Saturday Snapshot: Berwick Castle

There is little left of Berwick Castle. Ruins are almost as enticing as libraries and bookshops to me. If there are any of these in an area I love to go and explore, so it’s amazing that after living near Berwick-upon-Tweed for over three years the most I’ve seen of Berwick Castle is the view of a wall from Berwick Railway Station. It was the building of the railway that caused the Castle’s final destruction when in 1847 substantial parts of the Castle were demolished to make way for the Station! Apparently the walls were so thick they had to use gunpowder to reduce them to rubble.

We were in Berwick on Wednesday; it was a dismal afternoon as rain blew in from the North Sea, not ideal for taking photos, especially on a camera phone. I’ll go back another day, when the sun is out, to take more photos.

The photo below shows the approach to the Castle ruins from Coronation Park above the River Tweed. The Park was created to celebrate the coronation of George VI in 1937. The area at the top of the Park was known as Gallows Knowe. It was the place of public executions in Berwick, the last being in 1823 – maybe the very place where we stood to take photos.

Berwick Castle grounds IMG_0459

The Castle was first recorded in 1160, probably built by King David I of Scotland, and was completely rebuilt by Edward I of England, after he captured it in 1296, with a strong circuit of walls,  towers and turrets, including royal apartments, a great hall and a chapel. Berwick- upon-Tweed is the most northerly town in England. a border town that changed hands between England and Scotland many times until 1482 when it was retaken from Scotland.

The photo below shows the castle mound, and the remains of the castle walls, including a rounded gun tower . On the right of the photo the White Walls are visible – this was a battlemented wall that still runs from the corner of the castle down to the River Tweed. It was built to defend the river approach to the castle and town around 1297 – 1298. Also, just about visible on the extreme right of the photo is the Royal Border Bridge carrying the railway line into Berwick Station.

Berwick Castle mound and wall IMG_0469The next photo (below) shows more detail of the Bridge and White Walls.

Berwick Castle and Royal Border Bridge IMG_0475For more Saturday Snapshots see Alyce’s blog At Home With Books.

14 thoughts on “Saturday Snapshot: Berwick Castle

  1. What a wonderful view. When i was in the UK I visited all the tourist sites in London and surrounding areas but never went further afield to find such wonderful old treasures.


  2. I know in the grand scheme of history it hasn’t been that long since public executions took place in most locations, but it still seems so strange. I’m grateful that we don’t have that in our culture anymore.

    The land, walls and bridge are beautiful there!


  3. Thanks for all your comments – nice to know others like old ruins too.

    When I first went to the station and saw the big sign that the castle had been demolished when the station was built I was astounded and thought it wouldn’t happen these days. Of course I was wrong and as Christine Harding has reminded me HS2 will cause similar destruction – or as the HS2 website explains “The High Speed Two rail network will bring the UK’s Victorian railway infrastructure dramatically into the 21st century.”

    Brona, the bridge was built specifically to carry the railway line.

    Alyce, when I read that public executions had taken place there it did make me think about how times have changed – in this instance for the better, I think too.


  4. Margaret – You did get some great ‘photos, even with the weather as it was. I love places like that, that have an interesting history. Thanks for sharing.


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