Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

on the part of our friend, is conditional; nor in truth could it be otherwise, owing to the unsettled state of his general health. At the same time, we are well assured, that no other obstacle will stand in the

way of his accomplishing the object of our solicitation. We have been favoured with a sight of the materials, which have been collected with great pains, and which promise to communicate an immense deal of information hitherto unknown except by a few.

No. IV. will also be graced with a Poem from the pen of the Rev. James Everett.-We expect, at the same time, to publish an article entitled “The Berwickshire Conservative Dissected” from an able pen, in which the writer hurls the club of argument and the shaft of sarcasm at the heads of the Greenlaw orators, in a way that will not readily allow the proceedings of that meeting to die in the recollection of our readers.

Our Mathematical article, which we had prepared for No. III., is unavoidably postponed.

There is a good deal of sweetness in the “Christmas Rose,” and an amiable mind speaks out in the verses ; they are, however, deficient in pathos and harmony. Will Aliquis favour us with his name?

N. P. has had a dash of the mens divinior; he writes like a man of good muscle.

Lawrence Fraser shall have a hearing. Our rhyming correspondents multiply upon us, and though many of them have sent us the most ineffable nonsense that was ever pen. ned, yet we see no reason, provided they can write no better, why we should lift up our hand and smite the poor creatures to the ground. On the contrary, so long as we continue in our vein of good-humour, we will allow them to approach us with their maudlin effervescence, without the slightest annoyance, as we have no wish to detain their fugitive pieces on their way to oblivion.

Various contributions have been received and are under consideration. The merits and defects of the inadmissibles shall be brought forth ere long in an Editorial delivery.

Persons wishing Births, Marriages or Deaths recorded in the Border Magazine are requested to forward the same at an early period of the month.

Owing to a superabundance of matter, and with every wish to meet a liberal patronage, we have this month presented our friends with four additional pages.

ERRATA.

At top of page 127, for “Sketches of British Poets,” read “Sweets of Evening.”

At top of pages 134-5-6, for « Tibby Shiel's Creel," read The Fishing Crib."

At page 142, in Song of the Cholera, for the third and fourth lines as printed, read

With the flesh rotting dry, from his hollow eye,
Hath a fairer face than mine!

[blocks in formation]

INTRODUCTORY NOTICE. The following description is principally composed from sundry notices and extracts taken by the Author, in the course of his readings, out of various historic and topographical researches, a list of which will be appended at the close of these papers; yet so brief have the writers been in whatever related to Berwick in their works, that much has been left to their followers for surmise,—nor has the present Author been at all scrupulous of conjectural remarks, but Hatters himself they will appear to be grounded on no loose results. He will not say this attempt of his promises an immense deal of original information to his readers, particularly to those resident in Berwick; at the same time he is persuaded it will introduce them to a field of investigation, and to objects of antiquity hitherto shut up except to a select few. Any further preamble he thinks unnecessary, and shall therefore proceed to the accomplishment of his purpose ; and which should he be fortunate enough to pursue to its end, satisfactory in any degree to the general readers of the Border Magazine, his feelings and ambition will be not a little gratified.

“The town of Berwick upon Tweed, we dare to opine, had no existence during the Roman sway in our Island, nor even during the earliest years of that of the Saxons,-since its situation is in no way marked out in the plans of Britannia Romana or Britannia Saxonica which have been published by any of our learned Antiquaries either in olden or recent times; whereas in the latter plan, both Bamborough and Coldingham are particularly distinguished, the former having had its rise in the sixth century, and the latter, at the very commencement of the seventh-both falling within the reign of Ida the first Anglo-saxon king.

• By a series of papers under this head the Author intends to furnish a description of Berwick chiefly regarding its origin, its Monastic Antiquities, and the earliest erection of its fortifications, as well as the subsequent changes they underwent, from the probable date of its commencement as a Town to the accession of James VI. of Scotland to the British Throne.

VOL. I.

