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Not to be confused with Berwick-upon-Tweed (borough).

County (until circa 1890)
Country Scotland
County town Berwick-upon-Tweed (historic)
Greenlaw (1596–1890)
Duns (modern)
 • Total 1,184 km2 (457 sq mi)
  Ranked 19th
Chapman code BEW

Berwickshire or the County of Berwick is a registration county, lieutenancy area and former administrative county in the Scottish Borders. The former county town, after which it is named, had been Berwick-upon-Tweed - but the royal burgh changed hands when it was lost by Scotland to England in 1482, subsequently becoming part of the county of Northumberland, in England.

The modern county town is Duns, and the county was on occasion referred to as Duns-shire or Dunsshire, particularly during the Victorian era, to reflect this change. For a period, Greenlaw was the county town beginning in 1596.[1] As one of the historic counties of Scotland, Berwickshire acquired a county council in 1890 which sat at Duns. The county council was dissolved in the local government reorganisations in 1975 and the county now forms part of the Scottish Borders council area.

The county borders Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire to the west, East Lothian and Midlothian to the north, the North Sea to the east and a portion of the Anglo-Scottish border with Northumberland to the south.

Local Government[edit]

In 1975 at the time of the local government reorganisation it contained four burghs and three districts:

The districts of :

  • Berwick East
  • Berwick Middle
  • Berwick West

The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 that abolished the "local government councils" (not the counties) incorporated their council areas into the Borders Region.

The "council region" existed from 1975 until 1996, and was divided into four districts, one of which was named Berwickshire.

Berwickshire District's area was not identical with the county's area however: the burgh of Lauder and most of the county's West District were included in Ettrick and Lauderdale, while the parish of Nenthorn was made part of Roxburgh District.

Berwickshire District Council's headquarters remained in Duns.

Coat of arms[edit]

The arms of the County Council of Berwick

The County Council of Berwick was formed in 1890 by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889, and applied for a grant of arms the same year. The grant, by Lord Lyon King of Arms was made on 10 October.

The Canting arms showed a bear chained to a wych-elm tree, which formed part of the insignia of the borough of Berwick upon Tweed, and was an heraldic pun on the town and county's name (bear + wych = Berwick). [2]

On 12 November 1975 the arms were regranted to Berwickshire District Council.[3]

On the abolition of the district council in 1996, the arms reverted to the Crown.

Civil Parishes[edit]

BERWICKSHIRE Civil Parish map. The Imperial gazetteer of Scotland. Vol.I. by Rev. John Marius Wilson Boundaries outlined in red.

Refer to the List of civil parishes in Scotland

Towns and villages[edit]

(See Civil parish list above for villages in those parishes) Other places in Berwickshire include :


The Berwickshire News is published weekly, and numerous organisations and groups have Berwickshire in their titles (i.e.: the Berwickshire Housing Association, Berwickshire Sports Council).

The Berwickshire Civic Society is currently campaigning for road signs at the entrances to the county to have notices added saying 'You are now entering the ancient county of Berwickshire', and they hold an annual Keep Berwickshire Tidy Campaign, judged each April.

The High school west of Duns is named Berwickshire High School, it has been open since 1896. Together with Eyemouth High School they run a Rugby team under the name of Berwickshire schools.

The Berwickshire Coastal Path runs from Cockburnspath to Berwick upon Tweed (28 miles).


  1. ^ "Berwick-upon-Tweed - Braidwood | A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (pp. 124-151)". 2003-06-22. Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  2. ^ R.M. Urquhart (1973). Scottish Burgh and County Heraldry. London. 
  3. ^ R.M. Urquhart (1979). Scottish Civic Heraldry. London. 

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 55°45′N 2°30′W / 55.750°N 2.500°W / 55.750; -2.500