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Berwick upon Tweed
Chapter I. 833—1286


BERWICK is not mentioned while this district is under British or Roman sway. In the later Saxon period, when the Danes are attempting to establish their authority over Bernicia, and when it was considered that they were the dominating power, the Pictish King, Grig, or Gregory, swept down upon it, gained possession of Bamborough, and laid waste Lindisfarne. It was at this time—872 —that Boece, the Scottish historian, says that Gregory wintered in Berwick. Again, in Langtoff's Chronicle' the following lines occur:

In ye zere after [833] right in the time of May,
Oseth, ye Danes Kyng, com Inglond to affraie.
He aryved at Berwick, in the water of Twede,
Priue help of ye Scottes he had at his nede
And com fast toward ye South grete powere he led.'

Roger of Wendover relates an incident in the same century and about the same date—870 a.d.—in which Berwick is again mentioned. Regnar Lodbrog, sailing from Danemark in a small boat, was slain by his huntsman, Berne. Edmund of England investigated the case, since the murder happened on English soil, and punished the murderer by putting him to sea in the small boat in which Lodbrog had sailed, but without oars or any means of guiding the boat, to see if Providence would deliver him. The boat drifted to the coast of Danemark, and Berne was landed among the same people from whom Lodbrog had no long time previously sailed. Berne was at once treated as the murderer of the prince ; but invented a story to clear himself, in which he blamed Edmund, the English King, for the crime. The Danes, under the leadership of Inguar and Ubba, eager to revenge their chief's death, sailed for England towards the East Anglian coast. A violent storm drove them back, and turning northwards, they found no landing-place till they sighted Berwick. After setting foot on shore they turned southward, ravaging the country till they encountered Edmund, whom they slew. These notices bring Berwick before us as early as the ninth century. Old chroniclers embellish their narratives with so much that is fabulous that no great faith can be put in any of these notices as really bringing Berwick into so early prominence in the annals of our country. Although the surrounding district continues to be harassed with contending armies from south and north, Berwick is never again referred to for over 200 years. When Eardulph-Cudel, the slow and sluggish prince, ruled over the Northumbrian earldom, he met in pitched battle, with all his forces, Malcolm, the Scottish King, who was anxious to extend the southern limits of his kingdom. This battle, fought at Carram (Carham) in the year 1018, ended disastrously for the southern army, and the Scottish King was able from this date to claim the Tweed as a Scottish river, and Berwick, if it existed at all, as a town within the boundary of Scotia.

In 1031 Canute, the Danish King of England, came north, and demanded homage from Malcolm for the recently annexed part of Scotland. This homage was performed by the northern King in due form. Previous to this time Bernicia had extended to the Forth, and Bamborough was the royal town of this extensive territory. Berwick does not become noted before the period preceding 1030. A mere village it must have been, neither a boundary town nor a fortified place; for Bamborough would not have suffered such a stronghold in its immediate neighbourhood, especially on the opposite side of an important river. When the Tweed has at length become the dividing-line of the two kingdoms, and Berwick the border town to defend that line, it was but natural that Berwick should at once leap into greatness, and a rudely fortified castle assume a shape, more or less important, on that knoll to the north-west of the town, which has been for ages one of the most historically noted places in our country. To support the view in the text of the origin of Berwick's rapid prosperity the following details are given by Skene in his 'Celtic Scotland': The kings of Scotland had now become possessors of conquered territory; the Lothians were now their own ; and what more likely than that they should attempt to extend their limits still further south, and make the Tyne instead of the Tweed their southern boundary? Duncan, grandson of Malcolm, and son of Crinan, the lay Abbot of Dunkeld, fired with this ambition, determined, shortly after 1030 a.d., upon a trial of strength with his southern foe. He overran easily the northern part, penetrating the land till he threatened Durham. Here his further progress was stayed. He met the English force, and was defeated. His army was put to a disorderly flight, in which all his foot soldiers were lost and numbers of his cavalry slain* Duncan was thus compelled to retreat with his self-imposed task unfulfilled. On arriving at Berwick, where he was met by Moddan, an earl whom he had appointed ruler over Orkney and Caithness, he learned that this earldom had been seized by Thorfinn, his own cousin, and son of Sigurd, late Earl of the Orkneys. Duncan determined to proceed northwards in person to Moddan's assistance. The latter set out at once by land; but the King fitted out at Berwick a fleet of eleven war-ships, and set sail on the fatal expedition, which ended shortly afterwards in his assassination by Macbeth, of Shakespearian renown.* This notice of Berwick is sufficiently tantalizing. Eleven war-ships fitted out in its harbour indicates a port of considerable age, magnitude, and importance. Why, then, are its surroundings so dark and impenetrable up to this date? No ray of light has yet illumined those times, so that the history of the town must be traced onward from the reign of Duncan for a while yet, by very uncertain light, till at length we reach the end of the eleventh or the beginning of the twelfth century, when all uncertainty ceases, and the full light of day is reflected on every page.

