Floors Castle Details
- Access: Public Access
- Condition: occ
- First build century: 18th
- Closest To: Kelso
- Grid Ref: NT711347
- Last use century: 21st
Floors Castle is a huge mid 18th century castellated mansion – in fact it is the largest inhabited mansion in Scotland. It is built on a sloping site overlooking the River Tweed to the west of Kelso. It is the home of the Dukes of Roxburghe, a title drawn from the largely vanished ruined castle of Roxburgh to the south of the river. It is still owned by the family, and is open to the public.
Although it appears to have been a completely new building when William Adam drew up the plans for the 1st Duke, the map of the Merse produced by Blaeu in his Atlas shows a previous building called “Fleures” which has two towers and parkland around it. The map was published in 1654, but many parts of it are derived from Pont’s map of c1590. This means that a tower house of some description was at Floors before the present mansion was erected.
The lands of Floors were held by Kelso Abbey up to its demise in 1587, after which they were granted to Robert Ker of Cessford by King James VI in 1592. Ker was made Lord Roxburghe in 1600, moved out of his old house at Cessford in 1607, and was created 1st Earl of Roxburghe in 1616. Throughout the Civil War period, the Earl remained loyal to the King, and died at Floors in 1650. His estate passed to his grandson William Drummond, who assumed the surname Ker and the title of 2nd Earl.
The 5th Earl was one of those responsible for the Union of the Crowns in 1707, and was rewarded for his services by being created the 1st Duke of Roxburghe in the same year. In order to show off his new status, the new mansion was commissioned, and work started in 1721. When completed, the central block did have the corner towers it does today, but these had shallowly sloping roofs, and the wings were also suitably plain. In the mid 19th century, the architect William Playfair was commission to redesign the mansion, and gave it the castellated style it has today.