Berwick was probably founded by the Saxons, with its name literally meaning ‘barley farm’ (bere-wick), but it was not a town of any significance until the reign of King David of Scotland (1124-1153) when Berwick became a Scottish royal burgh. The town has a violent history which saw the town change hands between England and Scotland at least 13 times in 300 years of border warfare. The remnants of this turbulent past can be seen in the structure of the town and the buildings of Berwick.
Berwick is a border garrison town, with Elizabethan fortifications, military barracks, and the main guard, all giving insight into the past.
A boat-building town from the eighteenth century, and centre of a thriving salmon fishing industry from the nineteenth century, Berwick, along with former fishing village Tweedmouth and the seaside resort of Spittal, has stone harbour walls and a cobbled quayside beneath the massive ramparts.
Berwick has been very much shaped by the Tweed, and the three bridges which span the river. The oldest being the ‘Old Bridge’ finished in 1634 and still in use today. The Royal Border Bridge, Berwick’s railway bridge, was designed by Robert Stephenson and opened by Queen Victoria in 1850. The bridge is now illuminated each evening by a multitude of changing coloured lights, creating an exciting new feature of the town.