Duncan was assassinated in 1040 a.d. His young son Malcolm was sent to England for safety, because he was nearly related to Siward the Dane, who was at that time Earl of Northumberland. Macbeth the usurper ruled over Scotland for seventeen years. He had sufficient to do with his own turbulent people to keep him from molesting the English. In 1054, when Malcolm was of age to think of regaining his hereditary throne, he, with the aid of Siward, penetrated to the heart of Scotland by sea and by land to conquer his rival. In this expedition, as in Duncan's, Berwick would be the starting-place from which to sail into Scotland. The expedition, thus begun, terminated in desperate fighting, and in partial defeat of Macbeth. Malcolm was consequently installed King of Cumbria and Lothian, over which he ruled for three years. Siward of Northumberland died soon after, and was succeeded by Tostig, son of Earl Godwin, who was not related to the late Northumbrian family. Malcolm, still requiring the friendship of his southern neighbour, forms a firm alliance with Tostig: ' they are like sworn brothers.' Secure in the south, he sets out to attempt the overthrow of the northern usurper; and he is this time completely successful. Macbeth was slain at Lumphanan in Forfarshire, and Malcolm became King of Scotland as no man had been king before. From this date Malcolm reigned for thirty-five years. Safe now in his own territory, and in Tostig's absence, he attacks Northumbria, and harries after the usual fashion, as if no sworn brotherhood had existed between them. About this time Malcolm married the widow of Thorfinn, Earl of Orkney, Ingibiorg by name, by whom he had two sons, Duncan and Donald. She did not long survive; for in 1067 his second and more important alliance took place. He now married Margaret, sister of Edgar Atheling, who had come under the protection of his Court, along with his sisters and mother. This marriage brought Malcolm into close friendship with the native Saxon element in the country, but at enmity with the Norman power. Hence we find he made continual incursions into Northumberland, either to oppose the Norman, or uphold the right of the Atheling to his Saxon throne. After Tostig had enjoyed his earldom for ten years, he was dispossessed of his dignity and driven out of his own dominions. The successor to this earldom was Osulf, a descendant of the old family, whose last reigning scion was killed in 1041. Cospige, an adherent of Tostig's, drove out Osulf from his possessions. He was slain soon afterwards by Osulf, who, in his turn, having attacked a robber in his wanderings, was slain by the robber's lance.

This brings us to the next and the most famous Earl of Northumberland, Gospatric, son of Maldred, son of Crinan, who was thus connected with the royal House of Scotland, and, through his mother, with the old line of Northumbrian earls. Gospatric obtained the earldom, partly by gift, from the English King. He was loyal to his benefactor for a time, but at last he joined Malcolm in one of his English raids. He was thus obliged to take refuge at Malcolm's Court till the wrath of the English King passed away. He was restored to his earldom for a time, when he again embroiled himself in new quarrels, till the Conqueror deprived him of his rights, and conveyed them to Waltheof, Earl of Huntingdon. Gospatric remained true to his new alliance, was appointed by Malcolm on foreign service, and was rewarded for his fidelity with the earldom of Dunbar, a large territory— indeed, the greater part of East Lothian. He thus became the first of a long line of historical characters who have borne this title, famous in the annals of Berwick, not only in the reign of Edward I. but also in the reign of James I. of England, when the present charter was granted. Malcolm continued to make repeated inroads into Northumbria, but was at length compelled to come to terms by William the Conqueror, then King of England. When Rufus began to reign, Malcolm again resumed his predatory habits, and entered Northumberland with the old idea of extending his border-line to the Tyne. A peace was again concluded, in which Malcolm owned and acknowledged Rufus's overlordship of the Lothians. This cessation of hostilities was again broken, not by the northern King, but by Rufus, who tried to force his boundary north of Carlisle, and displace Dolphin, son of Gospatric, from his Cumbrian government under the Scottish King. Malcolm, furious at this interference, gathered his forces for another plunge into the enemies grounds, more than wearied out with these repeated assaults. But he did not meet with the success he expected. Robert, Earl of Northumberland, ensnared him to his ruin. He was slain by Morel of Bamburgh. Simeon of Durham adds that he was cut off near the river Alne, and that his army either fell by the sword, or those who escaped the sword were carried away by the rivers, which were then more than usually flooded by the winter rains. Two natives of the district placed the King's body in a cart, for none of his own men survived to perform this sad duty, and buried it at Tynemouth.

