The Ken Bridge Hotel was built to command the crossing of the River Ken either by means of two shallow fords or by the Hotels own ferry boat. In 1796 a bridge was built beside the hotel by public and private subscription, but in 1811 this was destroyed in a terrific flood.
In 1821 the present bridge was built from granite hewn from a local quarry and has stood the test of time creating a beautiful backdrop for the hotel and gardens.
The hotel sits on the Old Edinburgh Road an important trading route and droving road between Ireland and Scotland. The Glenkens was also the centre of the opposition to religious changes instigated by James I + VI. The Presbytarian view was that Christ was the head of the church and not the King, nor did they wish English style ceremony imposed upon them. The strength of their beliefs endured through four decades of murder and persecution until the 1680s.
Books such as 'The Raiders' by S.R Crocket and 'Old Mortality' by Sir Walter Scott give an excellent historical account of these times. Many relics of ancient times can be found close by, from stone circles and standing stones marking battle grounds to Castle and Abbey ruins.
Robert Paterson, known as Old Mortality, was a school teacher who dedicated his life to tending the graves of the Covenanters. The now ruined Kenmure Castle has played host to many famous figures including Robert Burns and Mary Queen of Scots.