Berwick Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry footings remains

NameBerwick Castle
Alternative NamesThe White Wall; Constable Tower
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishBerwick upon Tweed

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


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)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNT993534
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Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved
Photo by Philip Davis All Rights Reserved

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  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 45, 46, 245, 344, 422, 450
  • Beckensall, Stan, 2010, Coastal Castles of Northumberland (Amberley) p. 9-10, 17-22
  • Menuge, Adam and Dewar, Catherine, 2009, Berwick-upon-Tweed Three places, two nations, one town (English Heritage)
  • Geldard, Ed, 2009, Northumberland Strongholds (London: Frances Lincoln) p. 58
  • Dodds, John F., 1999, Bastions and Belligerents (Newcastle upon Tyne: Keepdate Publishing) p. 22-7
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Castles and Tower Houses of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 25-6
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 176-7
  • Jackson, M.J.,1992, Castles of Northumbria (Carlisle) p. 26-30 (plan)
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 12-14
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 327-8
  • Colvin, H.M., Ransome, D.R. and Summerson, John, 1982, The history of the King's Works Vol. 4: 1485-1660 (part 2) (London) p. 613-64
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 188
  • Clack, P. and Gosling, P., 1976, Archaeology in the North p. 147-64
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 62
  • Colvin, H.M., Ransome, D.R. and Summerson, John, 1975, The history of the King's Works, Vol. 3: 1485-1660 (part 1) (London) p. 232n
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 109
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 63-7
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London: HMSO) p. 563-71
  • Eddington, A., 1949 (2 edn), Castles and Historic Homes of the Border p. 58-62
  • Hugill, R.,1939, Borderland Castles and Peles (1970 Reprint by Frank Graham) p. 44-5
  • Hodgson, J.C. (ed), 1914, North Country Diaries. Vol. II (Surtees Society 124) p. 25 online copy
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Hodgson, J.C. (ed), 1910, Six North Country Diaries. Vol. I (Surtees Society 118) p. 19 online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 434-42 online copy
  • Scott, 1888, Berwick-upon-Tweed (London) (history only)
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 3 (London) p. 343-7 online copy
  • Howitt, W., c1850 (new edn 1896), Visits to Remarkable Places p. 401, 409
  • Hutchinson, Wm, 1776, A View of Northumberland (Newcastle) Vol. 2 p. 41- online copy


  • Speed, John, 1611-12, The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain online copy
  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England (Sutton Publishing) p. 344
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1910, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 5 p. 64, 67 online copy


  • Bradley, J and Gaimster, M. (eds), 2004, 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 2003' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 48 p. 282-3 download copy
  • Collins, M., 2003, 'Berwick train station Spotting a castle amongst the carriages' Archaeology in Northumberland Vol. 13 p. 2-3 download from Northumberland CC
  • Young, R.E., 1999-2000, 'Berwick Castle' Archaeology in Northumberland Vol. 10 p. 27
  • Henry Summerson, 1995, 'From Border Stronghold to Railway Station: The Fortunes of Berwick Castle 1560-1850' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser5) Vol. 23 p. 235-248
  • Bishop, M.C., 1992, 'The White Wall, Berwick-upon-Tweed' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser5) Vol. 20 p. 117-19
  • 1982, Antiquaries Journal Vol. 63 p. 615, 633, 636, 642
  • MacIvor, I., 1976, 'The fortifications, Berwick-upon-Tweed' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 133 p (slight but good plan of castle in relation to town)
  • MacIvor, I., 1965, 'The Elizabethan Fortifications of Berwick upon Tweed.' Antiquaries Journal Vol. 45 p. 64-66
  • Nicholson, 1961, Scottish Historical Review Vol. 11 p. 19-42
  • MacLauchlan, H., 1919-22, History of the Berwickshire Naturalists Club Vol. 24 p. 461
  • 1906-8, 'Berwick on Tweed' History of the Berwickshire Naturalist Club Vol. 20 p. 253 plate xii online copy
  • 1857, 'The booke of the circuyte and particuler decayes of the town and castell of Barwicke' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 1 p. 87-94 (early C16 survey) online copy
  • Smith (ed), 1794, 'The indenture of the castell of Berwyke, Sir William Ewre, alias Ivers, Capytayn of the sayd castell.' Archaeologia Vol. 11 p. 433-40

Guide Books

  • Pattison, P., 2011, Berwick barracks and fortifications (London: English Heritage) esp. p. 18-20
  • Grove, Doreen, 1999, Berwick Barracks and Fortifications (London: English Heritage)
  • MacIvor, Iain, 1990, The fortifications of Berwick-upon-Tweed (London: English Heritage)
  • MacIvor, Iain, 1967, The fortifications of Berwick-upon-Tweed (HMSO) p. 5-8, 26
  • Norman, F.M., 1907, Official Guide to the Fortifications of Berwick upon Tweed (London)

Primary Sources

  • 1415 Nomina Castrorum et Fortaliciorum infra Comitatum Northumbrie online transcription
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 352-3
  • Rymer, Thomas (ed), 1739, Foedera Vol. 1 p. 13 online copy
  • Howlett, R. (ed), 1889, 'The Chronicle of Robert of Torigni' in Chronicles of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II, and Richard I (Rolls series 82) Vol. 4 p. 267-7 online copy
  • B.M. Cotton MS. Caligula B. vii (Survey of 1541) (British Library ref.)
  • SP15/28/95 (Survey of 1584) The National Archives reference (in [Bates 1891 p. 74 >])
  • C145/152(7) (Survey of 1344) The National Archives reference (calendared in Maxwell Lyte, H.C., 1916, Calendar of Inquisitions Miscellaneous (Chancery), preserved in the Public Record Office (H.M.S.O.) Vol. 2 p. 478 No. 1906 [online copy >])
  • C145/183 (18) (Survey of 1361) The National Archives reference (calendared in Stamp. A.E. (ed), 1937, Calendar of Inquisitions Miscellaneous (Chancery), preserved in the Public Record Office (H.M.S.O.) Vol. 3 p. 169 No. 452 [online copy >])
  • E36/173, ff. 1-35 (Survey of 29 Henry VIII) The National Archives reference


  • Northumberland County Council, 2009, 'Berwick-upon-Tweed' Northumberland Extensive Urban Survey doi:10.5284/1000177 [download copy >]
  • Constable, Christopher, 2003, Aspects of the archaeology of the castle in the north of England C 1066-1216 (Doctoral thesis, Durham University) Available at Durham E-Theses Online