Canmore died in 1093, and for four years after this the Scottish throne was given up to the conflicting claims of different aspirants. Towards the close of this period a successful attempt was made to place Eadgar, son of Malcolm, in kingly power. In this he was assisted by an army from England, and by the Atheling, with whose aid Donald Bane, the usurper, was defeated and dethroned. Fordun, in his Chronicles says that while Eadgar was going north, St. Cuthbert appeared to him in a dream, and advised him to carry his (Cuthbert's) standard from Durham in front of his army, which would be sure to bring him victory and success. For this benefit by the gifted saint, Eadgar founded anew the Monastery of Coldingham in 1097 ; and this princely man, adds Fordun, heaped gift upon gift, and confirmed by gift to the Bishop of Durham and his successors the noble village of Berwick, with all its appurtenances. We believe this to be the earliest indisputable notice of the town. The same statement is referred to in the MSS. Galo O. 3, 55, in Trinity College Library, Cambridge, the handwriting of which belongs to the first half of the twelfth century. In this it is said that King Eadgar gave to St. Cuthbert(Berwick with all its belongings and revoked the gift soon afterwards. The same matter is referred to in a greatly disputed charter of Eadgar's, a charter whose authenticity is believed in by Raine and denied by Skene. This gift is said by historians to have been made to Ralph Flambard, Bishop of Durham, who is said to have shortly afterwards assaulted one of Eadgar's favourite captains, hence the King revoked the gift from so ungrateful a recipient. The rest of Eadgar's reign passed in peace. He died in 1107, and was succeeded by his brother Alexander the Fierce over the north of Scotland, and by David, his younger brother, over the southern parts of the country, viz., the Lothians and Cumbria.

David reigned over the southern parts of Scotland seventeen years before he became ruler over the whole of the land. In 1124 he became David I., King of Scotland, and ruled until 1153—a long and most beneficial reign for the people. In the history of the country during all this time we do not find any reference to Berwick, or its inhabitants of that day, taking part with the King, in his foreign or domestic raids, against his enemies. His transactions with our neighbours in Northumberland are important, but throw little or no light upon our town's history, so that we can pass them over without any detriment to our story; but when we come to his domestic policy, we then enter the heart of our subject. Very early in his reign, in 1113, he founded at Selkirk ' a colony of Benedictine monks from the newly founded Abbey of Tiron, in Le Perche, and planted it beside his forest castle of Selkirk/* This colony he removed to Kelso, when he ascended the Scottish throne, and richly endowed it with possessions from various parts of Scotland as well as from Berwick. Again, before the year 1130 a.d., this King gave the Church of St. Mary, in Berwick, to the Coldingham monks in exchange for the Church of Melrose. The Statute Gildae were now framed in Berwick, for we read that, when Bishop Robert of St. Andrews was desirous of erecting a burgh at his episcopal see, the King granted him a site, and transferred to the new burgh the services of Mainerd, as its provost, a Fleming and a burgess of Berwick, where he had learned the burgh usages and the duties of his office. Such was the beginning of St. Andrews as a trading burgh. Further, we know that Berwick during Edward's reign was made one of the four royal burghs of Scotland.

Taking all these points into consideration, we can now see Berwick, at this early date, a large and well-ordered town, a Royal Burgh, its lands gifted by the King whithersoever he wills, a burgh governed by its councilmen, presided over by a Provost or Bailie; for if not, how could Mainerd be deputed to teach the St. Andrews citizens the customs and usages of a burgh? Berwick can now be traced from earliest times, as starting into existence as a small fishing village on the Tweed, whose salmon soon made it a place of special interest. The town increased by degrees, slowly perhaps, until it had attained, early in the eleventh century, the position of a port sufficiently large to harbour war-vessels of the Scottish King. The wave of feudalism now passed over the country. During the Danish wars every town had to choose its lord; but Berwick was important enough to pass into royal hands. Immediately after the Norman Conquest it was brought completely under the oppressive feudal system, when its lands belonged to the King. Eadgar, trained at the English Court, in all the routine of feudalism, thus took the town and gave it to the Bishop of Durham as a gift—that is, he gave him the rents and revenues derivable under feudal tenure from the royal cities of his kingdom. David succeeded after Eadgar to his lordly right; but, sagacious and far-seeing in his policy, he brought into his burghs traders from the south, and traders from the Flemings, and fostered with all his influence the growth of his royal burghs as centres of freedom, and as a counteracting force to the great feudal lords of the land. Berwick, with the same streets, which have for now nigh 8oo years been its paths of commerce and pleasure, with its churches and religious establishments fostered by the pious King who was so ' sair a saunct' for the Crown, was firmly established in this reign ; and began the career of prosperity, which came to a climax in the reign of the third Alexander.

