2007 - 2022

First Wales, Now Berwick?


Is Wales part of England? Is Berwick upon Tweed? I suspect most people would answer “no” to the first, and probably “yes” to the second. With the recent successful referendum on law making powers for the Welsh Assembly, the success of Plaid Cymru, and Welsh Language Act etc – it can be said that Wales has made giant strides away from being any such thing. If it ever was.  And it shall be all the better for it.

In 1746, nearly forty years after the Union, and at the tail end of the Jacobite rebellion, the British Parliament passed the “Wales and Berwick Act”, which stated that:

“It is declared and enacted that in all cases where the Kingdom of England and England hath been or shall be mentioned in any Act of Parliament, the same has been and shall henceforth be deemed and taken to comprehend and include the dominion of Wales and Town of Berwick upon Tweed.”

In other words, whenever legislation referred to “England”, it encompassed Berwick and Wales, and for almost all intents and purposes, they were annexed to it. This act has since been repealed, and is largely irrelevant to modern Wales. But what about Berwick upon Tweed? In fact, in the case of Berwick, the British state continues to behave as if it has always been part of England. Is it? Why the need to mention it specifically?

The question of Berwick is a perennial one, rarely entering the mainstream consciousness, but always lingering in the background. It is one of those anomalies known to the few, but forever in legal limbo, like Cornwall or Shetland. There have been some reports over the past few years, about Berwick becoming part of Scotland, but these are mainly about how Scottish healthcare is better than England’s, particularly after recent brutal cuts to the NHS. England’s influence on Berwick is best summed up by what Alexander Eddington, wrote in ‘Castles and Historic Homes of the Border’ (1926):

“Berwick, by the middle of the 13th century, was considered a second Alexandria, so extensive was its commerce; in 1296, Edward I killed thousands in Berwick, [and] the greatest merchant city in Scotland sank into a small seaport.”

Unlike Carlisle, which was Scottish capital under David I, Berwick has never been completely comfortable in England and many Berwickers believe they would be better off back in Scotland. Polls held in early 2008, by the Berwick Advertiser and ITV Tonight suggest that 60-70% of people in the town want to return to being part of Scotland. This came shortly after Christine Grahame MSP lodged a motion in the Scottish parliament for the return of Berwick saying, “Even the Berwick upon Tweed Borough Council leader, who is a Liberal Democrat, backs the idea and others see the merits of reunification with Scotland.”

The response from the Scottish Liberal Democrats was confused and ill-thought out (as ever), and came from Jeremy Purvis MSP. Mr Purvis was born and raised in Berwick, but wanted the border moved twenty miles south, saying that Christine Grahame’s suggestion didn’t go far enough. He said,

“There’s a strong feeling that Berwick should be in Scotland…I had a gran in Berwick and another in Kelso, and they could see that there were better public services in Scotland. Berwick as a borough council is going to be abolished and it would then be run from Morpeth, more than 30 miles away.”

Purvis is confusing the town of Berwick, which is historically Scottish, with “Berwick Borough Council”, which dates only from 1974. Berwick Borough Council merged Berwick proper with neighbouring English council areas, which include the likes of Alnwick and Lindisfarne. Berwick has also fused naturally with Tweedmouth and Spittal, which also fogs the issue. However, few Scots consider these areas to be part of Scotland, as they are on the south bank of the Tweed, and don’t have the same connection with Scotland, unless we count the early history of Lindisfarne. At the time Berwick Borough Council was set up, Berwickshire, in Scotland, was abolished. (When Berwick was taken, Duns became the county town of Berwickshire.) Berwickshire was replaced by Border Region, but you can still see/hear the name frequently today. In East Lothian, there’s also a town called North Berwick, so called because Berwick upon Tweed was “South Berwick”. If you find this all confusing, that’s because it is. In fact, the constitutional position of Berwick is so obscure, that few people know that Berwick only officially became part of England in 1885, and even then this position was not fully enshrined in law.

Berwick was a prosperous and important town when ruled by Scotland. It had its own mint, and was a major trading port with the Continent and the Hanseatic League. It was one of four Royal Burghs in Scotland, and made a quarter of all customs revenues received north of the border. Robert the Bruce held a number of parliaments in Berwick, and issued proclamations from it. Amongst the town’s exports were wool, grain and salmon, while merchants from Germany and the Low Countries set up businesses in the town in order to trade. Under English rule, however, it was little more than a minor port and border garrison. The Continental merchants fled, and its wealth atrophied.

