October 3rd 2022 at 7.00 pm
The Wilson Memorial Dinner

This year being held at The Maltings your evenings entertainment includes a performance of ‘Kate Kennedy’, readings of 100 Word tales, a recitation of the ‘Beans & Bacon’ poem which provides inspiration for the meal (and a challenge to chefs!)  The Winner of the 100 Word Competition will be announced. 

Tickets and details can be found elsewhere on the website, and reservations may be made in the shop, or by email to 


November 8th at 6.00 pm
A (virtually) Live Event!

Wilson’s Tales is delighted to invite all of our Patrons, friends, and supporters to a virtual live event.

On Sunday 8th November – 6.00 p.m. in conjunction with the Berwick Literary Festival, and in celebration of the anniversary of the first edition of “Wilsons tales of the Borders”, Berwick’s own 19th century  international best seller, we will be hosting…

’Intoxicating Tales of The Borders’

Pour a glass of something for the Toast, settle back in the comfortable chair, and direct your browser to:-

Proceedings will start at 6:00 p.m.

Introduction – Andrew Ayre
6-05 A Toast to Wilson  – have your glass charged and to hand!
6-06 “Beans & Bacon” edited recital of the poem on which our literary dinner is based. – Joe & Jacqui Lang.
 6-10 Wilson’s intoxicating tales – a whistle stop tour of tales involving booze. – A. Ayre
6-14 “The Heir of Elphinstone” – Stuart MacHardy
6-22 “The Pentland Smuggler” – Stuart MacHardy
6-30 Wilson’s Tales Revival Edition launch of Volume 7 – A Ayre/J Lang/R Wilson. The WTP Committee pick their favourite and give some comment on it
6-40 100 word tales – Richard Wilson
6-45 Q & A
6-55 Farewell; The temperate mans song – Joe Lang.


Andrew Ayre is Project Director of The Wilson’s Tale Project
Stuart MacHardy, aka “Bloke in a Bunnet,” is a professional storyteller and author. Contributor to the Edinburgh Storytelling Centre and others.
Joe Lang and Richard Wilson are Directors of The Project

The Wilson’s Tales Literary Dinner, (normally) held in October of each year, has a fun ‘competition’ inviting guests to contribute a 100 word Tale. These are some of the best to date.

Put the date in your Reminders and be sure to attend. Hear (and see) Wilsons Tales being performed live by your own fireside! Imagine yourself back in 1836 listening to the family elder reading the latest Tale from the weekly broadsheet edition as the family gathered to listen.
All you need to do on Sunday November 8th  is browse to  and register, then wait for the curtains to open at 6:00 p.m.

The website shop at
Will remain open to sell Volume 7 at a launch special price for 48 hours after the event.
Volume 7 is also available from:-
Berwick Visitor Centre
Walker Gate
Berwick, TD15 1DJ

George C Grieve
1 Church Street
Berwick, TD15 1EG
01835 824 087

Mainstreet Trading,
St Boswells, TD6 0AT
01289 306051

October 17 2019 Event. Tales of tears

Once again, the Project is delighted to be preceding the Berwick Literary Festival with an evening of Wilson’s Tales, and the launch of the new Volume of re-told tales.  Tickets are available via the Maltings booking office -click here.Produced by The Duns Players, the full programme for the evening is:-
“The Siege” and Wilson the Playwright (or Plagiarist?)
Berwick 1333 and a town in trouble“Polwarth on the Green” a play by Dr Michael Fenty
Damsels in Distress,

“Sir Patrick Hume”
Polwarth’s Hero in Hiding
The Launch of Volume 6 of the Revival Editions

June 2019 Event. Coupland Castle

The good weather is here – sometimes – and on June 6th you are invited to a private tour of Coupland Castle gardens, and the art collection, together with the ‘Tale of Kate Kennedy,’

Places are already booked following the last Newsletter, but we now have details.
The formal tour will commence at 7:00 p.m. from the front door, though you are welcome to arrive from 6:00 if you wish to bring a picnic to enjoy in the grounds.  The price of £12.50 a head covers a glass of fizz on arrival, the tour and the Tale.
Although the Castle hosts weddings, this is a chance to enjoy a tour of a Grade I listed border stronghold not normally accessible to casual visitors.

