Though definitely forming part of English soil since 1482, it is not included in any English county, but, with about eight square miles around it, forms a county by itself. Hence the addition, to any Royal proclamation, of the well-known words “And in our Town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.”
Sir Walter Scott’s description of the Northumbrian coast, in his poem of Marmion may well be recalled here. It will be remembered that the Abbess of Whitby, with some of her nuns, was voyaging to Holy Island, and we take up the description when
“.... the vessel skirts the strand Of mountainous Northumberland; Towns, towers, and halls successive rise, And catch the nuns’ delighted eyes. Monkwearmouth soon behind them lay, And Tynemouth’s Priory and bay. They marked, amid her trees, the hall Of lofty Seaton Delaval; They saw the Blyth and Wansbeck floods Rush to the sea through sounding woods; They passed the tower of Widdrington, Mother of many a valiant son; At Coquet-isle their beads they tell To the good saint who owned the cell. Then did the Alne attention claim, And Warkworth, proud of Percy’s name; And next they crossed themselves, to hear The whitening breakers sound so near, Where, boiling through the rocks, they roar On Dunstanborough’s caverned shore. Thy tower, proud Bamburgh, marked they there, King Ida’s castle, huge and square, From its tall rock look grimly down And on the swelling ocean frown. Then from the coast they bore away And reached the Holy Island’s bay.
* * * * *
As to the port the galley flew,
Higher and higher rose to view
The castle with its battled walls,
The ancient monastery’s halls,
A solemn, huge, and dark-red pile
Placed on the margin of the isle.
In Saxon strength that abbey frowned,
With massive arches, broad and round.
* * * * *
On the deep walls, the heathen Dane
Had poured his impious rage in vain;
And needful was such strength to these,
Exposed to the tempestuous seas,
Scourged by the winds’ eternal sway,
Open to rovers fierce as they.
Which could twelve hundred years withstand
Winds, waves, and northern pirates’ hand.”
NORTH AND SOUTH TYNE.
“On Kielder-side the wind blaws
There sounds nae hunting horn
That rings sae sweet as the winds that beat
Round banks where Tyne is born.”
Between Peel Fell and Mid Fell, almost the farthest western heights of the Cheviot Hills, a little mountain stream takes its rise, and flows to the south and east. This little burn is the North Tyne, the beginnings of that stream which, deep, dark, and swift at its mouth, bears the mighty battleships there built to carry the war-flags of the nations round the world. In the wild and lovely district where the North Tyne takes its rise, is Kielder Castle, a shooting box belonging to the Duke of Northumberland.