ker of Kersland joined Wallace in 1296. He and Stephen of Ireland are said to have been the only two of Wallace's men who survived the battle of Elcho. Ker was the constant friend and companion of Wallace.
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