The Castle is located at Ewart, Northumberland, NE71 6TQ just across the river from Yeavering, about 4 miles NW of Wooler.
There is a maximum number of spaces available,
to book your places, please send a cheque payable to “the Wilson’s Tales Project” to Wilson’s Tales c/o GWAyre, 17 Walkergate,  Berwick Upon Tweed. TD15 1DJ
or book via the website by clicking here
we are obliged to refuse or return bookings once the allocated places are all full.


October 20th 2018 – Talk by Mike Fraser 
Mike Fraser – author of the newly published book on the life of JMW (See above) will be giving a talk on JMW’s life and work. as part of the Berwick Literary Festival. Mike discusses what Wilson’s writings tell us about Berwick in 1834 and Britain then and now.
October 20th – 4:00 pm  £5.00 – Holy Trinity Parish Centre


full details and tickets are here


October 18th 2018

The Wilsons Tales Project is proud to present…
‘Tales of Torment’ 

More stories from Berwick’s own 19th centurary literary sensation – Wilson’s Tales of the Borders – re-presented for the 21st century.

The Domestic Griefs of Gustavus McIvor
Think Taming of the Shrew, but whatever the poor fellow tries, his life just gets worse, in a new play by Alice Dobie

Health and Home are powerful magnets
Mike Fraser reveals new research on three years in which Wilson took charge of the Berwick Advertiser, launched his Tales – and died, tragically young

Beans and Bacon
A riotous epic poem of desperation, deception, gluttony and glory

Volume 5 – Preview 
Help launch the latest volume of stories, illustrations and backstories

Tickets: £8
Venue: Baptist Church, Golden Square, Berwick-upon-Tweed

Tickets are available to book at

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


Thursday October  19th 2017

Tales with a Twist at The Watchtower Gallery

  • Featuring ‘The Disasters of Johnny Armstrong’ performed by NTC Touring Theatre Company.
    Northumberland Theatre Company production of
    ‘The Disasters of Johnny Armstrong’ one of Wilson’s fantastic Tales of the Borders 
    by John Mackay Wilson
    directed by Gillian Hambleton
    designed by Michelle Huitson


  • ‘The Ballad of Fair Helen of Kirkconnel’ sung by Poppy Holden.
  • Artwork Exhibition and much more! Details to follow.


Wilson’s Tales at the Scottish story telling centre 7th-26th November.

 Charles Nasmyth provided the front cover illustration for Volume 3 and is providing more for next year as an illustrated interpretation of an entire Tale. He will be working on this at the Scottish Story telling Centre, on The Royal Mile , Edinburgh as part of his exhibition running there from 7th  till 26th November. He will be there in person working on his tale on 17th November between 10.30 and 2.30.


Our next Revival Events at The Berwick Literary
Festival Oct 20th to 23rd 2016

Oct 21st – 23rd 10am to 7pm
“The Wilson’s Tales Project Pop up Museum”
10a Bridge St Car Park, Berwick, Free Entry
The Tale of the Tales and of Wilson and Border Ballads.
Will include regular screening of tales captured on Film,
original and new artwork etc.

October 20th @ 7.30pm, The Guildhall, Berwick
“The Poor Scholar”, Robert Wilkinson’s
dramatization of Wilson’s autobiographical Tale.
“The Tweed near Berwick”

October 22nd @ 8pm, The Watchtower Gallery, Tweedmouth
“Willie Wastle’s account of his wife”
Rowan Tree Theatre’s revival of their 1987
play produced and published by Judy Steel

(Tickets £8 for each show from The Maltings):

Previous Events:

6th revival event  Sunday 27th March

Poster Wilson’s Women Heroines & Harlots


A new venue for us at the Watchtower Gallery in Tweedmouth.


Our theme this spring is “Wilson’s Women” , portraying some of the brave , bright and Belligerent women featured in The Tales. Wilson was very much a writer who recognised the central role women played in so many aspects of society and family life and their role in history.