Berwick became part of Scotland in the 11th century, and was known as “South Berwick”. Between 1147 and 1482, Berwick changed hands no less than 13 times. In 1551, King Edward IV and Queen Mary signed a treaty which said that Berwick would be ruled by England, but would not become part of it. This ensured peace, but was not good for the town, for example, when a certain governor of Berwick begged the English parliament for help regenerating the town, he received the bizarre reply that “Berwick is in the realm but not of it”.

In 1603, when James VI of Scots became King of England, he declared the town as belonging neither to England nor Scotland but part of the united Crown’s domain. In 1639, during the Bishops’ Wars, Charles I met General Leslie at Berwick, and negotiated a settlement whereby the King agreed that disputed questions should be referred to the Scottish Parliament. From thereon in, Berwick’s absorption was a slow one.

With the Acts of Union, the border ceased to be a major political issue. However, the ’45 changed that, with many in the Jacobite camp insisting that Scotland was a separate kingdom, even if their leaders thought otherwise. And in 1746, Westminster passed the “Wales and Berwick Act” mentioned above.

However after the 1746 Act, Berwick still had a status as a “county corporate”, and returned two members of parliament. In 1885, the “Redistribution Act” was passed, which cut Berwick’s representation to a single MP, and made it part of Northumberland. Berwick was now officially in England.

The English “Book of Common Prayer” also mentioned Berwick separately until the late 19th century saying: “This book shall be appointed to be used by all that officiate in all parish Churches and Chapels within the Kingdom of England, Dominion of Wales and town of Berwick upon Tweed.”

In 1959, the Town Council of Berwick applied for new Matriculation of Arms to the Lord Lyon of Scotland. They had previously applied to the Garter King of Arms (the English equivalent), but had not approved of his design which eliminated the bears and wych elm from which the town is supposed to derive its name, and which goes back to its time as one of the four Royal Burghs of Scotland. The Matriculation says:

“The Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the Borough of Berwick upon Tweed in the County of the Borough and Town of Berwick upon Tweed, acting by the Council having by petition unto the Lord Lyon, King of Arms, shown; that Berwick upon Tweed was anciently a Royal Burgh of Scotland and bore Ensigns Armorial as such, a version of which said Ensigns has been matriculated for the County of Berwick in Scotland in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland.”

It is worth noting here that the English spelling “borough” is used, along with English titles – Mayor and aldermen – rather than Provost and Baillies.

In 1974, Berwick Borough was merged with neighbouring English councils, resulting in the current set up. Now, the plan is to abolish Berwick Borough Council altogether and place both its Scots and English parts under Morpeth. The “Interpretation Act 1978” provides that in legislation passed between 1967 and 1974, “a reference to England includes Berwick upon Tweed and Monmouthshire”.

Modern Berwick contains many contradictions, for example, the leader of the town uses the English title “mayor”, not “provost”, but like Scottish provosts, he wears a purple gown, not a red one, as English mayors do. Furthermore, the Mayor and Corporation of Berwick are supposed to take precedence over all those in England, except London and York. Berwick is also one of a handful of “unparished” areas in England. The Tweed still falls properly under Scots Law, although this is only occasionally observed. The town has branches of the Church of England, and the Church of Scotland, the latter since John Knox himself preached there. The banks in the town are a mixture of the usual Scottish and English ones.  In sporting terms, Berwick is Scottish. Berwick Rangers play football in the Second Division, although its ground is on the English side of the Tweed, and Berwick RFC plays their rugby in the Third Division. Unlike the nearby Scottish Border towns, Berwick is mainly a football town, and Berwick Rangers’ greatest moment came in 1967 when they beat Glasgow Rangers.