Before leaving David's reign, we find that he founded outside of Berwick the Nunnery of St. Leonards, a convent of Cistercian nuns—Fordun calls it 'a monastery of Holy Nuns close to Berwick. This nunnery continued here till Robert III.'s reign, when it was suppressed by that King. The history of the place is involved in obscurity so far; but rays of light are thrown in upon it at rare intervals, as shall afterwards be recorded.

David I. was succeeded by his grandson Malcolm, and during his peaceable reign, as far as our district is concerned, there is not much to chronicle. But in 1159 he extended the charter granted to the Kelso monks of their possessions in Berwick, which had been gifted by his grandfather. The church of St. Lawrence, in the same reign, was given to these monks by Robert Fitzwilliam. The castle is first actually mentioned in Malcolm's time. Reginald, who flourished a.d. 1167, tells the story of a man miserably imprisoned by Malcolm, King of Scotland, in Berwick Castle ; how St. Cuthbert, in spite of bars and fetters, freed him from durance, and brought him safe over the Tweed to Norham Church. This is a really contemporary notice, and though the miraculous must be rejected, yet the fact that the castle existed cannot be disputed.

From the peaceful and comparatively short reign of Malcolm the Maiden, we pass to the stormier and more momentous reign of William the Lion. To understand the events of this reign, we must turn back a little. David I. had married Maud, the eldest daughter of Waltheof, Earl of Northumberland, so that, besides the old claim to Northumbria that had ever haunted the imagination of the kings of Scotland, David had now the superior claim of relationship. It was to enforce this claim that the Battle of the Standard was fought, and, for the same purpose, David made raids into Northumberland. The matter was settled in Stephen's time by the Treaty of Durham, which granted the earldom to Henry, David's son. When Malcolm came to the throne, the English crown was worn by Henry II., who had assumed the earldom into his own possession. During this reign the Scotch King, friendly with the first Plantagenet, made no effort to regain it; but when William found himself face to face with this King, there was no longer acquiescence in this arrangement. William's whole energies were very soon bent upon winning this earldom and annexing it to his kingdom. Henry II.'s high-handed rule had inclined a number of barons to throw off their allegiance. The King's eldest son, who had been crowned in the early part of his father's reign, was urged by the Queen to rebel and demand from his father the realm over which he had been crowned. By large promises he attached the barons to his side, and in like manner he gained over the King of Scots by promising him both Northumberland and Cumberland. William, on his part, was to invade England and assist the disloyal English to establish the young Henry on the throne. In carrying out this programme, William the Lion invaded Northumberland, laid siege to Carlisle, and ravaged in general these northern counties. Here are the details of this destructive raid:

'Hear of the King of Scotland how he warred,
When he departed from Wark how he proposed:
He prepared at night a great number of chevaliers;
To the Castle of Bamborough immediately despatched them;
I well knew the Baron who conducted and led them—
I will not speak of him, for much he has lost by it.
This assembled host will do wonderful damage.
Now, would to Jesus, the Son of Holy Mary,
That the poor people had been warned of it,
Who in their beds are sleeping and know nothing of it!
It was still morning when the dawn cleared up,
When these chevaliers armed themselves, the fierce company.
The town of Belford was first attacked;
Over all the country they scattered themselves—
Some run to towns to commit their folly,
Some go to take sheep in their folds,
Some go to burn the towns—I cannot tell you more;
Never will such great destruction be heard spoken of,
Then might you see peasants and Flemings who tie them,
And lead them in their woods like heathen people;
Women fly to the minster—each was
Naked without clothes, she forgets these her property.
Ah God! why did William de Vesci not know it,
Roger d'Estuteville, the other also?
The booty would have been rescued, nor would they have failed in it,
But they knew it not: certainly it grieves me,
They burnt the country; but God was a friend
To those gentle peasants who were defenceless,
For the Scots were not their mortal enemies;
They would have beaten, slain, and ill-treated them all.
Very great was the booty which the Royalists carry away.
They came to Berwick-on-Tyne [Tweed] to their lodgings:
They have joy enough for that and much amusement,
For they are rich in cattle, oxen, and horses,
And in fine cows, sheep, and lambs,
In clothes and money, in bracelets and rings.'

