Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Burgess, a member of a borough. The Municipal Corporation Act, 1882, defines who shall be the electors of the municipal council, and by sect. 9 a burgess or freeman is defined as a person of full age, not an alien, nor having received within the preceding twelve months parochial relief or other alms, and who on the 15th day of July in any year shall have occupied any house, warehouse, counting-house, shop or other building within the borough during the whole of the preceding twelve months, and during such occupation shall have resided within the Borough or within seven miles thereof; and shall during such time have been rated in respect of such premises to all rates for the relief of the poor, and have paid on or before the 20th of July in such year all such poor and borough rates in respect of the same premises, as shall have been payable up to the preceding 5th of January, and he must have been duly enrolled as a burgess on the Burgess Roll, but when the qualifying premises came to the party by descent, marriage, marriage settlement, devise, or promotion to any benefice or office, the occupancy and rating of the predecessor may be reckoned as part of the twelve months; and to the qualification above prescribed the £10 occupation qualification under the Registration Act, 1885, has now been added by the County Electors Act, 1888.

In Scotland persons could always be elected burgesses by the magistrates of the burgh. The subject of the election of burgesses is now regulated by the Acts 23 and 24 Vic. c. 47, and 39 Vic. c. 12. The last-mentioned statute was passed for the purpose of assimilating the law of Scotland in some measure to that of England.