BERWICK-UPON-TWEED, a port, borough, market-town, parish, and county of itself, 55 miles (E. by S.) from Edinburgh, and 334 (N. by W.) from London; containing 8484 inhabitants. The name of this town, which Leland supposes to have been originally Aberwick, from the British terms, Aber, the mouth of a river, and Wic, a town, is by Camden and other antiquaries considered as expressive merely of a hamlet, or granary, annexed to a place of greater importance, such appendages being usually in ancient records styled berewics, in which sense of the term Berwick is thought to have obtained its name, having been the grange of the priory of Coldingham, ten miles distant. The earliest authentic notice of Berwick occurs in the reign of Alexander I., and in that of Henry II. of England, to the latter of which monarchs it was given up, with four other towns, by William the Lion, in 1176, as a pledge for the performance of the treaty of Falaise, by which, in order to obtain his release from captivity after the battle of Alnwick, in 1174, he had engaged to do homage to the English monarch as lord paramount for all his Scottish dominions. Richard I., to obtain a supply of money for his expedition to the Holy Land, sold the vassalage of Scotland for 10,000 marks, and restored this and the other towns to William, content with receiving homage for the territories only which that prince held in England. King John, upon retiring from an unsuccessful invasion of Scotland, burnt the town, upon which the Scots almost immediately rebuilt it. In 1291, the Commissioners appointed to examine and report on the validity of the title of the respective claimants to the crown of Scotland, met at Berwick, and pursued there the investigation which led to the decision in favour of John Baliol. Edward I., having compelled Baliol to resign his crown, took the town by storm in 1296, upon which a dreadful carnage ensued; and here he received the homage of the Scottish nobility, in the presence of a council of the whole nation, and established a court of exchequer for the receipt of the revenue of the kingdom of Scotland. Wallace, in the following year, having laid siege to the town, took, and for a short time retained possession of it, but was unsuccessful in his attempt upon the castle, which was relieved by the arrival of a numerous army. Edward II., in prosecuting the war against Scotland, assembled his army here repeatedly, and made several inroads into the enemy's territory. Robert Bruce obtained it in 1318, and having razed the walls, and strengthened them with towers, kept it, notwithstanding several attacks from Edward II. and III., until it surrendered to the latter after the celebrated battle of Hallidown Hill, within the borough, which took place on the 19th of July, 1333. As a frontier town, it was always the first object of attack on the renewal of hostilities between the two kingdoms; and, after repeated surrenders and sieges, it was ceded to Edward IV., from whom and his successors, as well as from preceding kings of Scotland, including Bruce, it received several charters and privileges, in confirmation and enlargement of the charter granted by Edward I., in which the enjoyment of the Scottish laws as they existed in the time of Alexander III. had been confirmed. After having been exposed, during the subsequent reigns, to the continued aggressions of the Scots and the English, Elizabeth repaired and strengthened the fortifications, and new walled part of the town: the garrison which had for some time been placed in it, was continued till the accession of James to the English throne, when its importance as a frontier town ceased. During the civil war in the reign of Charles I., it was garrisoned by the parliament.
   The town is pleasantly situated on the northern bank, and near the mouth, of the river Tweed, the approach to which, from the English side, is over a handsome stone bridge of fifteen arches, built in the reigns of James I. and Charles I., and connecting it with Tweedmouth on the south. The streets, with the exception of St. Marygate, usually called the High-street, Castlegate, Ravensdowne, the Parade, and Hide-hill, are narrow, but neatly paved, and the houses are in general well built; the town is lighted with gas, and an abundant supply of water is obtained by pipes laid down to the houses from the public reservoirs, which are the property of the corporation. Fuel is also plentiful, there being several collieries on the south, and one on the north, side of the river, within from two to four miles of the town. A public library was established in 1812, and a reading-room in 1842; the theatre, a small neat building, is opened at intervals, and there are assembly-rooms which are used on public occasions. The new fortifications, which are exceedingly strong, have displaced those of more ancient date, of which only a few ruins now remain; the ramparts afford an agreeable promenade, much frequented by the inhabitants. The present works consist of a rampart of earth, faced with stone: there are no outworks, with the exception of the old castle, which overlooks the Tweed, and is now completely in ruins, and an earthen battery at the landing-place below the Magdalen fields. The line of works towards the river is almost straight, but to the north and east are five bastions, to two of which there are powder magazines; the harbour is defended by a four and a six gun battery near the governor's house; and a saluting battery, of twenty-two guns, commands the English side of the Tweed. There are five gates belonging to the circumvallation, by which entrance is obtained. The barracks, which were built in 1719, form a small quadrangle, neatly built of stone, and afford good accommodation for 600 or 700 infantry. To these, was recently attached the governor's house, for officers' barracks; but that building and the ground adjoining, formerly the site of the palace of the kings of Scotland, were lately sold by the crown to a timber-merchant, and are now occupied for the purposes of his trade.
