Search the Database of the Guild of Freemen of Berwick-upon-Tweed

Berwick-upon-Tweed Record ‘s Guild of Freemen dates back to at least the 12th century, though their records are only extant locally from 1505.

More historical information below.

Admissions of new Freemen were recorded and this website holds details of their applications. The information comprises the forenames and surname of applicant, date of his admission, occupation, residential street in Berwick or town outside Berwick, father or master’s details (forenames and surname, date of admission (there are no admission dates for masters) and notes. The database currently holds details of Freemen who were admitted between 1800 and 1940 using records held at Berwick Record Office.

Search the records to assist you with your family history, to see if you’re related to a Freeman. The notes on some records may show alternate spellings of surnames, if you can’t find an ancestor, try alternative spellings. From the results page, you can get more details about a Freeman and see if there were other sons.

Enter a surname in the Surname field below, optionally you can enter a forename or an admission date (including a 4 digit year) or both to reduce the number of results shown.

More Information ^

Initially the Freemen were merely concerned with trade in the town however, between 1603 and 1835 they governed the town and were thus involved in all aspects of its life.

At first, only eldest sons of Freemen were eligible to become Freemen on reaching the age of 21, other men (non-Freemen and younger sons of Freemen) had to serve a 7 year apprenticeship. In 1783, younger sons of Freemen automatically became eligible to become Freemen.

Individuals could also be admitted “by ticket”, a form of honorary freedom which was not hereditary.

The Guild of Freemen still exists today and new Freemen can be admitted at ceremonies held at least four times a year. See the Guild website www.freemenofberwick.org.uk for details of how to become a Freeman.