On William's withdrawal to Berwick, he was followed by the English Justiciar, Richard de Lucy, and the Constable, Humphrey de Bohun, before whom he fled into Scotland. These English leaders brought their army across the Tweed, burnt Berwick, and laid waste the surrounding country. This is the first instance of a long series of disasters which we have to chronicle about Berwick:

'. . . . Henry de Bohun, who boldly advances,
Caused to the King of Scotland the loss of Berwick.
Lord Humphrey de Bohun was of very great consequence,
The barons of Northumberland are his companions;
They burnt all Berwick with fire and firebrands in it,
And a great part of the surrounding country.'

Berwick was not long in recovering this damage. Wooden houses soon blaze to the ground and are quickly restored, so the calamity, terrible in its swift retribution, would soon be forgotten, and Berwick would return in a short time to its career of prosperity. Disturbances of a serious nature recalled the English army southwards. The Lion King sought to assist, in another expedition, the rebel son of the English King, and, under his protection, to penetrate with an army into England. Driven back a second time by an English force, William was slowly retiring towards Scotland, when he was surprised and captured at Alnwick by Ranulph de Glanville, Justiciar. This terrible misfortune told heavily upon Scotland for a time. William was carried to Northampton to the King's presence with all the indignity of a captive; but, before the end of the same year (1174), he bought his liberty by recognising Henry as his suzerain lord, and doing homage for his whole kingdom. The Treaty of Falaise arranged the terms of William's surrender; and, to ensure a proper observance of the terms of the treaty, the English King demanded five of the Scotch castles to be given up to his keeping. Berwick Castle was one of these; and it now remained for fifteen years in the hands of the English. This is the second mention of Berwick Castle that can be relied upon. It could not be of any great age at this time; nor is it at all probable that it was a castle of any strength ; for Burton says that 'down to the opening of the War of Independence there were very few castles built of stone in Scotland.' But, if we must credit Camden, Henry II. rebuilt the castle while it was subject to English rule. If he did so, he would change the rude fort into a well-fortified place, and at least lay the foundation of that structure that was in all its glory of unassailable strength during the reigns of the three Edwards.

The castle was now governed by the English, and garrisoned by English soldiers. The name of one of the early governors has been rescued from oblivion : 1 Tempore quo Gaufridus de Neeville habuit custodiam castelli mei de Berwic.

It is such a well-known episode of English history how William received back the homage of his country from the English King, that we need scarcely refer to it. In 1189 a.d., fifteen years after the Treaty of Falaise, Richard I. sold the homage of the Scottish King for 10,000 marks, and the castles of Berwick and Edinburgh were delivered up to freedom from the hateful English bondage: for we are told that ' Richard, King of England, has restored to his dearest cousin William, King of Scotland, his castles of Roxburgh and Berwick as his own by hereditary right !\

During the rest of Richard's reign there was profound peace between the two countries, and Berwick, as usual, drops out of sight in the world's history ; but, upon John ascending the English throne in 1199, William began at once to assert his claim to Northumberland and Westmoreland. Negotiations with this end in view proceeded very slowly. Evidently John did not intend to part with these earldoms without a hard fight; for, in 1204 a.d., he was engaged in fortifying a tower in Tweedmouth, situated on what is, at the present day, called Tower Hill, clearly with the design of defending, not the bridge, but the ford across the Tweed which was almost opposite this particular point. This fortress William treated with grave suspicion, and as John's men were hastily building it, he sent a sufficient force to stop operations and raze the whole to the ground. These operations were repeated on both sides, with the same result. John's design was to secure an open road to Scotland, and the Lion King's determination was to allow of no such highway, nor any defence erected for that purpose. John continued for some years in no amiable mood at William's conduct, until at length, in 1209, a treaty was framed at Norham, in which John undertook never again to attempt this tower-building, and William on his part gave his two daughters to be married to the two sons of the English King, and promised to pay 1,000 marks in consideration of these marriages, and for the dishonour done in demolishing the works at Tweedmouth ; and thus, in a grumbling, half-satisfied spirit, both Kings maintained the peace till the close of William's reign.

Before leaving this reign, we have the following notices of Berwick as a seaport. When William was warring with the English King, he was anxious for the assistance of some Flemings to aid him in his battles. He accordingly sent messengers to Flanders to seek aid, and so

'William de Saint-Michel will deliver this message
And Robert de Hurevillc, for both are wise;
They have often given proof of ability in need,
They well know in rich court to speak many a language.
To do this message depart these messengers;
The King desires it, and it is his pleasure, so they do it most willingly.
At Berwick-on-Tyne [Tweed] they find the boatmen
Who will take to Flanders the wise messengers.
Already they have entered barges, also on the high sea,
And hoist up the sails, and cause the anchor to be weighed.
They do not care to coast along England:
They are their mortal enemies, whom they used to love.'