   The port was celebrated in the time of Alexander III., for the extent of its traffic in wool, hides, salmon, &c., which was carried on both by native merchants, and by a company of Flemings settled here, the latter of whom, however, perished in the conflagration of their principal establishment, called the Red Hall, which was set on fire at the capture of the town and castle by Edward I. The port has, at present, a considerable coasting trade, though it has somewhat declined since the termination of the continental war: the exports are, corn, wool, salmon, cod, haddock, herrings, and coal; and the imports, timber-deals, staves, iron, hemp, tallow, and bones for manure. About 800 men are employed in the fishery: the salmon and trout, of which large quantities are caught, are packed in boxes with ice, and sent chiefly to the London market; great quantities of lobsters, crabs, cod, haddock, and herrings are also taken, and a large portion forwarded, similarly packed, to the metropolis. The principal articles of manufacture, exclusively of such as are connected with the shipping, are, damask, diaper, sacking, cotton-hosiery, carpets, hats, boots, and shoes; and about 200 hands are employed in three iron-foundries, all established within the present century. Steam-engines, and almost every other article, are made; the gas-light apparatus for Berwick, Perth, and several other places, was manufactured here, and iron-works have lately been erected at Galashiels, and at Jedburgh, by the same proprietors. The harbour is naturally inconvenient, the greater part of it being left dry at ebb-tide; it has, however, been recently deepened by several feet, and vessels of large tonnage come to the quay. The river is navigable only to the bridge, though the tide flows for seven miles beyond it: on account of the entrance being narrowed by sand-banks, great impediments were occasioned to the navigation till the erection, in 1808, of a stone pier on the projecting rocks at the north entrance of the Tweed; it is about half a mile in length, and has a light-house at the extremity. This, together with the clearing and deepening of the harbour, has materially improved the facilities of navigation, and been of great importance to the shipping interest of the place. On the Tweedmouth shore, for a short space, near the Carr Rock, ships of 400 or 500 tons' burthen may ride in safety. The smacks and small brigs, formerly carrying on the whole traffic of the place, are now superseded by large and well-fitted steam-vessels, schooners, and clipper-ships. There are numerous and extensive quays and warehouses, and a patent-slip for the repair of vessels; and the town will soon have the further advantage of a railway to Edinburgh, in continuation of the projected railway along the east coast hence to Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The market, which is well supplied with grain, is on Saturday, and there is an annual fair on the last Friday in May, for black cattle and horses; statute-fairs are also held on the first Saturday in March, May, August, and November.
   By charter of incorporation granted in the thirty-eighth year of James VI., the government was vested in a mayor, bailiffs, and burgesses; and there were, besides, an alderman for the year, a recorder, town-clerk, towntreasurer, four serjeants-at-mace, and other officers; but the controul now resides in a mayor, six aldermen, and eighteen councillors, together composing the council, by whom a sheriff and other officers are appointed. The borough is distributed into three wards, and its municipal and parliamentary boundaries are the same; the mayor and late mayor are, pro tempore, justices of the peace, and twelve other gentlemen have been appointed to act as such, under a separate commission. Berwick was one of the royal burghs which, in ancient times, sent representatives to the court of the four royal burghs in Scotland, and on being annexed to the kingdom of England, its prescriptive usages were confirmed by royal charter. It sent representatives to parliament in the reign of Henry VIII., since which time it has continued to return two members. The right of election was formerly vested in the freemen at large, in number about 1140; now, the resident freemen and certain householders are the electors, and the sheriff is returning officer. The limits of the borough include the townships of Tweedmouth and Spittal, lying on the south side of the river. The corporation hold courts of quarter-session for the borough, and a court of pleas every alternate Tuesday, for the recovery of debts to any amount; and a court-leet is regularly held under the charter, at which six petty constables are always appointed. The town-hall is a spacious and handsome building, with a portico of four massive circular columns of the Tuscan order, a portion of the lower part of which, called the Exchange, is appropriated to the use of the poultry and butter market; the first story contains two spacious halls and other apartments, in which the courts are held, and the public business of the corporation transacted, and the upper part is used as a gaol. The whole forms a stately pile of fine hewn stone, and is surmounted with a lofty spire, containing a peal of eight bells, which, on the sabbath-day, summon the inhabitants to the parish church.
   The living is a vicarage, within the jurisdiction of the consistorial court of Durham, valued in the king's books at £20; net income, £289; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Durham. The church is a handsome structure in the decorated English style, built during the usurpation of Cromwell, and is without a steeple: one of the Fishbourn lectureships is established here, the service being performed in the church. There are places of worship for members of the Scottish Kirk, the Associate Synod, the Scottish Relief, Particular Baptists, Wesleyans, and Roman Catholics. A school for the instruction of the sons of burgesses in English and the mathematics, was founded and endowed by the corporation, in 1798; to each department there is a separate master, paid by the corporation, and the average number of pupils is about 300. The burgesses have also the patronage of a free grammar school, endowed in the middle of the seventeenth century, by Sir William Selby, of the Moat, and other charitable persons. The Blue-coat charity-school was founded in 1758, by Captain Bolton, and endowed with £800, since augmented with several benefactions, especially with one of £1000 by Richard Cowle, who died at Dantzic, in 1819; the whole income is £155, which is applied to educating about 150 boys, of whom 40 are also clothed. A pauper lunatic house was erected in 1813, and a dispensary was established in 1814. A considerable part of the corporation land is allotted into "meadows" and "stints," and given rent-free to the resident freemen and freemen's widows, according to seniority, for their respective lives. Among the most important bequests for the benefit of the poor, are, £1000 by Richard Cowle, £1000 by John Browne, in 1758, and £28 per annum by Sarah Foreman, in 1803. Some remains of the ancient castle of Berwick are still visible, and of a pentagonal tower near it; also of a square fort in Magdalen fields, and some entrenchments on Hallidown Hill; but all vestiges of the ancient churches and chapels of the town, the Benedictine nunnery, said to have been founded by David, King of Scotland, and of the monasteries of Black, Grey, White, and Trinitarian friars, and of three or four hospitals, have entirely disappeared. During the reigns of William the Lion, and of Edward I., II., and III., and other Scottish and English monarchs, Berwick was a place of mintage; and several of its coins are still preserved. There is a mineral spring close to the town, which is occasionally resorted to by invalids.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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