Burgesses of Guild of the City and Royal Burgh of Aberdeen

Burgesses of Guild coat of arms


The Burgesses of Guild of the City and Royal Burgh of Aberdeen ranks as one of the oldest civic institutions in Scotland. The Burgesses are first mentioned in historical documents in 1124 when Aberdeen was a centre of trade and commerce. 

Much of the city's history stems from the actions of its early burgesses who were charged with guarding the Burgh with its laws and customs. 

More than 800 years after formation the Burgesses of Aberdeen now number some 1,100 men and women who have been admitted on the strength of their character, professional reputation and involvement in the civic life of Aberdeen.

On 10th December 1319, the Stocket Charter, a document written in Latin and signed by King Robert the Bruce, proclaimed at Berwick-Upon-Tweed, and  addressed to the “burgesses and community of our burgh of Aberdeen”, is one of the pivotal documents in the city’s history.

As a reward for its loyalty, the burgh received several grants from Robert the Bruce, including custody of the forest of Stocket, culminating in this charter which gave all revenues from the burgh courts, market tolls, fishing to the burgesses in perpetuity, in return for an annual payment of £213 6s 8d.

The charter reserved sporting and timber rights for the crown, but otherwise the city obtained absolute possession. It was an extremely valuable gift, allowing the burgh to generate significant income and to lay the basis for the ‘Common Good Fund’ which survives to this day. It also enabled Aberdeen to become a significant economic and political power in late-medieval and early-modern Scotland.

To celebrate the 700th anniversary of the Stocket Charter the burgesses plan an array of events throughout 2020.

For more information visit: www.aberdeenburgesses.com or email clerk@aberdeenburgesses.com 

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