In Reginald of Durham we have, likewise, the fact that sailors were to be found in Berwick harbour. 'A ship's crew,' he says, consisting of men from London, Berwick, Holy Island, and Bamburgh, had been long detained in Fame by stress of weather.' Again, King John of England, at the instance of William King of Scots, ordered Philip de Ulecote, Custos of the Bishopric of Durham, to make inquiry concerning the seizure of a ship off Bamburgh. If he found, by a jury of his trustworthy men, that the goods seized were worth 29, he was commanded to restore this sum to William, his burgess of B'ewugca (Berwick), from the issues of his bailliary and it would be, again, allowed him at the Exchequer.

Alexander II., a minor, succeeded the brave old Scottish King; and as the custom had been of former kings, viz., to foster rebellion in England for the purpose of gaining their own ends, Alexander favoured the barons that had risen against John, and a number of them swore fealty (1214 a.d.) to Alexander at Felton in Northumberland, and with a large force laid siege to Norham Castle. John, incensed at his conduct, led, in his most angry mood, an army to the north. The Scottish King retired, and was followed closely by the southern army. John entered Berwick on January 15, 1216, and took the town and castle, and perpetrated here most horrible cruelties. The ' Mailros Chronicle/ which is the chief source of information in this expedition, adds, 'refertur aduxisse judeos secum et magistros malicia illos efficisse.' The same authority says that he caused men and women to be suspended by the fingers and toes, and to be tortured with most inhuman barbarities. John went in this expedition as far as Haddington, and, on returning, he plundered Coldingham and burnt Berwick in a most shameful manner, setting fire with his own hand to the house he had slept in that night, 'contra morem regem indecenter.' This destructive raid of John's led only to reprisals. He had no sooner gone south, called thither by the turbulence of his own barons, than Alexander ravaged Northumberland and Cumberland in a most cruel manner. This King allied himself with Louis of France and the party in England opposed to King John. For this he was excommunicated by the Pope; for the Holy See had, ere this, received John back to its allegiance, and all his enemies were put under the ban at the Lateran Council. At this juncture John died, and was succeeded by a minor, who was governed by a strong and powerful regent, Earl Mareschal Pembroke. Louis of France was disgracefully beaten at Lincoln, and left the kingdom. The party was broken up, and Alexander retired within his own realm. Next year he received absolution at Tweedmouth from the hands of the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Durham.

From the journeyings of the period we learn that the highway to Scotland then, as now, was by the Berwick border. The old town served as a baiting-place for the Papal Legate when on his way to absolve the people of Scotland, who had been excommunicated along with their King. After the Papal Legate, Wisbech, a Yorkshire archdeacon, had been north and was returning through Berwick, he found the religious of the Cistercian Order in a riotous and refractory mood. Holding a council in Berwick on Palm Sunday in 1218, he found them guilty, and excommunicated them all, and those who sided with them. / From this time Tor about seventy years few public events are connected with the town. The Kings of the two rival countries, through marriages of near relationship, lived henceforth in peace. In 1235 one of these took place in Berwick, when Alexander II. celebrated the alliance of his sister, Margaret, to Gilbert, the Earl of Pembroke and Mareschal of England, at which marriage were present the King himself, the peers of his realm, and many of the English noblemen. If we only had full details of this event, there is no doubt but that we should find the feasting and revelry of that high time compare well in quantity and variety with any marriage feast of later days.

The kingdoms now enjoyed a period of tranquillity. The Scottish King ceased from this time to make demands on the English King for part of his territory, and the borders were at rest. An attempt was now made to trace out the boundary line between England and Scotland, which ended in both parties leaving for centuries a part called the ' debateable land,' which could be assigned to neither country.

While external peace thus prevailed, the countries became prosperous. Trade, home and foreign, was developed in no ordinary degree. The terribly destructive raids of William the Lion must have checked the trade of Berwick in its natural increase; but, during the reigns of the two Alexanders, the town developed rapidly. Its exports, in particular, grew to vast importance. Before David I.'s time Fordun calls it the noble village of Berwick; William of Newbury, in the twelfth century, calls it the noble town of Berwick, belonging to the King of Scots.  The 'Lanercost Chronicle' about the middle of the thirteenth century, says this town was formerly so populous and of such commercial consequence that it could deservedly be called a second Alexandria, whose riches was the sea and the water was its walls.

