Our History

Build on the traditions of our area

Freedom Ceremony - 03 October 2017
Freedom Ceremony - 04 July 2017

Published by the Guild of Freemen of

Berwick - upon - Tweed.



In former days, when the Guild was the centre of civic affairs affecting so many aspects of daily life, each member, or freeman, of the Guild learned its privileges, customs and responsibilities by direct experience. The Municipal Corporations Act, 1835, took away many of the privileges and responsibilities of Freemen and there were very little Guild activities for nearly a century. Then, with the passing of the Berwick-upon-Tweed Corporation (Freemen) Act, 1926, the Guild was revived with its own Committee and Trustees, and with newly defined privileges and rules. The principal settlements under this Act, and an Arbitration in 1933, were set out in a small booklet written shortly after and given to all subsequent new Freemen on their enrolment.

By 1965 the stocks of this booklet were very low. The revision of the booklet was undertaken by Thomas Evans, Chairman of the Guild from 1926 to 1966. Mr.Evans died in 1966 before completing the booklet and the revision was completed by David Moor, Chairman 1972-74, and published in 1968. By 1997 the stock of this second booklet was low and a further revision was carried out by James Evans, Chairman of the Guild from 1975. The assistance of members of the Guild Committee in editing this revision was greatly appreciated.


This Booklet is dedicated to all those who have helped to preserve and nurture the Guild. In particular those whose effort secured the passing of the 1926 Act, Joseph Fleming, Thomas Cleghorn Smith, John Cockburn jr. and Thomas Evans. We, who are freemen, at this time are merely custodians of the Guild which has existed for 900 years. It is our duty and responsibility to pass on the freedom enhanced by our custody.