U

At the first invasion of the Romans, the country between the Tweed and the town now called Dunkeld, on the Tay, was peopled by a race of men called Picti, said by some authors to have been a colony from ancient Scythia, thus giving them the same origin as the Scots; and of this opinion it seems was Claudian, one of our most ancient learned historians, but in this surmise he has had hitherto few followers. It is rather supposed, and we are not inclined to dissent therefrom, that they were a portion of the Britons, who at some period—at what exact one it has never been suggested, if indeed ever known—previous to the Roman invasion, had been forced north. ward by the Belgic Gauls, and here settled themselves, being joined afterwards by others, their own countrymen, in great numbers driven hither by their invaders. Their manner of life, and all their customs, particularly that of painting their bodies, from which they had the designation Picti, so entirely correspond with Cæsar's description of the Southern Britons, that it is in no small degree a support to our opinion in this matter, and must be our apology for presuming to urge it in opposition, we acknowledge, to that of several authors of great reputation for learning, and of great research into antiquity.

No historic records of sufficient evidence have come under our review of any inroads of these people on their neighbours the Britons in this quarter while the Romans remained in our island, though we know the latter became apprehensive of Pictish valour, and the disposition betrayed by these people for invasion; to guard themselves against which, they erected the extraordinary barrier called the Picts' Wall from the Solway to the Tyne, of which such visible remains are recognisable at the present day; and also the Wall of Antoninus between the Clyde and Forth, the course of which is still discernible. No sooner, however, had the Romans found it policy to quit Britain, which was in the year 426, than these barriers became of no avail to the security of the Britons thus left to themselves; for the Picts, now uniting with the Scots, made themselves a passage through many parts of them, and quickly inundated the country of the unfortunate Britons with their legions from the Tweed to the Humber in Yorkshire; and this too, twenty-two years before the first division of the Saxons, called in by Vortigern, entered Britain, which was in the year 452. When, however, their treacherous allies had become completely masters of Southern Britain, they began to drive back the Picts and Scots into their own country, never ceasing their pursuit until they had driven them beyond the Forth; and thus for the first time the Saxons became possessed of all the Lothians, known, at this early period of time, under the name of Loida, and in the 12th century under both that of Lona and Lohers, comprehend. ing what are now the Shires of Berwick-Litligow—Edinburgh-and Haddington; and also a part of Tiviotdale and of the Eastern district of Roxburghshire. This event happened about the close of the fifth century, and from that date until the reign of Kenneth the II. of Scotland, comprising a series of more than two hundred years, we know of no interruption to the Saxons in their new possessions either by the Picts or Scots. But in the year 829, Kenneth-having slain Drusken, the Pictish king, and destroyed the independency of their nation; and also availing himself of the discord that at this

time had arisen among the princes of the Heptarchy, Egbert being now sole king of England, -thought fit to cross the Forth and possess himself of the Lothians, thus making the Tweed, for the first time, the boundary between England and Scotland; and it is at this period, and certainly not earlier, we fix the æra of the rise of Berwick upon Tweed to any thing resembling a town*: and its situation we scruple not to consider as sufficiently decisive of the etymology of its name (Berwick), notwithstanding the fanciful surmises of a Chalmers, a Johnstones and even of a much higher name than either-a Camden, its prefix being no other than a corruption of Baur, signifying in the ancient British language, an accumulation of soil or sand, occasioned by the meeting of the tides of the ocean with the currents of rivers at their mouths; and of Wic, implying in the Saxon tongue, a town or village, and hence have we Baurwick, now Berwick-the Baur town, or the town near the Baur, at this day pronounced Bar. It is curious, yet not difficult certainly, to conjecture, what could have been the conception of the inventor of the armorial bearings of the Corporation of this ancient town, displayed on the fronton of their Townhall, as to the etymology in question, who has made a bear the chief cognisance in the shield, and bears solacing themselves under trees its supporters ;-may we not suppose he had conceived the prefix Ber to be a corruption of Bear—and hence have we Bear town? yet is this definition of the etymology of Berwick not near so fanciful as many we have seen given. But to return to our history-within ten years after Kenneth had been so successful as to possess himself of the Lothians, and in the reign of Osbert, one of the last kings of Northumberland, Berwick was esteemed a town of great strength, yet was it doomed in a few years after to submit to a new race of invaders; for the piratical Danes, sometimes denominated Normans, encouraged, like Kenneth, by the discord, already noticed, among the princes of the Heptarchy, now first thought of and meditated the design of an invasion of Britain, which they did not hesitate long to put in execution. They quickly indeed made their appearance on the coasts of England, landed on many parts thereof, and ravaged all before them, and at length in the year 866 shewed themselves in the North, under the command of Inquar and Hubba, and were driven by stress of weather into the mouth of the Tweed, on the shores of which they made a landing and soon settled themselves. Nor were they long ere' they drew the Northumbrian Saxons into an alliance with them, and, thus aided, cleared the Lothians of both Scots and Picts, and sate themselves down as masters of Berwick, and continued so for six years, when they were driven by Gregory the Great to their ships, and the town became again subject to Scotland; and so remained for more than 220 years, when it was next bestowed by Edgar, in honour of saint Cuthbert, on the See of Durham. This was