In 1224 there is an interesting notice of Berwick as a shipping port. The Abbot of Boxle has a license to send a vessel to Berwick to buy herrings for the sustenance of his house, to endure till the feast of St. Michael (sic) Baptist next. Again, the King grants leave to John Ruffus, burgess of Berwick, that he may return pro hae vice to his country with his vessel called the Portejoye. The bailiffs of Southampton are ordered to allow John Ruffus, the King of Scotland's burgess, to take away his ship laden with merchandise arrested in their port. The bailiffs had been over-zealous in their work here.

The Norse writers tell us that Berwick had at that time many ships, and more foreign commerce than any other port in Scotland. An anecdote related by Torfacus gives us a better impression of the wealth and enterprise of its merchants than any general description. A ship belonging to Cnut, who was commonly called the opulent, a citizen of Berwick, was taken at sea by Erlend, Jarl of the Orkneys. On board the vessel captured was the merchant's wife, returning from a pilgrimage over the sea. Instead of yielding to the panic these northern pirates used to inspire, Cnut bestirred himself. He took from his well-filled coffers 100 marks of silver, and was able with that sum to hire fourteen ships fully manned, with which he instantly gave chase. And shall we not join with Innes, who relates this story, in the hope that Cnut rescued his ship and his lady wife? Connected with the piracy of the North Sea, here is another instance. 'The King (Henry III.) to all his bailifls of his ports in England, Ireland, and Gascony: As certain servants of John le Escot, burgess of Alexander, King of Scotland, of Berwick, without his (John's) consent, have long ago taken away his ship with its cargo, and are wandering about as vagabonds and fugitives on the sea, the King commands them to arrest and restore the ships to their owners. The chronicler of Lanercost was a Churchman, and so he takes care to relate that the merchant princes of Roxburgh and Berwick were munificent givers to the Church, but more especially the merchants of Berwick. These gifts are enumerated in the various charters of the abbeys of the period. There was scarcely an abbey in Scotland that had not property in Berwick.

Towards the close of Alexander III/s reign, facts disclose still more clearly the greatness of Berwick's commerce. The King had run to the extent of 2,000 in debt to a Gascon merchant for wine—a very heavy wine-bill, if we take into consideration the value of money in those days. John Mason, the merchant, was quite content with the assignation of the customs of Berwick as a guarantee of payment. Again, the dowry of the widow of Prince Alexander, son of the King, was settled at 1,500 marks, 1,300 of which were to be paid out of the same customs. At the very close of the reign, in 1286, Berwick had touched its highest point of prosperity, for it was actually paying for customs into the Scotch Exchequer 2,190 annually. This sum was equal to about one-fourth of the whole customs of England. The export trade, from which these customs were derived, consisted principally of wool, woolfells, and hides. These goods were collected from the whole basin of the Tweed. In that basin at that period flourished the great monasteries of Melrose, Dryburgh, Jedburgh, and Kelso, and attached to each were vast flocks of sheep and cattle. From all these abbey-grounds, wools and skins were sent to this port in large quantities. Northumberland sent its quota as well. In the town of Berwick was a colony of Flemings assisting to carry on and foster this trade. Their place of business was the Red Hall, situated, according to tradition, in the street now called (not at all inappropriately) 'Woolmarket' These Flemings, along with the native merchants, exported their goods to Flanders—to the staple at Bruges. Salmon formed part of the staple trade of the town, and were a considerable source of wealth to its inhabitants. We have mention made of minor trades—glovers, tanners, butchers, and bakers. Mills are mentioned, and carefully regulated in their work. Brewers were plentiful, and the price of the ale was such that the commodity was within reach of all. The castle was fortified, and a great trade ensued in keeping it duly supplied with provisions for the King and his soldiers.

For at least one hundred years Scotland had been ruled by able kings, and latterly by kings peaceable as well, and Berwick had prospered during the calm; but in 1286 a.d. Alexander III.'s reign came to an abrupt close through his violent death. He had been at a council meeting in Edinburgh on the 12th day of March, says Burton—the 16th, says Fordun—when he, after the meeting, set out to proceed to Kinghorn, where his Queen Joleta was staying. He was delayed at Queensferry until it was dark, and, not taking advice to stay at Inverkeithing all night, he set out * to ride in the dark along the coast of Fife opposite to Edinburgh. Near the present burgh of Kinghorn he had to pass over a rugged promontory of basaltic trap. He was pitched over one of the rocks and killed. Such was the final calamity, opening one of the gloomiest chapters in the history of nations.**

