Berwick Freeman, The
DESCRIPTION: "An old freeman of sixty odd years" mourns the fading glory of "Berwick that old Border town." Don't speak of England and Scotland as nations; talk instead of "Great Britain and Ireland and Berwick on Tweed." Drink to her trade and wish God speed.
EARLIEST DATE: 1909 (Greig/Duncan3)
KEYWORDS: pride commerce Scotland lyric
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Greig/Duncan3 503, "The Berwick Freeman" (1 text)
NOTES [140 words]: I can't help but wonder about the composer of this. Berwick, in the years when England and Scotland were separate nations, was the chief fortress on the border, and changed hands frequently (John Cannon, editor, The Oxford Companion to British History, Oxford, 1997, p. 100, says it went back and forth fully 13 times before Richard of Gloucester -- the future Richard III -- finally captured it for England). Those frequent attacks meant that it was mostly a fort, not a town, but after the Union of the Crowns, it became a main border-crossing point; the first of its extant bridges was built in the sixteenth century and a second in the mid-nineteenth (presumably about the time the freeman was young). On the whole, the decline of competition between England and Scotland, which the singer praises, has reduced the town's importance. - RBW
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