The media want us think that the Berwick issue is a new one. Not at all! Alan Hughes, a Yorkshire man who is Church of England vicar of Berwick reminded us back in an interview with The Scotsman in 2007 –

“My first parish was in Edinburgh’s Wester Hailes in the 1970s. There, I met Wendy Wood, the doughty Scottish Nationalist who used to stride into Berwick, ripping up any English signs and claiming Berwick back as Scotland’s ‘lost limb’”

Wendy Wood used to move the border signs into the middle of the Tweed bridge, and wrote about Berwick extensively in her autobiography ‘Yours Sincerely for Scotland’, devoting a whole chapter to it:

“The New Bridge opened in 1928 by the Prince of Wales has the English coat of arms on the south side with an inscription giving the names of the Minister of Transport and Chairman of Councils. The north end has the arms of Scotland with an inscription saying ‘Royal Tweed Bridge opened by HRH Prince of Wales – 16th May, 1928’ News reports of the time refer to the bridge as connecting two countries […] the Scottish Land Court sat at Berwick, the local labour exchange is under Scottish administration.

Why then is the Border sign three miles into Scotland from the middle of this bridge?”

The well known poet and writer of the mid 20th century, Morris Blythman, used to write under the pseudonym “Thurso Berwick” – a name which combined the north and south of  Scotland.

The British Establishment’s main concern about Berwick is not its citizens, but the fact that its return to Scotland would affect fishing and oil/gas exploration. We have already seen the transference of a large chunk of North Sea from Scotland to England. The shift in marine boundaries is, I believe, mainly a response to Scottish self-determination, rather than the Berwick question. But if the Berwick question gained momentum, the main response would be on this front. Britain has never fought fair, and we should remember that in all things.

Scotland’s land border is better established than that of many countries. Scotland isn’t split into several pieces, like Catalonia, Kurdistan or the Basque Country. It is not a recent invention, like that of Northern Ireland or Israel/Palestine. Nor have we lost our national capital, as Brittany has, with Nantes, and the départment of “Loire-Atlantique” being officially outwith “Bretagne”. That said, I believe there is a genuine Border question when it comes to Berwick. The feeling in Berwick itself is still very mixed. Some consider themselves English, some Scottish, and some just Berwickers. However, more and more want to be back in Scotland, and there are good reasons for them to be so. Wales was once written off as a lost cause. Maybe Berwick is what John Steinbeck called an “unwon cause”.

Comments (37)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Dave Coull says:

    When England is doing well in the world cup or some international footballing competition, the town of Berwick is awash with English flags. That’s not just support for the neighbours – everybody knows you wouldn’t find that in any other “Scottish” town. And that may be a better indication of sentiment in Berwick than that flawed poll by the Berwick Advertiser which was mentioned. For one thing, the “district” of Berwick extends about 20 miles into England, including parts which no sane person in Scotland would claim as being “Scottish”. For another, the poll arose out of discussion of the better NHS which folk in Scotland enjoyed, and wouldn’t it be better to be part of the Scottish NHS than the English one. Also, the question was about becoming part of a devolved Scotland within the United Kingdom . There would almost certainly have been a very different result if the question had been about the possibility of being part of an independent Scotland. Besides, what about the people of Scotland? Do we get a say in this? What do WE have to gain by this? Absolutely nothing, so far as I can see.

    At present, Scotland is further along the road to independence than any other “stateless nation” precisely because the case of Scotland is so clear. Unlike Flanders, we don’t have to argue about which street in the suburbs of Brussels should be the border. Unlike Catalonia, we don’t have disputes with France and Spain about the extent of our territory. We have clear, long settled, boundaries: the territory within which Scottish law applies. Why should we throw away that enormous advantage? Why add un-necessary complications to the independence negotiations? So far as I can see, the only folk who stand to gain by raising this non-issue of Berwick are opponents of independence for Scotland.

    1. John Jones says:

      “What do WE have to gain by this?” It’s the oil, innit?

      Bella couldn’t have made it more obvious. The ludicrous claim that English interest in retaining sovereignty over a town that has been part of England since the end of the 15th century, nearly 500 years before the bed of the North Sea was first drilled for its resources, is purely about England wanting control over more of the oil lying offshore, is transparently an unsuccessful attempt at directing attention away from the nakedly materialistic motives of aggressive Scottish nationalists.

      The real reason why they want to re-acquire control over a town that has not been Scottish in more than five centuries is, of course, precisely because it would push the nautical border as well as the land border further south, with consequent implications for Scotland’s share of the oil

      Everything else, including the tendentious history offered above, is smoke in the eyes. It’s a land-grab (or rather a sea-bed grab), pure and simple.

