Thursday, 7 Dec 2023

The beautiful seaside town that England and Scotland have squabbled over

The UK is filled with thousands of towns, villages, and hamlets, each with their own unique personality and recognisable features.

One town in the northeast of England is known not just for where it is, but for the nationality it was.

Although it might sound odd for a town to move, Berwick-upon-Tweed is the exception, as it has been English and at other points Scottish.

As England’s northernmost town, it is recognised not just for its history, but the beauty of its surroundings.

Originally founded in the post-Roman period, Berwick-upon-Tweed was a Scottish burgh in the 10th and 11th centuries before it began to see-saw from one nationality to another.

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According to the Telegraph, the town has changed hands between the English and the Scottish 13 times.

Part of this is down to how close it is to the Anglo-Scottish border meaning that during any conflict between the pair it has been one of the first to change hands.

It wasn’t until 1707 and the Act of Union that Berwick-upon-Tweed officially became permanently part of England and Wales.

Today, the town is a popular destination both with local tourists and those from further afield.

One of its landmarks includes the town’s famous Elizabethan Walls. According to Visit Berwick: “Berwick’s town walls are its most famous piece of architecture and still stand strong today, 450 years after they were built.

“The Elizabethan Walls are a mile and a quarter in length. The ramparts completely surround the town, with four gates through which entry to the town is enabled. Berwick’s Elizabethan Walls are the only example of bastioned town walls in Britain and one of the best-preserved examples in Europe.

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“When built in 1558 – designed to keep out the marauding Scots who regularly laid claim to the town – it was the most expensive undertaking of England’s Golden Age. The walls were… designed to allow gunfire covering every part of the wall.”

Other landmarks include Heatherslaw Corn Mill, the Barracks, Paxton House, Cocklawburn Beach and the Jim Clark Motorsport Museum.

Famous people known to have lived and worked in Berwick Upon Tweed include actors Alexander Knox and Henry Travers and anti-slavery activist and journalist James Redpath.

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