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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Burch, Burgh, n. Also: burche, bwrch, bwrgh, burgch, burcgh; bowrch, bourghe, bowrgh; burcht, bwrcht; burght, bwrght. [ME. burgh(e, burȝ, early ME. burch, burh, OE. burh, burᵹ. The early plural type *burȝes is represented by Burrowis, Bourowis, and Borowis2. Transposition of r also gives the variants Bruch, Brouch, and Broch n.2The common form with excrescent t is freq. written burt, sometimes erroneously expanded as burtht.]

1. A borough; a town.Early examples occur in place-names, as Rokesburgh (1120), Edenesburg (1125), Dryburgh (c 1150).(a) 1375 Barb. iv. 213.
I was nouthir wis not sle Till othir burchis kepe to ta
1402 Dundee Chart. No. 22.
The burch of Perth
1411 Ayr Friars Pr. Chart. 45.
The commone seile of Are burch
1416 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 247 a.
Wythin the burch of Irwyn
c1420 Wynt. vi. 917.
To pas in pylgrimage To the bwrch of Jerusalem
1425 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 97.
On the sovth side of the bvrne of the saide burch
1439 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 239.
Within the said burch of Aberden
1506 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 110.
For the commoun proffeitt and honesty of this burch
1574 Conv. Burghs I. 30.
Ane man having bis remanyng within the said burch
(b) 1393 Charter Thos. Dunbar MS. (Reg. H.).
Tyl the aldirmen [and] the baylis of our burgh of Elgyne
1402 Dundee Chart. No. 22.
The burges of the burgh of Dunde
? 1423 Edinb. Chart. 213.
Wretyn at yhur burgh of Edynburgh
1441 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 6.
Diuerse of the merchandes of this burgh
1455 Edinb. Chart. 79.
The Prouost, … and Communite of the Burgh of Edynburgh
1456 Peebles B. Rec. 113.
The curt of the burgch of Peblis
1462 Ib. 147.
Other within the burcgh or outtoutht
1478 Acta Aud. 83/2.
Vnsuspect personis within the said burgh and of vther burowis nixt about
1493 Acta Conc. 287/1.
The fredomez and priuilegis of the said burghe
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 181.
The brichtest that in the burgh duellis
1513 Doug. i. x. 30.
In Cartage, Quhilk is the burgh of Juno
Ib. viii. vi. 2.
The first founder of Romys burgh
1536 Maxwell Mem. I. 279.
Our burgch of Edinburgh
1553 Lanark B. Rec. 25.
Johne Mowat, ane of the bailȝes of the burgh
1581 Reg. Privy C. III. 436.
He hes … kepit the said burgh, undeparting as ȝit thairfra
1587 Ib. IV. 195.
The Senatouris to remane undepairting oute of the burgh
1594 Acts IV. 71/1.
That the provest and baillies of ilk burgh sall … tak summar cognitioun of the estait of the landis, housis or tenementis within the burgh
(c) 14.. Acts I. 360/2.
His land … within the kingis burcht
1471 Ayr Chart. 36.
The burgessis and induellaris of oure said burcht
1480 Rec. Earld. Orkney 332.
Sic other houses in the said burcht
1504 Reg. Cupar A. I. 256.
Twa akaris of our burcht of Kethik
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 201.
Thow held the burcht lang with ane borrowit goun
1535 Acts II. 346/1.
Quhat artalȝerie … ilk burcht may perfurnes
1567 Ann. Banff II. 383.
To the wtilitie and commond weill of the said burcht
1594 Liber Dryburgh 321.
The commoun mett of the burcht of Iedburcht
1603 Fam. Rose 293.
Our burcht of Edinburcht
(d) 1529 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 395.
Owre … lordis legis makand resort … to owre said burght
1542 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 181.
Ane commoune … passage within the said burght
1552 Reg. Cupar A. II. 101.
Certane acris … of our burght of Keiththik
1575 Mun. Univ. Glasg. I. 94.
Bailliȝeis of the burght of Ruthirglen
a1570-86 Maitl. F. clxxviii. 15.
We haif na change within our burght
1597 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 155.
The wreitting hous for the clerk of this burght
1616–7 Misc. Spald. C. V. 96.
Archibald Armstrong, … quha come to this burght with the Inglische knycbtis
(e) Brus iv. 203.]
[Bowrch-in-the-sand Men callis this toune
1498 Dunferm. B. Rec. 329.
The bailyeis off the bowrgh off Downfyrmyllyn
1557 Irvine Mun. II. 10.
It was ane our precious jowal … to turs betuex bourghes
1618 Acts IV. 588/2.
To convein … within the heade bourgh of the … shyre

2. Without article: Town (esp. as opposed to country). 14.. Acts I. 23/2.
Of a thryll at cummys to burgh
1504 Reg. Cupar A. I. 256.
With al fredomes and priuileges of burcht and baronry
1531 Glasgow Prot. IV. 29.
As wse of bwrcht is
1553 Prestwick B. Rec. 62.
As ws & lach of burch is
a1578 Pitsc. II. 321/19.
Thair vas vapinschawing … bayth of burghe and land

b. In or within burch, to burch, or without prep. , freq. with and (or) land.(1) 1432 Acts II. 21/2.
Quhar that ony man barganis outhir in burgh or on lande
Ib. 29/2.
Of the chalange of lande wythin burgh
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxvi. 23.
In hall and bour, in burgh and plane
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 242/14.
All maner of man … baith in burgh & land
1535 Acts II. 344/2.
Thai beand requirit tharto be the … provest or alderman in burcht
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2280.
In euery kirk and queir … in burgh and land
1574 Conv. Burghs I. 25.
Merchantis … haifand thair remanyng … within burgh
1584 St. A. Baxter Bks. 37.
Ather in burcht or land
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii. 145 b.
Watching within burgh
1640-1 Kirkcudbright Min. Bk. 53.
Any heritor within or without burgh
(2) 1533 Bell. Livy I. 202/16.
To the daly terroure … of pepill, als wele to burgh as land
1546 Treas. Acc. IX. 40.
Substancious yemen, baith to burghe and to lande
1549 Compl. 124/4.
Lauberaris to burcht & land and be see burd
1568 Lyndsay Pref. .
Idolateris draw neir to burgh and land
1594 Acts IV. 71/1.
The actis … concerning the vphalding of landis gevin in coniunct infeftment, alsweill to burgh as land
1656 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 163.
Fleshers … alswell to burghe as landwart
(3) a1578 Pitsc. I. 202/23.
All maner of man … as weill burcht as land
1590 St. A. Kirk S. 662.
This holl congregatioun alsueill burch as land

3. An enclosed space. c1420 Wynt. iv. 77.
He maid a burche [C. burghe, W. bowrgis] rownd … Wytht-in the towne till oys thare plays

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"Burch n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Feb 2024 <>



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