  2. Ray Bell says:

    “For one thing, the “district” of Berwick extends about 20 miles into England, including parts which no sane person in Scotland would claim as being “Scottish”.”

    I covered this in the article, if you read it. And as I point out, the vast majority of this area is not historically connected with Berwick, which was only officially absorbed into Northumberland in 1885.

  3. Ray Bell says:

    “We have clear, long settled, boundaries: the territory within which Scottish law applies.”

    Really? Our maritime boundary was shifted about fifty miles back around the time the Scottish parliament was set up. Also the Solway and Tweed are supposed to come under Scots Law, but in last few years, salmon netters on the north side of the Solway have been taken to English courts. If you think that the British State ever sticks to its own rules, you’re wrong.

    “And that may be a better indication of sentiment in Berwick than that flawed poll by the Berwick Advertiser which was mentioned. ”

    It’s not a poll though, is it? It’s just your anecdotal observation. What I’ve done in this piece is provide hardcore evidence, like laws and precedents, not just my own opinion. (Although that features too)

    “What do WE have to gain by this? Absolutely nothing, so far as I can see.”

    Part of Scotland, that’s what. And we lose nothing.

    “At present, Scotland is further along the road to independence than any other “stateless nation” precisely because the case of Scotland is so clear. ”

    That shows how little you’ve been looking at other countries. Greenland and the Faroes are currently much closer to independence than Scotland is, and that’s just within our backyard.

    I wouldn’t put stateless nation in quotes, because Scotland is one. I guarantee you that the case of Scotland shall become more unclear as Britain tries to hold onto us.

    There is a Berwick question precisely because Scotland is a stateless nation with little power. As you’ll have read above (!) Berwick was absorbed long after Scotland was brought into the Union, and only when the British state had got full control of it.

  4. Sarah says:

    The British Establishment’s main concern about Berwick is not its citizens, but the fact that its return to Scotland would affect fishing and oil/gas exploration.

    And I’m sure Scots by contrast are completely thinking of the well being of Berwick and its citizens. There’s lots of talk of how Berwick would be better off in Scotland but there rarely seems to be interest in improving its lot without it. But then you wouldn’t get the boundaries to go with it. One theatre in Berwick offered discounts to locals in the town and got accused of discriminating against Scots, so much for concern. An excuse to land grab wrapped up in faux nobility basically.

    1. Ray Bell says:

      “An excuse to land grab wrapped up in faux nobility basically.”

      The aristocracy doesn’t even come into it, m’lady.

  5. I lived in Berwick for eight and a half years and there is nothing Scotch about the place, even though those Scots who’ve achieved prominent or influential positions within the town try to Scotchify it. The ‘polls’ you cite were criticised at the time for having been conducted amongst a very narrow and, it was claimed, select section of the local population. I came across few who had heard of them and never came across anyone who had taken part in them. The town is historically English, and dates from before the time Edinburgh was English. It was in Scotch hands six times over about 450 years, if I recall correctly, for a total of considerably fewer than 300 years. Very few people in Berwick think of themselves as Scotch and many people there, native Berwickers among them, heartily dislike the Jocks.

    Berwick’s so called ‘independence’ was never more than purely notional, a sop to Scotch whinging. The town has been unequivocally part of England since the early fifteen hundreds, which is why Henry VIII spent so much money fortifying it against Scotch aggression.

    Berwick’s situation could easily be improved by scrapping the English subsidies to Scotland and making the Scotch pay for themselves. The country won’t look quite so attractive to anyone then, not even the natives.

    You need to look at the world without your tartan tinted spectacles.

    1. Ray Bell says:

      “You need to look at the world without your tartan tinted spectacles.”

      It would be a bit difficult to tint spectacles with tartan, but I’m sure someone’s tried.

      As for “nothing Scotch about the town”, as you put it I’ve quoted half a dozen laws and precedents.

      “a sop to Scotch whinging.”

      Nice, but I’m not actually that bothered by the term “Scotch”. Burns used it for himself. But as a mate of “Sarah’s”, I’m sure you know who the Australians most often refer to as whinging. (Clue: Begins with “p”.)

      Good to see the usual suspects have come out of the woodwork. Must have got sick of hanging around Cornish forums. LOL!

