Major Norton’s Berwick Garrison

Active1500s to
ConflictsFirst Bishops’ War
Second Bishops' War
Area RaisedNorthumberland
Coat Colour
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Field ArmiesGarrison

One of the few garrisons in existence prior to the start of the Civil Wars

Service History


  • March: Garrison under threat from Scots mobilization
  • April: Berwick reinforced by Lyndsey, Essex and Astley



One of the border garrisons in place since Tudor times, Berwick was the main garrison on the Eastern borders. The garrison had been mostly disbanded by James I and thereafter neglected, with their strength in 1639 consisting of Major Norton (the commander) a handful of officers, 11 soldiers, about 6 gunners, eight cavalrymen and a preacher. Berwick was heavily reinforced by Essex, Astley and Lyndsey with up-to 3000 men at the start of April 1639 1).

The walls of the towne were not soe slighted but that with small cost they were now made very strong and usefull, and received to fit- ting purpose good store of cannon (and might well have beeiie furnished with more if neede had required). Upon the line comming from the Lord Dunbarr's house was one iron peece. The Mary Gate northward had two iron peeces over it, a great chamber in the mouth of it, and a little distance from the gate was a new redoubt, four square, made with pallisadoes round it, and a continull watch of musquetiers lay in it. On the same line tending towards the east was annother bulwarke with three iron peeces planted on it. Further eastward annother little bulwarke with three iron peeces. On the same line eastward a watch tower. By it a little bulwarke new raised, with three iron peeces on it. Next that a great bulwarke with seven iron peeces on it. Next to that, allmost due east, seven brasse peeces whereof two were very faire gunns. The Cow-gate, three small brasse peeces in the mouth of the port. On the bulwarke by the windmill, on the same line, seven iron peeces. On the corner bulwarke, south east, eight iron peeces. The Shoare-gate southward. The Bridge-gate southward. On the great bulwarke, south west, neare the great gate called New-gate, seven iron peeces. Besides the walls that encompasse the towne there runns a line within, acrosse from the watch towre north east to the New-gate south- west, which is very strong and hath good batteries on it. The totall of all the cannon upon the walls and in the ports were, besides the murdering peece, fifty-six2)

Coats, Flags & Equipment

Notable Officers

Major Norton


  • 1639: About 30 men

See Also

1) The Bishops’ Wars, Charles I’s campaigns against Scotland 1638-1640. Mark Charles Fissel, Cambridge University Press 1994. ISBN 0 521 34520 0
2) Six North Country Diaries by John Crawford Hodgson. The Publications of the Surtees Society Vol. CXVII, Durham, 1910. available online via