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Floors Castle

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Floors Castle is situated 43 miles southeast of Edinburgh, next to the Town of Kelso.

Floors Castle is open to the public April to September 10.30am – 5:00pm, October (Weekends Only) 10.30am – 5:00pm, with an entrance fee. The Gardens and Cafe are open all year. Postcode: TD5 7SF.

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The Ker family, Earls and Dukes of Roxburghe have held lands in this area since the 1100s. The present Floors Castle was built in 1837 by the architect William Playfair.

The present building may incorporate a much earlier Tower House, and a Mansion from the 1720s.

There are two entrances to the Castle, one from Roxburgh Street in Kelso that takes you to the Castle, and another from the B6397 road to St Boswells that leads into the Walled Garden with a Cafe.

Floors Castle History

1100s - the Ker family held lands in the Kelso area, later becoming Earls and Dukes. They are believed to have originated from Normandy in France, with them still owning the Castle today.

1128 - Roxburghe Castle was built across the River from where Floors Castle is today for King David I. Little of that Castle remains.

1560 - the Reformation led to Catholic worship being banned in Scotland, leading to Abbeys being left to fall into ruin. Kelso Abbey had owned vast areas of land around Kelso. King James VI gifted Kelso Abbey lands to Robert Ker, first Earl of Roxburghe, leading to great wealth.

1707 - the Acts of the Union led to Scotland and England merging into Great Britain. John, Earl of Roxburghe (1680–1741) was involved in negotiations for the Union of England and Scotland.

This lead to much safer times as there was less chance of any more wars between Scotland and England. Also, before this time, many Scots landowners had long running feuds with neighbouring landowners, often leading to tit for tat murders. After the Acts of the Union, murdering your neighbour would almost certainly lead to you being executed in a brutal way, such as hanging or guillotine in Edinburgh, with vast crowds watching.

This led to landowners building large Mansion Houses to replace their Tower Houses or Castles. Some mansions were built around a Tower House, or onto the side of a Tower House. Some were built to look like a Castle, but with little defense, such as the Floors Castle seen today.

1721 to 1726 - a Georgian Mansion was built on the site of present day Floors Castle for John / Earl of Roxburghe by the famous Scottish architect William Adam.

1812 - Sir James Innes became Duke of Roxburghe, leading to the family using the name Innes-Ker. Sir James had to undergo a 7 year court battle to take the title.

1837 - Duke James commissioned the architect William Playfair to transform the original Georgian Mansion into the Floors Castle that can be seen today.

1800s - Sunlaws House was built on an estate to the southwest of Floors Estate.

1903 - Duke Henry married the American heiress Mary Goelet, with her taking paintings and tapestries from her Long Island home to be used in Floors.

1960s - George Innes-Ker, ninth duke of Roxburghe, bought Sunlaws Estate and used the Mansion as an estate office.

1977 - Floors Castle was opened to the public with an entrance fee.

1982 - Sunlaws House was converted to the Sunlaws Hotel for the Duke.

1984 - Floors Castle featured in the movie Greystoke / The Legend of Tarzan / Lord of the Apes.

1997 - the Roxburghe Golf Course was opened at the Sunlaws Hotel for the Duke.

2000 - Sunlaws Hotel was renamed the Roxburghe Hotel.

2018 - the Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course were sold to a German company with them adding about 60 new rooms, spa and lodges.

Today - Floors Castle is claimed to be the largest inhabited Mansion in Scotland, owned by Guy Innes-Ker, 10th Duke of Roxburghe.

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