      “Not one inch of English land will you get,”

      I never said anything about getting English land…

  6. Junius says:

    Well said William it was a rubbish ‘poll’ with a blatant political agenda ; and the fact that Berwick widely considers itself English is equally borne out by my experience. Nothing Scottish about Berwick – these articles are self-defeating, my family are now turning into real English nationalists thanks to Mr Bell and his ilk.

    Not one inch of English land will you get, and we want the maritime border back to its pre-1960 position.

    1. Ray Bell says:

      “it was a rubbish ‘poll’ with a blatant political agenda”

      Name me a better one then.

      “Nothing Scottish about Berwick”

      Apart from a number of inconvenient facts, such as laws, and historical statements, as opposed to mere opinions.

  7. Hendre says:

    I’m curious about this Act. I notice you use the short title, “Wales and Berwick Act’ rather than the more prosaic long title, “An act to enforce the execution of an act of this session of parliament, for granting to his Majesty several rates and duties upon houses, windows, or lights”.

    Thomas Glyn Watkin’s Legal History of Wales makes no reference to it. Isn’t it really just a piece of parliamentary housekeeping? After all, the use of the phrase ‘England and Wales’ in Acts of Parliament continued in the 18th/19th century? Why bring Wales into it if it was prompted by the ’45 uprising?

    1. Ray Bell says:

      “I notice you use the short title” – Word count, it was pretty long as it stands.

      1. Hendre says:

        I think you know what I was getting at. Looking at the long title of the Act it seems to be a bit of jumble of miscellaneous business rather than any grand statement of constitutional intent.

        As you said, the Act has been repealed in the case of Wales (1967) so if England can no longer to deemed and taken to comprehend and include the dominion of Wales retrospectively, including in the 1707 Act of Union, and bearing in mind the 1536 Laws in Wales Act has also been repealed (which was never an act of union as such), does that mean that we have nothing in writing to say that Wales is a part of the union?

        You can treat that as a rhetorical question – I appreciate your interest lies in Berwick!

      2. Hendre says:

        As a footnote, the 1978 Intepretation Act appears to reinstate the Wales and Berwick clause:

        in any Act passed before 1st April 1974, a reference to England includes Berwick upon Tweed and Monmouthshire and, in the case of an Act passed before the Welsh Language Act 1967, Wales)

  8. I did some digging about the legal status of Berwick and there is a dichotomy in the situation it appears that the land that Berwick stands on is still legally part of Scotland.

    The town itself is a legal entity dealt with as a Crown dependency of England, in much the same way as the Falkland Islands, for example. It is also why the Treaty of Union gives Scotland no legal rights over present and future colonies or dependencies of the English Empire – as that includes Berwick.

    So there you go an English town on Scottish soil – confused?

    1. Ray Bell says:

      Most of Britain is a legalistic mess. That’s because instead of formulating laws logically, they have accumulated like layers of silt on the bottom of a river, and contradict each other.

  9. Dave Coull says:

    The word “territory” comes from the Latin word “terra”, meaning land, and when I referred to “the territory within which Scottish law applies”, I meant the land. I’m aware of the maritime boundary dispute, but that should be dealt with as a completely separate matter. In seeking independence, a long settled land boundary is an enormous advantage, which most other stateless nations wish they had; we’ve got that advantage, and it’s not worth throwing away over Berwick. The poll you cite was deeply flawed both in who was allowed to take part, and in who got excluded. Also, it only asked if folk wanted the advantages of being administered as part of Scotland under DEVOLVED government – it certainly doesn’t mean they would want to be part of an independent Scotland! If, AFTER Scotland becomes independent, the people of Berwick genuinely want to join us, then they can organise a properly-conducted poll to prove this. And then we can have a properly conducted referendum of the people of independent Scotland on the question of whether we actually want the place or not. Ray, your answer to my question “What do we have to gain?” was “part of Scotland” – but that’s precisely what we’re disagreeing about. Never mind what your ancient laws and precedents say, it’s seems pretty clear to me most folk in Berwick consider it English now. As for “losing nothing”, I think we would stand to lose a lot by picking a completely un-necessary quarrel over Berwick. Sooner or later, the electorate of Scotland will get the chance to vote in a single-issue, non-party-political, referendum on independence, and I’m completely confident that, when we finally do get that opportunity, there will a decisive majority, from every part of Scotland, for independence. Okay, so what happens after a decisive vote for independence? What always happens sooner or later. The British government may huff and puff, but, sooner or later, there will be negotiations on the details of independence. How the National Debt is divided up. What happens to military bases. The maritime boundary, no doubt. Things like that. The independence negotiations could be quite complicated. One complication we could really do without is bloody Berwick. England is welcome to the place.

