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Kelso Scottish Borders

Douglas Gates
Springwood Park

Looking across the park to Maxwellheugh and the Millennium Viewpoint

Family Names of the Kelso Area

Without doubt, the name that first springs to mind is Ker. The Douglas family of Springwood, Rutherford of Rutherford and Fairnington, and the Home families of Berwickshire have all had influence in the area at various times, but the Ker family, whether they be right handed or left handed, have been the most influential and powerful in the area since the fourteenth century.

Ker & Innes-Ker

The family is reputed to descend from one John Ker of the Forest of Selkirk and from whom the Kers of Cessford and Roxburgh have come. The other main line is Ker of Ferniehurst. Having been Wardens of the Middle March during the Border Wars with England, the Ker family and their branches, had castles and defended houses throughout the area. No fewer than 15 different Ker households were in the area in the sixteenth century, being responsible for most of area between Kelso and the English Border.

Sir Robert Ker of Cessford was created Lord Roxburghe in 1599, and a Dukedom was created in 1707.

In 1805, the, then, Duke died without issue, and a long drawn out legal argument between Brigadier-General Walter Ker of Littledean and Sir James Norcliffe Innes for the succession was finally settled by the House of Lords in favour of Sir James Innes. The present Duke of Roxburghe is descended from that line.


The origins of the name are very ancient. Maccus, son of Undwyn, a Saxon, came to the area and set up home in his 'ton' at Maccuston - modern day Maxton. He and his family were signatories to various documents, and one of his sons became Sheriff of Roxburghshire. Maccus was granted land at Kelso to the south of the town of Easter Kelso about turn of the twelfth century. There was on his land an excellent salmon pool in the Tweed, which became known as Maccus' wiel - Maccus' pool - hence Maxwheel or Maxwell. The Parish of Maxwell, where Springwood Park and the Border Union Showground are today, was a separate parish in early medieval times. The land above, Maxwellheugh, and Maxwell Lane continue the name in the town. The family name of Maxwell is well-known throughout the South of Scotland.

Douglas of Springwood

Springwood Park, now the caravan park and showground, used to be the site of the mansion of the Douglas family. The only vestiges now remaining are the grand gates next to Bridgend Park.

Kelso Scotland, Scottish Borders UK