Berwick bell tower rings out in Flodden story

Berwick’s 16th century Bell Tower and walled fortifications are among the new additions to the Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum.

It is one of 41 sites across the country which are in some way linked to the Battle of Flodden or help people understand more about life in those times.

Remembered as the last great medieval battle, Flodden took place on September 9, 1513 when the English defeated the invading Scots and King James IV was killed.

Alistair Bowden, Flodden 1513 project director, said: “Berwick last changed hands just before Flodden and it was still a sore wound, so that was one of the reasons why Scotland invaded.

However, they chose to do so by attacking Norham Castle and crossing the border into Glendale specifically to avoid Berwick which had its medieval walls and a strong garrison left by the English to help defend it.

“Berwick was a massive strategic centre and defensive settlement, so while it did not play an obvious focal point in the Battle of Flodden, it was still the elephant in the room because of its importance as a supply route.”

Berwick’s town walls had 19 towers, including one with a warning bell.

The Bell Tower itself was built in 1577 to replace another that was sited nearby on the Lord’s Mount. It is octagonal in shape and was built of stone salvaged from the town walls. it now has three storeys but was originally higher. The bell was last rung in 1683.

Dr Mark Douglas, properties curator at English Heritage which maintains the tower and walls, said: “The addition of the Bell Tower and the medieval defences to the Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum will bring a new dimension to the interpretation of Berwick as a historic site.”