Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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INCORPORATION, n. An association of tradesmen, orig. belonging to the same craft, incorporated under a Charter or Seal of Cause, with burgess rights and duties and, till 1846, holding a monopoly of their craft in their particular burgh. They had civic representation through their Deacon Convener (see Deacon, n.1) and with their funds formed a friendly society which is their chief remaining function. The Incorporations corresponded to the Guild, q.v., of merchants, and to the English Corporations or Companies. Sc. 1700  Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) 301:
They hereby recomend to the dean of gild and deacon conveener to conveen the haill respective incorporations of merchants and treads within this burgh.
Ags. 1756  A. Warden Burgh Laws Dundee (1872) 273:
None of the Nine Incorporations shall admit and receive any person that is not bred a tradesman, until first he pay the Funds due.
Rxb. 1781  J. Wilson Ann. Hawick (1850) 386:
There presently are, and shall henceforth continue, seven Incorporations within the said burgh, viz., Weavers, Tailors, Hammermen, Skinners, Fleshers, Shoemakers, and Baxters.
Sc. 1830  W. Chambers Bk. Scotland 66:
In order to become a member of one of these incorporations, it is customary, in Scotland, to serve seven years as an apprentice.
Sc. 1887  E. Bain Merchant Guilds 3:
The Craft-associations were simply designated by the name of the particular craft to which their members belonged, such as, “The Weavers,” “The Bakers,” “The Wrights,” &c. In more recent times they were spoken of as “The Weaver Trade,” “The Baker Trade,” &c., while it is quite a common practice now to style them “Weaver Incorporation,” “Baker Incorporation,” and so on. The word Incorporation was brought into use in connection with the Craft-Guilds when the craftsmen in a particular town incorporated themselves together under a deacon-convener, and established a Convener Court, or Convenery, to look after matters that were common to all the different crafts.
Sc. 1912  H. W. Meikle Scot. and Fr. Revol. 33:
The only popular element in elections [in the 18th c.] was to be found in those towns which still preserved the medieval institutions of Guilds Merchant and Trade Incorporations. In such burghs the trades had originally the right of choosing a deacon who was ex officio a member of the town council.

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"Incorporation n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jan 2019 <>



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