Ker, Walter (DNB00)

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KER, Sir WALTER (d. 1584?), of Cessfurd, eldest son of Sir Andrew Ker of Cessfurd [q. v.], by his wife Agnes, daughter of Robert, second lord Crichton of Sanquhar, was served heir to his father 12 May 1528. He had charters of various lands on 23 April and 21 Sept. 1542, and in 1543 he received the lands and barony of Cessfurd, with the castle of the same and their annexes (Reg. Mag. Sig. 1513–46, entry 2785). In October 1552 Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch was killed in the High Street of Edinburgh in a nocturnal encounter with the Kers, headed by Sir Walter of Cessfurd. On 8 Dec. they petitioned the privy council regarding the ‘unhappy chance,’ offering to submit to anything to save their lives and heritages (Reg. P. C. Scotl. i. 133). It was decided that they should be banished to France, but on 16 May 1553 they received a full pardon (ib. p. 141). On 9 Aug. of this year Cessfurd, with John Ker of Ferniehirst and Andrew Ker of Hirsell, signed a bond to be ‘leill and trew men’ to John Hamilton, archbishop of St. Andrews, and James, earl of Arran, &c. (Hamilton MSS., Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. App. pt. vi. p. 39). On 28 Aug. 1559 he was appointed one of the commissioners to treat for the ransoming of prisoners taken by the English in the late war (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1558–9, entry 1266). Cessfurd as a catholic sympathised with the queen-regent, but in April 1560 he came with Lord Home to the camp of the lords of the congregation (ib. Scott. Ser. p. 140). On the return of the young Queen Mary to Scotland Cessfurd was reappointed to his old office of warden of the middle marches (Reg. P. C. Scotl. i. 169). When the chiefs of the border clans were ordered in 1567 to enter the castle of Edinburgh on the pretext that they might hinder the success of Bothwell's expedition into Liddesdale, Cessfurd, ‘a weill-meaning man, suspecting nothing,’ was the only one except Ker of Ferniehirst who obeyed (Calderwood, ii. 360). He was one of the chief leaders against the queen at Carberry Hill (ib. p. 363), and also at Langside, where he fought side by side with Lord Home (Sir James Melville, Memoirs, p. 201). On 3 April 1569 he signed the bond of Teviotdale, promising obedience to the regent (Reg. P. C. i. 653), and he served under Morton at the siege of Edinburgh. When Ker of Ferniehirst and others of the queen's party advanced to plunder Jedburgh in 1571, the inhabitants sent to Cessfurd for assistance, and by his aid and that of Lord Ruthven they were completely routed (Calderwood, iii. 155). Cessfurd was one of those who, under Atholl and Argyll, took up arms against Morton in 1578. In 1582 he signed the bond which resulted in the raid of Ruthven. He died in 1584 or 1585. By his wife Isabel, daughter of Andrew Ker of Ferniehirst [q. v.], he had two sons: Andrew, who predeceased him, and William, warden of the middle marches; and two daughters: Agnes, married to John Edmonstoune of Edmonstoune, and Margaret, to Alexander, fourth earl of Home.

[Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. vol. i.; Reg. P. C. Scotl. vols. i. and ii.; Cal. State Papers, For. Ser., reign of Elizabeth; Calderwood's History of the Church of Scotland; MSS. of the Earl of Home (Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. App. viii.); Sir James Melville's Memoirs; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), ii. 445–6.]

T. F. H.