Guild of Freemen Of Berwick-upon-Tweed



There are a number of  payments made to charities which are made through the Trustees of the Estate. These are known as the ancient charities of the Borough and are as follows;-

The Berwick-upon-Tweed Corporation Academy Foundation. From the seventeenth century the Guild had provided free education for the sons and daughters of Freemen at various establishments throughout the town. In 1800 these classes were amalgamated together in the Corporation Academy or Freemen's School. In 1920 the school was closed and education taken over by the State education system.

This Foundation was set up by the Board of Education in 1922. The income is frozen at £450 per annum, the level of financial support given by the Freemen's Estate to the Academy in 1920. It is administered by four Trustees each from the Freemen and the Borough Council. Education grants are given to the children of Freemen who apply. This charity is not restricted to Resident Freemen as the Academy was open to the children of all Freemen whether resident or non-resident.

Berwick Dispensary. A yearly subscription of five guineas to the Berwick Infirmary.

Newcastle upon Tyne Infirmary. A yearly subscription of two guineas to the Newcastle upon Tyne Infirmary.

Mortoft's Charity. A rent charge of ten pounds per annum to be divided among ten poor natives of the Borough at the rate of five shillings (25p) per quarter each, in consideration of the sum of £129 paid by the Corporation by Valentine Mortoft of London in 1631.

Tweedy's Charity. Being a rent charge of £6 1s 4d (£6.07p) per annum for twopenny loaves, fourteen of which are divided among the poor at the parish church every Sunday in consideration of the sum of £100 bequeathed to the Corporation by Roger Tweedy of Stepney in 1652.

Senior Resident Freeman. A yearly allowance of four pounds payable quarterly to the senior resident Freeman, commonly known as the oldest Freeman. He may not be the oldest Freeman as seniority is from time of being made free. The oldest Freeman also holds a walking stick donated by Alexander Robertson in 1889 to replace the lost ancient cane. Traditionally the oldest Freeman places a wreath on the War Memorial in the Guildhall at the Guild AGM.

William Weatherburn's Charity.

This is not one of the ancient charities of the Borough and is not administered by the Guild. It was set up under the terms of the Will of William Weatherburn who died on 5th. February, 1870. This provides for a sum of £1000 (£900 net of duty) to be invested in Government Stock or other perpetual annuity, the interest to be divided between fifteen aged, sober, poor, respectable widows of Freemen of the Corporation of Berwick, and resident in the town of Berwick. The Trustees are the Mayor and Sheriff, the Vicar of Berwick and the Borough Treasurer. The annual sum varies slightly from year to year, but is about £2.90p, which is similar to that of 1871.