Wednesday, 2 September 2009

River Tweed/ tuede: Place in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Series****

The River Tweed (Scottish Gaelic: Abhainn Thuaidh) is 97 miles (156 km) long and flows primarily through the Borders region of England and Scotland. It rises on Tweedsmuir at Tweed's Well near where the Clyde, draining northwest, and the Annan draining south also rise. "Annan, Tweed and Clyde rise oot the ae hillside" as the Border saying has it.

River Tweed Catchment Area

It drains the entire Borders region. Its lower reaches mark the Scottish border with England for 27 kilometres (17 mi) near Berwick-upon-Tweed. The Tweed is one of the great salmon rivers of Great Britain.

Major towns through which the Tweed flows include Peebles, Galashiels, Melrose, Kelso, Coldstream and Berwick-upon-Tweed, where it flows into the North Sea.

The Tweed valley is also a very interesting area when it comes to looking at the glacial history of Britain. The valley floor on which the river currently flows is a drumlin field and is the relic of a paleo ice stream that flowed through the area during the last glaciation.
River Tweed is the only river in England where an Environment Agency rod licence is not required for angling.

Tweed tributaries include:
Whiteadder Water
Blackadder Water
River Till
Eden Water
River Teviot
River Leader
Leithen Water
Quair Water
Eddleston Water
Manor Water
Lyne Water
Holms Water
Farts Water


  1. In Leicestershire is another, but tiny, River Tweed which the Anglo-Saxons called Barwelle (Boar Stream), hence the name of the village Barwell. Close by stands De Montfort football park, built 2002-2005, where Conference North’s Hinckley United has its home ground.
    In the censuses of the early 1800s and in parish records dating back to the 1400s, the Tweed family have a peculiar geographic distribution: none is found in the Scottish Border's Tweed Valley. Apart from 10% living in Ayrshire, they dwelt mostly in England: distributed in fairly equal numbers in Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Essex. About 10% resided in London (e.g. as Harley Street specialists).
    In 1086, these English counties were particular centres of power of the Breton leader, Count Alan Rufus.
    Concentrating on the Cambridgeshire Tweeds, their places of residence were in Cambridge, Duxford, Cheveley, Wood Ditton, Stetchworth, and other towns all of which were under the lordship or tenancy-in-chief of Count Alan.
    The name Tweed is of uncertain meaning, though believed to be of ancient British origin. But perhaps it was brought over (i.e. returned) with the Bretons, so it would be interesting to know how the Barwelle came to be called the Tweed.
    The Earl of Leicester, Simon de Montfort’s family were from the Paris region, but they later became Dukes of Brittany. So a tractable question is: why was De Montfort Park placed by the Tweed River?

  2. In Bernard Cornwell's Arthurian series, there is mention of a Tudwal. Saint Tudwal (died c. 564) founded the monastery at Treguier on the north Breton coast. Stephen the Count of Treguier (buried in York in 1136) was Alan Rufus's youngest brother and second successor, and ancestor of the later Dukes of Brittany.