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Berwick Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
The White Wall; Constable Tower

In the civil parish of Berwick upon Tweed.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of Northumberland.
1974 county of Northumberland.
Medieval County of Berwick upon Tweed.

OS Map Grid Reference: NT99395340
Latitude 55.77365° Longitude -2.01237°

Berwick Castle has been described as a certain Timber Castle, and also as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


The standing remains of Berwick Castle which includes the west wall of the castle, the south east angle tower known as the Constable Tower and a length of curtain wall adjacent to it, as well as the flanking wall known as the White Wall. A castle at Berwick is first mentioned in documents dating to C12, although most of the remains which are visible today date from a re-modelling of the structure in the late C13 and subsequent centuries. When Edward I captured the town of Berwick from the Scots in 1296 the existing castle was strengthened. At this time an additional length of wall known as the White Wall was constructed. Large sections of this wall have been levelled and survive as foundations however the west wall and parts of the east wall of the castle survive as standing structures. Attached to the southern end of this wall is the south east angle tower, known as the Constable Tower. The upper courses of this tower are constructed of weathered ashlar blocks and are equipped with arrow slits suggesting a late C13 date. The lower courses of the tower are rougher and less regular and are thought to represent the base of an earlier C12 tower. At the northern end of this length of wall is a second tower standing to a height of six courses above the raised ground level. The west wall of the castle is also visible above ground standing to a maximum height of 6m and up to 4m thick. At its northern end are the remains of a semi-circular tower visible as rubble core 12m high. This tower is known as Barmekin Tower. At the southern end of the west wall there is a semi circular mid C16 gun turret. Attached to the south west angle of the castle, the White Wall descends the steep slopes of the Tweed where it terminated at a large wooden gate. A tower constructed at the same time on the site of its medieval predecessor survives well at the present edge of the river. (PastScape)

Despite the Henrician modifications to the castle to accommodate artillery, the survey of Berwick's defences in 1533 had concluded that if the town fell to Scottish or rebel hands, the castle was ill-equipped as a place to retake it, and the town was well-positioned to threaten a loyal garrison in the castle. A further survey of 1550 reached the same conclusion, and the remedy decided on was to create a defendable citadel within Berwick's walls, and the abandonment of the castle as a defensive structure. (HKW 1982)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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