Guild of Freemen Of Berwick-upon-Tweed



The Roll of Resident Freemen is compiled annually after Michaelmas Day (29 September), by the Clerk to the Trustees. It is submitted to a special meeting of the Trustees for approval. This meeting must be advertised in the local press and is open for all Freemen to attend so that any objections can be made.

To be included on the Residents' Roll, a Freeman must have resided within the Liberties of Berwick, i.e., north of the River Tweed and within the Bounds, from the previous Lady Day (25 March) to Michaelmas Day. Incomers must attend personally at the office of the Clerk to the Trustees on or before Lady Day in order to have their names recorded in the Incomers' Book. By ancient custom Freemen admitted at the Changing Day Ceremony, held on the first Tuesday after the last Saturday in September, are entered on the Resident Roll for the following year, whether or not they are resident within the Liberties.

The names of Freemen are entered in the Resident Roll in order of seniority, determined by the date of admission to the Freedom. Widows inherit the Freedom in their own right on the death of their husband. In the case of a first wife, she assumes the seniority of her husband's date of admission. In the case of a second wife, younger than her husband, she is assumed to have been admitted to the freedom at the same age as her husband was admitted. Where a freeman marries for a third time after the age of 60, his widow is placed on the roll next after the then youngest Resident Freeman.

In 1997 there were 60 Resident Freemen and 20 Widows. It is not possible to ascertain accurate numbers of non-resident Freemen who are alive. It is believed that the total number of Freemen is about 500.

Freemen's Rolls are known to have been published in the following years;-

1796 1806 1817 1821 1827 1835 1848 1859 1865 1872 1875 188

1889 1894 1899 1906 1915 1933 1946 1961 1975

The next roll will be published in the year 2000.