On reviewing the reigns of the Kings from David, we find they have spent much time in Berwick. A house in the town was long known as the Palace, said to have been the residence of these early Kings. Charters are dated from Berwick in all these reigns. David was much about his royal town. The laws that were here framed, the Institution of the Court of the Royal Burghs, tell of much work. William the Lion in person repelled John's attack at this place, and in addition to charters dated at Berwick in his reign, we must conclude that he saw much of the town and its neighbourhood. Alexander II. dated three charters here in 1232, and had with him a large Court, consisting of the Abbot of Melrose, his Chancellor, Seneschal and Justiciar, Earl Patric, his Chamberlain, Roger Avenel, David Marescall, Aymer de Maccuswell, John de Sterling, John de Hauden. In 1248 he dated another charter here just before his reign closed.

Alexander III. spent a considerable part of his time in Berwick. c The King and Queen of Scotland being about to visit the King (Henry III.), will be at Berwick on Sunday next after the octaves of Michaelmas/ Master John Mansell, * Custos' of the See of Durham, was commanded to meet them on that day (10th October), offering them, on the King's behalf, escort through the forests of the see and entertainment in its castles and manors, and all fitting courtesies and honours.

In 1266 the King of Scotland held his birthday regally and with great rejoicing in Berwick, with almost all the chief dependents of his kingdom, where were present Edmund, the younger son of the King of England, Earl of Leicester, etc.

In 1268 John, son of John Comyn, was knighted in Berwick by Alexander HI. He was the father of the Red John Comyn, who was slain by Bruce,

In 1278 a great dispute arose between Alexander and the Bishop of Durham about the marches. At a great meeting of the magnates of both countries at Tweedmouth, after much contention, the controversy was settled.

In 1279, at Berwick the King granted part of the rent of a mill to the monks of Holy Island.

In 1281 Alexander, for himself and his daughter Margaret, with the consent of his son and all his council, arranged with the ambassadors of Eric, King of Norway, for a marriage between the latter and Margaret, Alexander's daughter. Her marriage-portion was settled at 4,000 marks sterling.

A few incidental notices on these reigns may be of interest. The variations in prices in the necessaries of life must have caused much suffering. A plentiful year reduced them to a minimum. In 1248 wheat fell as low as 2s. a quarter {summd) and a hogshead (dolium) of wine was sold for 2 marks; seven years later, wheat was again as low as in 1248, and barley was quoted at 12d. Next year a great flood came, and wind and water mills were swept away in its course; and, in the year following, another great flood occurred, and one river alone, in the north of England, carried away seven great wooden and stone bridges. In 1258 the rains had continued long, and, as always in all these wet years, a great famine ensued. Fifteen thousand paupers died in London alone. The summa of wheat was now sold for 16s., eight times the price of an abundant year. Such was the continuance of rains in this latter year, that at the feast of All Saints corn was still standing uncut,—a thing unheard of. During harvest there was constant rain. Again, in 1287 corn was so abundant that the quarter sold as low as 2od., or even 12d; and then, six years later, it rose to the unprecedented figure of 30s. Such violent changes must have caused untold sufferings among the poorer people.

There were many signs of civilization at this period, which were obliterated during the wars that ensued. Agriculture was particularly attended to by the people. The great monasteries reared their cattle and their sheep, ploughed their lands, and raised corn for supply of man and beast. Good roads existed all along the Borders. A road from Kelso to Berwick for wheeled carriages was kept in good repair, and this road was continued across Scotland as far as Lesmahagow: but so terrible was the retrograde movement which followed, that even wheeled vehicles did not appear again till the eighteenth century.*

Scotland was undoubtedly wealthy at the time, as the magnificent abbeys, whose ruins are now so interesting, abundantly testify. Berwick citizens, we have already seen, were wealthy. The other burghs had likewise their merchant princes, living in the splendour of the period. Gardens were common, and rich orchards. The nunnery of Coldstream had an orchard whose fruit was valued at 100s. annually, beyond what was consumed by the house. In short, no one can turn with a light heart from the brightness which illuminated the Borders in the thirteenth century to the darkness, the devastation, and the horrid cruelty that disfigured them for the next three hundred years. The old chronicler, very much to the purpose, sang as follows:

'Quhen Alysandyr our Kyng was dede
That Scotland led in luve and le
Awaye was sons of ale and brede,
Of wyne and wax, of gamyn and gie.
Our gold was changed into lede.
Cryst borne into virginitc
Succour Scotland and remede
That stad is in perplexitye.


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