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Birgham Village.jpg
Grid reference: NT789390
Location: 55°38’40"N, 2°20’9"W
Post town: Coldstream
Postcode: TD12
Dialling code: 01890
Local Government
Council: Scottish Borders
Roxburgh and Selkirk

Birgham is a village in the parish of Eccles in Berwickshire, on the A698 near Coldstream and the River Tweed.

The village pub is the Fisherman’s Arms.

Birgham is close to Ednam, Kelso, Lempitlaw, Leitholm and Sprouston and across the Tweed in Northumberland are Carham and Wark on Tweed.

The famous role the village had in history was the signature here of the Treaty of Birgham in 1286, which could have led the union of the crowns of England and Scotland three hundred years before it did, and whose failure led instead to two hundred years of bloodshed.

The Treaty of Birgham

The Treaty of Birgham was signed here in 1286 between the Guardians of Scotland and King Edward I of England; a twin treaty with the Treaty of Salisbury of 1289, intended to settle the position of Scotland after the death of King Alexander III. The King's nearest heir was his granddaughter, the infant Margaret, who was still in Norway at the time: the treaties arranged for the safe passage of the child Queen, for her future marriage to Edward's heir (later Edward II) and for the position of the two kingdoms and their parliaments thereafter. It is of interest as containing the first known official reference to the name 'Great Britain'. The treaty was intended to stabilise a dangerous position in Scotland as rival claimants to the throne form the Houses of Baliol and Bruce jostled for position.

The treaty came to nothing however as Margaret Maid of Norway died on the passage to Scotland in 1290. In 1291 Edward summoned the Scottish nobles to meet him at Norham-on-Tweed, asserting his right as feudal overlord of Scotland to determine the disputed succession. The disputing houses were not quietened however and soon afterwards the civil wars and wars with England’s kings began.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Birgham)