  10. Dave Coull says:

    William Gruff talks about “scrapping the English subsidies to Scotland” – these are a figment of your imagination, William, or perhaps a figment of the imagination of the hacks who spew out their bile for the downmarket tabloid you read. It’s London you subsidize, not Scotland. Some towns got big because they produced something. For instance, Bradford’s textile mills, Stoke-on-Trent’s potteries, Birmingham’s engineering workshops, Sheffield’s fine quality steel products, Glasgow’s shipbuilding, and so on. The only reason London got big was because the king was there. By the beginning of modern times London was already big. The formation of the United Kingdom made it even bigger. Precisely BECAUSE it was the centre of government, it became the “centre” of the biggest free trade area in all of Europe, and the capital of the most highly centralised state in all of Europe. The growth of the British Empire made it also the centre of government of the biggest empire on Earth. Even after the Empire became the Commonwealth, London remained the centre of the Sterling area. The centre of the world empire remained a centre of world business out of sheer force of habit, because businessmen for the most part lack the imagination to do things differently. London remained a centre of world banking, a centre for the offices of multi-national companies, and all of this happened because, to begin with, the king was there. So the government was there. So all the companies who wanted to get contracts from the government were there. I lived in London for twelve years, working as a bricklayer. That’s a useful job, you might think. But what was I building? Sometimes it was office blocks for the millions of pen-pushing bureaucrats. Sometimes it was houses for the millions of pen-pushing bureaucrats. Sometimes it was houses for the people who provided services for the millions of pen-pushing bureaucrats. Hardly anybody at all in London actually PRODUCES anything at all. They are all just there because the government is there. The entire mega city is just one great big pile of bureaucracy. And WE pay for it all. This process is continuing to this very day. Many, many billions of pounds of OUR money is being spent on glorifying London still further for the Olympics. Of course they will try to tell you it is for the benefit of all of us, but the truth is, the Olympics are for the benefit of London.

  11. Derek B utler says:

    B ell is talking rubbish. Berwick has been de facto English since 1482, de lege so since 1835 and English for an aggregate total of nearly 770 years, as opposed to an aggregate of less than 316 in Scotland

  12. Derek B utler says:

    Sorry , correction -679 years English aggregate (776 years for Tweedmouth on south bank). Scots years (check it out, if you like) 1018-1296, 1318-33, 1461-82). Facts are facts, Mr B ell!

  13. Derek B utler says:

    Mr Bell, the 1835 Municipal Boroughs Act of a British parliament places Berwick in England. The 1833 Burghs Act Scotland does not name the town. Both sides The Tweed here are English legally

  14. Derek B utler says:

    Mr B ell, I note you subscribe to a Nationalist web-site. I thus suggest you really do need to learn your history. Are you local to Berwick, as i have been for 30 years – or remote in some Edinburgh ivory tower?

  15. Dave Coull says:

    It is not true, as claimed by Ray Bell, that “Polls held in early 2008, by the Berwick Advertiser and ITV Tonight suggest that 60-70% of people in the town want to return to being part of Scotland”. Newspaper and television “polls” are notoriously unreliable for the simple reason that anybody, anywhere in the world, can take part in them; and it looks like people in Scotland and even some Scottish-Americans and other “exiles” may have taken part in this so-called “poll”. There was certainly no residency requirement. In any case, even if there had been, what do you mean by “Berwick”? Berwick District extends deep into England, and even the present Berwick town boundaries include areas on the South side of the Tweed which were historically English. Note also that what prompted this suggestion was the better nature of the NHS in Scotland. But the majority of folk who were prepared to be counted as coming under a devolved Scottish Parliament for NHS purposes would have taken a VERY different if asked about being part of an INDEPENDENT Scotland. The plain fact is, the only people who stand to gain from raising this complete non-issue of Berwick are opponents of independence for Scotland.

