Before the park was created, this area was open field. tthrough which the stream from the Tappee Pond flowed before coursing to the north of the castle. The boundary wall that divides the park from railway property drops downhill steeply before rising up to the castle, defining the original contour of the gully dividing Castle Hill from the surrounding land before being filled in by the railway.
The wall that divides Tommy the Miller’s field and Coronation Park is not new as such. A wall on a similar line in mentioned in the 1538 survey of the castle and is shown in a drawing from 1790.
At the top of the park is the site of Gallows Knowe. It may have been here that Sir Alexander Seton’s son, Thomas, was hanged when a hostage by Edward III during the siege of Berwick in 1333. This was the site of public executions in Berwick, the last being Grace Griffin in 1823.
On 10th December, 1936, King Edward VIII abdicated. This was extremely inconvenient as the Corporation were well on there ways for a programme of tree planting to mark the King’s coronation.
Various places in Berwick and Tweedmouth were to be planted. North road, Bank Hill and Tommy the Miller’s field are all suggested. On the 16th December that year, a letter from the solicitors to the owner of the field, Mr Askew-Robertson is received by the Borough Surveyor. Mr Askew-Robertson has no objection to trees being planted either side of the path leading through the lower part of the field but warns:
“...it is a wind-swept field, and there will be every chance of boys breaking the branches off, and it will, of course, be essential to have each tree protected by a wire guard, or fenced round, to prevent stock in the field from damaging the trees...”
Despite the abdication, plans proceeded and Coronation Park was created, presumably in time for George VI’s coronation 12th May 1937, originally the date for Edward’s coronation.
Postcard—Valley of The Tweed-, by James Hutton-—showing Tommy the Miller’s field and what is now Coronation Park in front of the boundary wall. The castle is to the left.
Early views of Coronation Park in full bloom. Images such as these are invaluable to research and help understand the original planting scheme of the park.
Sheep grazing in Tommy the Miller’s field as seen from the riverside.