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Burgesses and landed men in North-East Scotland in the later Middle Ages: a study in social interaction

Burgesses and landed men in North-East Scotland in the later Middle Ages: a study in social interaction

Burgesses and landed men in North-East Scotland in the later Middle Ages: a study in social interaction

By Harold William Booton

PhD Dissertation, University of Aberdeen, 1987

Abstract: This thesis has attempted a detailed analysis of the social changes and interaction between burgesses and landed men in north-east Scotland between 1400 and 1530. In attempting such analysis investigation has been made of the Aberdeen burgh property market in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Much emphasis is given to the social trends and developments that this study reveals and in particular the rise of a small urban elite. For example analysis is made of the totals of property transactions by street area of the various social groups. These were the Aberdeen town council, the church, the craftsmen and the burgesses. In particular, the latter grouping contained eleven burgess families who enjoyed great wealth and political power in late medieval Aberdeen. They established dynasties and acquired extensive urban and country estates.

The elite ‘eleven’ and the other social classes within late medieval Aberdeen are considered in a social context in chapter two. Analysis has concentrated on political infighting and manipulation between the elite families. A study has been made of the methods employed by the Rutherfurd and Menzies families to advance their fortunes. Analysis is made of the role of the elite burgesses in local government and the access to town patronage it provided for them. In addition a detailed investigation has been nade of the Aberdeen burgesses of guild from 1399 to 1510.


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