You will say that tweed is a woollen fabric. And you will be right, of course. But before the appearance of this wonderful fabric there was the River Tweed, which we will tell you about.
From the hillside to the north
Tweed flows between England and Scotland making their administrative boundary. The riverhead is situated on the hillside near the village Tweedsmuir as riverheads of two other rivers Clyde and Annan. There is a proverb about the riverheads of these three big rivers in England: “Annan, Tweed and Clyde rise oot the ae hillside”.
Tweed runs into the North Sea in the town Berwick-upon-Tweed, the northernmost town in England, which was founded in the 870. In the 11th century the town was a Scotch port, where war ships for Kings of Scotland were built and which prospered until the territory was seized by the King Edward I. However, the town yielded to the English later and before that changed hands 13 times! Today, as before, the main source of income of this northern port is fishing trade. Three river bridges on Tweed are one of the town’s sights: the ancient Berwick Bridge, which was built in the 17th century of sandstone and has 15 arcs, the Royal Border Bridge, which was built in the 19th century and has 28 arcs and the Royal Tweed Bridge, which was built in the beginning of the 20th century.
What is Tweed famous for?
Of course, one of the most well-known stories connected with the river is the origin of the name of tweed fabric. Initially, the fabric was called tweel, but it was until one merchant from London got a letter from Scotland, where it was said about advantages of the fabric. For some reason the merchant read the name as “tweed” and decided that it was connected with the river Tweed. In such a manner the name assigned to the fabric.
But Tweed did not limit itself with “tweed”! There is an estate of the great author of romances Walter Scott – Abbotsford on the bank of the river, where now a museum of the writer is situated. Walter Scott bought acres in the beginning of the 19th century and began to build the estate in the style of medieval Scotland.
The writer himself developed design of the estate. The house was decorated with glass paintings with pictures of the Scotch Kings, alabaster gargoyles, extensive library, collections of antiques, furniture and weapons, and in the garden a fountain was planned. Construction of the estate lasted 13 years. In the 1826 Walter Scott moved in and lived and wrote in Abbotsford until he died in the 1832.
Apart from the bridges in the northern port and the estate in the ancient Scotch spirit the River Tweed is famous because its bed is on the floor of an ancient glacier of the last Ice Age. And the fishers will be interested in another feature of the river: Tweed is one of the richest salmon rivers in Great Britain. Here one can find happy fishing ground!