“But the Kerrs were aye the deadliest foes
That e’er to Englishmen were known
For they were all bred lefthanded men
And Fence against them there was none.”
This left handedness may stem back to a time of border wars between Scotland and England and to an individual named Andrew Kerr. Andrew was naturally left handed and found that he had an advantage in fighting with the sword. And in particular he could fight better when he was going down spiral staircases that went one way rather than the other.
He had a whole family of little Kerrs all of whom were left handed and they defeated all their enemies and they built castles galore all of which had left handed spiral stair cases rather than right handed spiral staircases.
Or so the story goes….
In fact there is a Kerr castle in Scotland still standing that has a left handed spiral staircase.
But is there anything to this KERR left handedness?
In 1993 a paper was published in the British Journal of Psychology entitled “The Handedness of the Kerrs and the Carrs” by Duncan Shaw and I.C. McManus. I corresponded with Dr. McManus in the UK and got a copy of his paper. Their results showed there was no evidence found for an increased incidence of left-handedness in Kerrs and Carrs.
So that’s that…it makes a good story…
That leads to another question. How many of us KERR descendents are ambidextrous (equally skilled with each hand dependent on the task)?
I am and my siblings and several of my cousins are.
Maybe there is more to this story of KERR left handedness than we thought!
[Editor note – Participate in the KERR/CARR DNA project to reveal family tree connections between our Kerrs and Carrs. This test is a painless saliva swab of the inner cheek. The YDNA test (for males) will show the connections along the surname. The Family Finder test (for males and females) will show all cousin matches in not only the Kerrs and Carrs but other branches of your family tree. Go here to learn more about the Family Finder test.]
Related KERR/CARR posts: Serendipity DNA