Berwick Bell Tower
Tower Berwick Upon Tweed Northumberland

Berwick Bell Tower

Tower In Berwick Upon Tweed, Northumberland

An octagonal bell tower in Berwick which was built in 1577 as a medieval lookout post and alarm system.

We're spoilt for walls in the North East, with Newcastle city walls and Hadrian's Wall, but the Berwick city walls are pretty tidy too and part of this is the Berwick Bell Tower.

You have probably read from our other articles about castles and bastles that there were quite a few skirmishes between England and Scotland over the years. With Berwick being smack bang on the border it would have been right in the mix so would need some fortifications and also something to help with early warnings.

Standing at the north end of the old town, the Berwick Bell Tower is octagonal in shape and was originally used as a mediaeval alarm system. You can see the tower has four stories and there are blocked up doors higher up for when sentries would have patrolled the walls.

There were 19 towers around the walls, but only one had a bell.

The Bell Tower is part of the town's defensive works, originally constructed in the late 16th century. It is located on the western edge of Berwick-upon-Tweed, within the walls of the town's fortifications. The exact date of the Bell Tower's construction is uncertain, but it is believed to have been built around 1577 during the reign of Elizabeth I, as part of the broader strengthening of the town's defences against potential Scottish incursions.

Now the tower went under a number of tweaks and reconstructions and rather than us try and explain it here, we found a fantastic video to show you instead.

You can see from the video that the tower would have had a wooden structure called a campanile protruding from the top.

The octagonal shape of the tower offered several advantages:

Structural strength: The eight-sided design provides excellent distribution of weight and stress.

Defensive advantage: This shape minimizes blind spots and provides a wider field of fire for defenders, making it easier to defend against attackers from multiple directions.

Constructed from local stone, the Bell Tower housed a bell which would be used to signal the town's garrison and inhabitants when bother was on the horizon, either from land or sea. The Bell Tower also features narrow windows, or arrow slits, so when trouble did arrive, it allowed defenders to shoot arrows or firearms at attackers while remaining protected.

With the union of the English and Scottish crowns in 1603 under James I (James VI of Scotland), the military significance of Berwick-upon-Tweed began to decline. However, the Bell Tower remained a key feature of the town's landscape. It's now managed by English Heritage as part of the Berwick Barracks.

Just a short walk from the Bell Tower is Lord's Mount which was a 16th century two storey artillery tower, founded by King Henry VIII. This was one of the original 19 towers.

If you're still after more adventure about the fortifications of Berwick, then head over to the Berwick Barracks (try saying that ten times fast!) or take a wander over the old city walls. Then try heading down towards the Royal Border Bridge and look out for Berwick Castle.

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How To Find Berwick Bell Tower

Where Is Berwick Bell Tower?

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55.775024, -2.005011

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Where To Park For Berwick Bell Tower?

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55.774889, 55.774889

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You can park quite near the bell tower in the street leading up to it.

Contributed by Simon Hawkins

Thanks for checking out this place on the Fabulous North! I do enjoy a wander out in to the countryside trying to find hidden gems that not many people know about. You can't beat a rogue pele tower up a remote hill, a mysterious stone circle or a stunning waterfall secluded in a forest.

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Simon Hawkins

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Berwick Bell Tower was listed in Tower // Northumberland // Berwick Upon Tweed