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Burgh (pronounced burruh) represents an autonomous corporate entity, usually a town, and has been in use in Scotland since the 12th century. Recognition of burgh status has now, however, little more than ceremonial value.

The titular head of a burgh is called a Provost. Most royal burghs retain the title for ceremonial purposes, with the notable exception of the Scottish cities.

Burghs had rights to representation in the Parliament of Scotland. Under the Acts of Union of 1707 many became parliamentary burghs, represented in the Parliament of Great Britain.

Under the Reform Acts of 1832, 32 years after the merger of the Parliament of Great Britain into the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the boundaries of burghs for parliamentary elections ceased to be necessarily their boundaries for other purposes.

When Scottish county councils were created under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889 burghs were already important in the local government of Scotland. County councils and burgh councils were both abolished under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, which created a new system of regions and districts and island council areas.


[edit] Types of Burgh

There are several types of burgh, including;

[edit] Etymology

As used in this article, the word burgh is derived from Scots language and refers to corporate entities whose legality is peculiar to Scotland. (Scottish law was protected and preserved as distinct from laws of England under the Acts of Union of 1707.) Pronunciation is the same as for the English word borough, which is a near cognate of the Scots word.

The word has cognates, or near cognates, in other Germanic languages. For example, burg in German, and borg in both Danish and Swedish. The equivalent word is also to be found in Frisian, Dutch, Norwegian, and Icelandic. In southern England, the word took the form bury, as in Canterbury (Stewart 1967:193).

The Scots language burgh and the English language borough are derived from the Old English language word burh (whose dative singular and nominative/accusative plural form byrig sometimes underlies modern place-names, and which had dialectal variants including burg; it was also sometimes confused with beorh, beorg, 'mound, hill', on which see Hall 2001, 69-70). The Old English word was originally used for a fortified town or proto-castle (eg at Dover Castle or Burgh Castle) and was related to the verb beorgan (cf. Dutch and German bergen), meaning "to keep, save, make secure". In German Burg means castle, though so many towns grew up around castles that it almost came to mean city, and is incorporated into many placenames, such as Hamburg and Strasbourg),

A number of other European languages have cognate words which were borrowed from the Germanic languages during the Middle Ages, including brog in Irish, bwr or bwrc, meaning "wall, rampart" in Welsh, bourg in French, borgo in Italian, and burgo in Spanish (hence the place-name Burgos).

The most obviously derivative words are burgher in English and Bürger in German (both literally citizen, with connotations of middle-class in English and other Germanic languages). Also related are the words bourgeois and belfry (both from the French), and burglar; more distantly, it is related to words meaning hill or mountain in a number of languages (cf. the second element of iceberg).

[edit] Burgh as an element in placenames

Burgh is commonly used as a suffix in place names, in Scotland and other countries to which Scots emigrated:

And as a placename on its own, in the West Germanic countries:

[edit] See also

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