Mary Kenny who has worked with us on several occasions will tell the tale of Kate Kennedy. Alice Dobie and colleagues form Northumbria University drama department have been challenged to present The Guidewife of Coldingham and David Martin, a winner of our young film makers award, will present a shortened version of the Belford Players tale of Grizzell Cochrane: A Tale of Tweedmouth Muir on film. The latter two of them based on true local events and history , the latter tale of Grizzell Cochrane, like the Errington Tale , almost too far-fetched to be true, but largely true it is.


So I hope you can get the date in your diary and we look forward to seeing you.

Never miss an event again by following us on Twitter, or finding us on Facebook.

Previous Revival Events:

3rd December at 7-30 to Coldstream History Society , at the Eildon Centre

11th January 2016 at 7-30 to Norham History society , at the Village hall.

18th February 2016 10-30 to Eyemouth Probus.

Launcelot Errington and his Nephew Mark:  A Tale of Lindisferne

We were delighted that the Northumberland Theatre Company brought their stage version of ‘Lancelot Errington: A Tale of Lindisfarne’ to the Berwick area in October. It will be on at the Guild (Town) Hall on the 10th of October at 7.30pm. The programme will include:

Introduction to Wilson’s Tales and the Wilson’s Tales Project
Andrew Ayre, Project Director


Launcelot Errington and his Nephew Mark: A Tale of Lindisferne
A short play by Northumberland Theatre Company


The historic context of the Rising and the Tale
John Nicholls MBE, Chairman, The Fifteen (The Northumbrian Jacobite Society)

It was also be presented as part of a suite of 6 tales as part of ‘A Wife of the Gallows & Other Tales’ at Paxton House on the 11th October. (Description Below).

“An evening of tale-telling misadventures with comic, swashbuckling and light-hearted traditional stories, linked through character, music and song in a ‘Canterbury Tales’, story-telling format. Including popular Northern Tales such as ‘A Snowball in June and Mideside Maggie’s Bannock’, ‘The Adventures of Launcelot Errington and his Nephew Mark’ and other unremembered classics. An evening to delight, enchant and entertain with music, song and plenty of humour.” – Northumberland Theatre Company

15th March 2015, Tales of Honour, Humour & Horror, including; The Monomaniac, The Monks of Dryburgh and Judith the Egyptian at the Guildhall.

“Judith the Egyptian”: A tale of gypsies and romance gone wrong set in the Norham area, recited by professional storyteller Mary Kenny.

“The Monks of Dryburgh”: As a radio style play. A humorous tale adapted by Dr Michael Fenty and Presented by the Duns players.

“The Monomaniac”: A strong piece of drama covering the misadventures of a young bride on a passage to India and the consequences of this. Adapted as a play by Dr Michael Fenty. Produced by Joe Lang, stars Abigail Hood, Joe Lang, Jackie Kaines and Stuart Faed.

26th October 2014, A Selection of Wilson’s Nautical Tales, including; The Prisoner of War, The Monomaniac and Tibby Fowler at Paxton House.

“The Prisoner of War”: A short play set in the Napoleonic Wars dramatized and produced by Christine Fletcher.

“The Monomaniac”: A tale of drama on the way to India and its lasting effects. Adapted by Michael Fenty and produced by Joe Lang.

“Tibby Fowler”: The tale of a Paxton girl retold by Mary Kenny.

30th March 2014, A Celebration of John Mackay Wilson’s Tales in Song, Drama and Art, including; The Red Hall; Berwick 1296, Berwick 900, The Royal Raid and Lament of the Border Widow at the Guildhall.

7th September 2013 Border’s Ballads and Stories and the Hume Tales, including; The Tradition of Border Tales: Burns, Walter Scott and Wilson’s Legacy, Tales from Wilson’s Tales of the Borders, Hume, The Governor of Berwick, Sir Patrick Hume: A Tale of the House of Marchmount and The Ballad of the World’s Vanity as well as Wilson’s Tales of the Borders at Paxton House: A Renaissance of Local Heritage including; Wilson’s Tales: The Local Legacy; The Man, The Tales and their Context, The Vacant Chair, the Lawyer’s Tale: Lord Kaimes’ Puzzle and The Ballad of the World’s Vanity at Paxton House.

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