• Of this opinion we know Ridpath to have expressed himself in his Border bistory, and he haih given his reasons for it largely; but as the reasons are not in our memory, and having not the Volume before us, we cannot transcribe them, and are therefore under the necessity of referring such of our readers, as are curions to hecome acquainted with then, to the work itself; and if our recollection does not fail us, we think all these particulars will be found in some of its very earliest pages.

during the prelacy of Carilepho ; but the donation was resumed in his successor, Ralph Flambard's time, who died A. D. 1128, and Berwick Town now became, with a part of Lothian, the appanage of David, the brother of Alexander I., and was so possessed, until he himself ascended the throne of Scotland, which was in the year 1124, and when the Scoto-Saxon government had been at an end for now fifty-eight years. David found it an exceeding populous and thriving town, and indeed, what might, at that period of time, have been considered a very splendid town, having within its boundary a Parish Church, and three Monastic foundations, of which we shall have to give some account in a more advanced stage of our history; and so attached had this prince become to Berwick, that he made it his chief residence, and by many and various improvements, so added to its splendour and consequence, that when he became king, it had acquired the appellation of Nobilis Vicus ; that is to say-a Noble Town. And now—fourteen years after his accession to the crown, at which he arrived in the year 1124, this valiant, wise, and pious prince,—for he had virtues justly to be thus characterized, very particularly by the first term, from the service he rendered at the battle of the Standard to his niece, the empress Maud, in her competition with king Stephen for the English crown,--added an extraordinary importance to Berwick, by making it the head or chief of the first four Royal Boroughs he constituted in Scotland (the other three being Roxburgh Edinburgh-and Stirling) after the fashion of those made by Louis the Great in France at the same period. He next founded another monastery in the immediate vicinage of the town,—and then began the erection of the first Castle ever erected in the town—such at least is our conjecture, and we know no historic evidence of weight to weaken its validity. That there might have been castellated mansions long before we can readily admit, and David himself, while he held the town in appanage, we think could hardly have been without one for his residence, but no fortress: the monarch’s intention by this great work was doubtless to guard against and repress the lawless borderers of England now become formidable from their numbers, and the valour and enterprising characters of their leaders, the most of them Normans; nor less, probably, to thwart the aggressive designs of his near neighbour, the ambitious and warlike Flambard, Bishop of Durham, who had but a short time before erected a Fortress, i. e. a castle of great strength at Norham. Whether David before his death, which took place A. D. 1153, had completely finished this great work we cannot speak to; but that Henry II. of England, when it was deliyered into his hands by William the Lyon, greatly enlarged it, there can, we believe, be no reasonable doubt.

The remains of this castle at the present day left for us to contemplate, though they can hardly raise the imagination to what may have been its pristine splendour, yet they are sufficient to satisfy our minds of its once great magnitude and strength as a fortress, and also that it was constructed after the Norman plans of such buildings, which had then so generally obtained, particularly in England. The state to which it is reduced we believe to be chiefly, if not entirely, the effect of the ravages of time, and the pilfering, by individuals in the neighbourhood, of its materials for their private uses, since the period

« AnteriorContinua »