Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BURGH, BOROUGH, Burrow(e), Burrough, Borrow(e), Boro', n.1 A town possessing special privileges conferred by royal charter and having a municipal corporation. Also, a town which sends representatives to parliament. See also Broch, n.1, 2. “Burrough became the prevalent spelling in E.M.E. but was subsequently displaced by borough in Eng. and Ir., while the form established in Scotland was burgh” (N.E.D. s.v. borough). [′bʌrə, ′bɔrə, ′bɔro, bʌrg]

1. Burgh, burrowe, burrough. Chron. order. Peb. 1706 Burgh Records (1910) 175:
Nominatis provest Tweedie commissioner for this burgh to the generall convention of royall burrowes to meet at Edinburgh.
Lnk. 1708 Minutes J.P.s Lnk. (S.H.S. 1931) 26:
The clerk of the Peace of every shire, steuartry, burrough, or place in Scotland.
Cai. 1920 H. F. Campbell Cai. and Sth. 75:
In 1902 it [Pulteneytown] was united to the Burgh of Wick.

2. Borrow(e). Sc. 1700 Records Conv. Burghs (1880) 297:
And performeing of all acts and ordinances of borrowes made or to be made.
Sc. 1709 First Earl of Cromartie in Earls of Crm. (ed. Fraser 1876) II. 99:
The first possession he attempted was to require the whole shyre to chuse members of parliament for shyre and borrow at his prescription.

3. Phrases and combs.: (1) borough-acres, a piece of land belonging to a borough; (2) burgh customs, customs or duties levied by a borough (Lnl.1 1937) (see quot.); (3) borough-laird, “the owner of house-property in a burgh” (Sc. 1911 S.D.D. Add.); †(4) borrowland, lands belonging to a borough; †(5) borrow-maill, burrow meal, “the annual duty payable to the sovereign by a burgh for the enjoyment of certain rights” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2); †(6) burgh-muir, borough muir, moor-land belonging to a borough; †(7) burgh of barony, a borough under the jurisdiction of a baron; †(8) burgh of regality, a borough under the jurisdiction of a Lord of Regality; see Regality: (9) burgh-royal, royal burrow, a Scottish borough which derives its charter directly from the Crown; (10) burgh-school, a school maintained by a borough (Fif.1. Lnl.1 1937); (11) burrowstoun, borrows town, boro' toon, boroughs town, a borough (Lnl.1 1937) (see (9)). Borough-town is arch. in Eng. (1) Wgt. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 IV. 2:
Smaller proprietors who posses portions of land called borough-acres.
(2) Edb. 1931 Scotsman (21 Nov.) 9/5:
Royal Burgh Customs Charges. So far as Edinburgh is concerned, under an Act of 1874, petty customs and duties were for the greater part abolished, but certain of them still continue in respect of the fruit and vegetable market, the wholesale poultry market, the corn market, and the cattle market. The revenue from those sources in Edinburgh for 1931 was ¥21,816.
(4) Wgt. 1702 in G. Fraser Lowland Lore (1880) 27:
Such as are not able to pay ye fine shall be . . . scourged fuirth of ye burgh and borrowland.
(5) Ags. 1719 Private Document (per Fif.1):
His majestys borrow maills adebted used and wont to be payed furth [of these Lands].
Fif. 1710 R. Sibbald Hist. Fife and Kinross 125:
William Sinclair . . . got from king James III the castle . . . with some lands . . . and an annual out of the Burrow Meals of Edinburgh.
(6) Sc. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIV. 561:
The borough muir, the lands belonging to the kirk-session and guildry are believed to contain coal.
Sc. 1827 Scott Surgeon's Daughter vi.:
He saw before him the rivulet which wanders through the burgh-muir of Middlemas.
(7) Sc. 1830 Scott Demonology Letter v. 161:
At Auldearne, a parish and burgh of barony.
Fif. 1710 R. Sibbald Hist. Fife and Kinross 127:
A Mile to the East of Dysart . . . is Wester-weems, the Town is a Burgh of Barony belonging to the Earl of Weems.
(8) Sc. 1836 Penny Cycl. V. 220/1:
Musselburgh . . . was successively a burgh of barony and a burgh of regality.
Peb. [1715] A. Pennecuik Descr. of Tweeddale in Works (1815) 158, Note:
Linton, is a market town and burgh of regality.
(9) Gsw. 1717 Burgh Records (ed. Marwick 1908) 622:
The provost produced in councill ane act of the royal burrows past in their generall convention.
Ayr. 1774 Petition of Magistrates and Council in A. McKay Hist. of Kilmarnock (1848) App. iii. 277:
The said burgh of barony to be erected into ane burgh-royal.
(10) Sc. 1872 W. Minto Eng. Lit. i. iii.:
The teachership of classics and mathematics in the burgh-school of Kirkcaldy.
Ayr. 1848 A. McKay Hist. of Kilmarnock xii.:
This was the origin of the burgh school of Kilmarnock.
(11) Sc. 1934 L. Spence in Gallov. Annual 11:
She gaed and gaed owre the kintraside speirin for her shoe in clachan and burrowstoun.
Abd.(D) 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 62:
But a lady hie sae to show her knee. And to dance in a boro' toon!
Ags. 1776 C. Keith Farmer's Ha' 7:
For tho' nae bred in borrows town. He's wondrous gabby.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Sawney at Doncaster in Blackwood Mag. (Oct.) 468:
Me and the horse, I on its back, rode our ways towards that same boroughs town of Doncaster.

[O.Sc. burch, burgh, etc., O.E. burh, burg; also O.Sc. burrow, burow, burro(u), O.E. burge, gen.sing. of burg, burh; O.Sc. borow, borrow, a common variant of burrow. corresponding to E.M.E. borrow(e), borowe, Mid.Eng. borowe, borou, borough, with o for u as in thorow, etc., thorough (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Burgh n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 May 2021 <>



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