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Berwick-upon-Tweed: the bloodiest town in Britain

Updated: May 17

Some of the most dramatic scenes in The Trail of Blood take place in Berwick-upon-Tweed. The town changed hands between Scotland and England thirteen times before finishing up in the latter in 1482. As such, the inhabitants suffered countless atrocities, not least the Good Friday massacre of 1296, when King Edward I demanded that the mills run with Scottish blood. His soldiers duly obliged, by slaughtering all 5,000 residents, including a plucky colony of merchants from Flanders. I sent my young character Turnbull into Berwick, to investigate the town's Flemings, and if you’ve read the book, you’ll know that the place lived up to its dangerous reputation. These days, it’s well worth a visit for its medieval walls and Elizabethan reinforcements.

Woodcut of the town walls of Berwick-upon-Tweed

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