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burghs, a variant spelling of boroughs, is the Scottish term for privileged towns. David I is traditionally credited with the first foundations of royal burghs; after 1450, burghs founded by subjects (burghs of barony and burghs of regality) became more numerous. Scottish burghs differed in many respects from English boroughs: they were more uniform in their laws and customs; they had a more unified voice in national politics until 1707; and indeed the royal burghs (generally the most important towns) had their own Convention from the 16th cent. Furthermore, four burghs acquired universities between 1411 and 1583, so that until the 19th cent. Scotland had more university towns than England. Since 1707 the differences between English boroughs and Scottish burghs have diminished, but not altogether disappeared.

David M. Palliser

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