Hopes of royal visitto celebrate shrievalty

Berwick is hoping to get a royal visit in 2019 to tie in with plans to mark the 900th anniversary of the town's shrievalty.

Sunday, 21st January 2018, 6:39 am
2016/17 Mayor Ivor Dixon, with Sheriff Brian Douglas

Initial inquiries have been made with the Lord Lieutenant’s Office and the Cabinet Office to make contact with the royal household.

“We’re hoping that Prince Charles will agree to come,” revealed Coun Brian Douglas, who is co-ordinating the plans.

The office of sheriff, which is currently held by Liam Mutch, is purely ceremonial these days but the role has a long history.

There is a line of individual sheriffs since 1836, the office of sheriff is referred to in the Charter of Edward I (1302) and there are references to the appointment of a sheriff of Berwick by Edward III on 25th July 1333, following his victory at the battle of Halidon Hill.

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“It is believed King David I of Scotland brought the sheriffdom to Berwick in 1119 so 2019 will be the 900th anniversary,” said Coun Douglas.

In Scotland, David created a rudimentary central administration, issued the first Scottish royal coinage, and built or rebuilt the castles around which grew the first Scottish burghs: Edinburgh, Stirling, Berwick, Roxburgh, and perhaps Perth.

“He also brought the royal palace and royal mint so we think there is great potential for trying to establish Berwick as a royal town,” added Coun Douglas.

A celebratory carnival is being planned over the May bank holiday weekend (May 24-27, 2019) which could include a parade through the town centre.

It is envisaged the area around the Parade and Barracks would be used.

“We think it could be a great thing for Berwick and believe it would attract visitors from all over the North East and Scottish Borders,” said Coun Douglas.

Support for the bid has already been received from the Berwick Guild of Freemen, local MPs, KOSB and 5MI, as well as local organisations such as the Army and air cadets.

It is estimated that around £50,000 is needed to pulltogether the plans.

It is anticipated that a lottery bid will be submitted for a large element of this but funding would also be needed from local organisations.