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1490 - 1520
Women as burgesses in Dunfermline

 Although the majority of burgesses in Scottish towns were men, some burghs did allow women to become burgesses, usually as heirs to their fathers who had held that status.  Below are some examples from Dunfermline. Note that the grant is conditional in number 5. Men could also become burgesses by right of their wife if she was a daughter of a burgess. The entry is translated from the original Scots.



1. 14 Dec 1500 – the which day Elizabeth Patonsone entered burgess by reason of James Patonsone her father

2. 17 Oct 1503 – the which day Jonet Kynglassye was made burgess by reason of David Kynglassy her father and found by an inquest of the foresaid court nearest and lawful heir to the said David

3. 20 June 1505 – the which day Jonet Jhonsone entered burgess by reason of her father Michell Jhonsone and was found nearest and lawful heir to the said Michell by the foresaid assise of a land lying in the Cross Wynd, reserving the said land to Jonet Gyll, widow of the said Michell by reason of her conjunct infeftment for all the days of her lifetime

4. 9 July 1505 – Isabell Mane and Jonet Mane entered to their brother’s freedom, John the Mane

5. 12 Oct 1507 – the which day Margaret Gilcrist was entered to the freedom of burgess-ship under the condition following, that if her father was burgess and if he was not to pay therefore, and if her brother happened to come home and enters to the freedom by his father she should pay suchlike

6. 10 Oct 1508 – the which day Elizabeth Mailuill daughter and heir of late John Mailuill her father entered to her said father’s freedom and required the said bailies to ken her [recognise her as possessor] to her father’s lands, the which they did the said day.

7. 5 May 1511 – the which day Jonet Malcome entered burgess by reason of James Malcom her father

8. 9 Oct 1517 – the which day Besse Malcum was entered burgess by reason of George Malcum and sworn thereto



Source: The Burgh Records of Dunfermline 1488-1584 ed Erskine Beveridge. Edinburgh: William Brown, 1917, pp 109,135,149,150,162,168,179,197. Translated from Scots by E. Ewan


Tags: burgesses Dunfermline