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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.


1. “A form of tenure by which land lying within the boundaries of a Royal Burgh as set forth in the Charter of Erection is held of and under the Crown in free burgage for services in burgh used and wont. The services consisted of watching and warding, but the demand for such services has long been in desuetude. The forms for the conveyance of land held burgage were assimilated to the forms applicable to lands held feu by the Conveyancing (Scotland) Act 1874” (A.C.M.).Rs. 1801 Edb. Weekly Jnl. (8 July), (26 Aug.): 
Certain other Lands, holding burgage of that town [Tain] . . . The Burgage Lands march in part with Morangie, and are all of them well cultivated and inclosed. . . . The Sale of the Burgage Subjects, about Tain . . . is Put Off.
Abd. 1909 J.T. Jeannie Jaffray iii.:
Bruce gaed Aberdeen the forest o' Stocket in free burgage for its bravery in attackin' the English.

2. Used attrib. and in comb.: (1) burgage heritor, an owner of land held burgage; (2) burgage-holding = 1; (3) burgage tenement, property held burgage; (4) burgage tenure = 1.(1) Sth. 1818 in C. D. Bentinck Dornoch Cath. and Par. (1926) 350:
A protest lodged “on behalf of about three fourths of the Burgage Heritors, Burgesses, and Inhabitants against the letting of the Links as illegal, the said Links forming no part of the Town's property.”
(2) Ork. 1795 W. Clouston in Stat. Acc.1 XVI. 438:
The revenues of the borough were great, from their burgage-holdings.
(3) Sc. 1934 I. F. Grant Economic Hist. of Scot. 39:
The status of the individual burgess depended upon his possession of a burgage tenement, i.e. whether he was a Crown tenant or not, and not upon any freedom bestowed upon him by the burghal community.
(4) Sc. 1825 J. Mitchell Scotsman's Library 221:
In the lands belonging to the community of the royal borough of Lauder, a peculiar species of burgage tenure takes place. . . . The freedom of the borough can only be got in consequence of having the right of property in one of its burgage lots of land, or borough acres.
Bnff. 1870 Bnffsh. Jnl. (15 March) 7:
Abolition of feudal and burgage tenure in Scotland. Kain carriages and services . . . shall hereafter be prestable to the persons which at the passing of the Act are entitled thereto.

[O.Sc. burgage, as above, earliest quot. 1538 (D.O.S.T.); O.Fr. bourgage, id. (Godefroy).]

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"Burgage n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Sep 2022 <>



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