  16. derek says:

    The above is right. Both the editor and the producer said it was just a stunt with no validity, and a lot of erroneous rubbish was written and broadcast. A poll in Berwickshire said 70% there didn’t want Berwick bac back

  17. fresian cauld says:

    Berwick is only English, because the original native Scottish population was annihilated by Longshanks. That war crime cannot be undone after 700 years. Leave Berwick where it is, just in England, and no more. But give us back the 600 sq. miles stolen by Westminster on the night in 1999 that The Scotland Bill was passed !

  18. Derek B utler says:

    The above is of course silly nonsense, adolescent rubbish. Berwick was again Scots from 1318-33 and 1461-82 and Scots are well represented here. Edward fulfilled the rights of war of the time.

  19. derek says:

    Despite its weak defences, Berwick chose to mock a formal invitation to surrender. Thus Edward could, though not obliged, by the laws of war do as he did. You cannot judge morals of 1296 by those of 2012!

  20. Coming from a Shetland perspective, this is a sleeping dog best left to lie. True, the ‘natural’ border is the tweed. But the wishes of the people of Berwick should come first. When Scotland is again Independent, the economic boost that will result will overspill into the North of England. You don’t need a formal political union, to create an economic centre of gravity. Scottish Independence is the best thing that could happen to the North of England. Look north folks, and prosper

  21. Brian Macfarlane says:

    Interesting discussion. For what its worth here’s my thoughts. In 285 days or so Scotland will be well on the way to being again the true Nation it should always have been. (Allowing for the “morals of 1707” ) Although myself personally I think Berwick should be Scottish, the Natural border that was considered the border between the Kingdom of the Scots and the Kingdom of England (when they were talking to each other that is) However its complicated and should be for a later time. I think Ray Bell wrote a very good piece and hardly deserved the usual English condescencion it got but thats one of the reasons we want shot of them isn’t it really? His well thought out and researched piece being attacked by baseless assertions as usual.
    Seems to me that once the dust settles with Independence those people in Berwick who apparently can’t stand the Jocks, will be kissing bare kilted arse profusely. The others, if they’re already thinking of it just because of the NHS. Will no doubt be bought and sold for Scottish gold even more readily when Scotland takes its place as 8th richest country in the world and leaves them at 17th. Kinda makes a mockery of your subsidise jibe that Mr Gruff eh? I can understand Dave Coulls attitude in one way though I think his fears of it somehow being used by Perfidious Albion in the upcoming negotiations was a bit OTT. Don’t worry Dave they’ll find plenty other things to irritate us with thats the one thing we can all be sure of..

  22. Brian Macfarlane says:

    Also I’ve heard some apologists for Edward I before derek but you take the biscuit with that one. The English forces reportedly butchered an estimated 8,000 men, women, and children. Even in those bestial days genocide to that degree isnt a rule of war issue. It must have been the BBC who reported it because news of it was suppressed.

  23. Richard M says:

    So what…. It’s been ruled by England than therefore effectively part of England for hundreds of years… Calais was English long after Scotland ceded Berwick, but nobody in England is asking for that back.

  24. Alex from Carlisle says:

    ‘Berwick is only English, because the original native Scottish population was annihilated by Longshanks’

    And Berwick, along with the Scottish Borders and Lothians, were only Scottish because the English Northumbrian population were slaughtered by invading Scots in the 10th century, coming to a head at the Battle of Carham, when English folk north of the Tweed were cut off from their kin to the south.

  25. Jon Holland says:

    So I wonder how the people of Berwick would vote, now ( being English -v- Scottish ) following the recent BREXIT vote? That would make for a very interesting discussion.

  26. j.Harkins says:

    I lived in duns Berwickshire for a few years and I can assure you the people here in duns don’t want Berwick back in Berwickshire so stick that in you pipe and smoke it

  27. J.harkins says:

    To alex of Carlisle do you know that Carlisle is anything but English and Cumbria means LAND OF THE WELSHMAN and when Carlisle fell in 1092 it was the Normans who took Carlisle not the English and also about 80% of the population of Cumbria are native BRITONS not ENGLISH that is a fact

  28. j cunningham says:

    Well Said mate Cumbria is anything but English and so is Devon and Cornwall I worked with a few Cornish lads on the rigs and they definitely don’t consider themselves English and said the vast majority of Cornish people consider themselves Celts

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.