Burgage is a medieval land term used in England and Scotland, well established by the 13th century. A burgage was a town ("borough") rental property (to use modern terms), owned by a king or lord. The property ("burgage tenement") usually, and distinctly, consisted of a house on a long and narrow plot of land, with the narrow end facing the street. Rental payment ("tenure") was usually in the form of money, but each "burgage tenure" arrangement was unique, and could include services. As populations grew, "burgage plots" could be split into smaller additional units. Burgage tenures were usually monetary based, in contrast to rural tenures which were usually services based. In Saxon times the rent was called a "landgable" or "hawgable".

Burgage was used as the basis of the franchise in many boroughs sending members to the Unreformed House of Commons before 1832. In these boroughs the right to vote was attached to the occupation of particular burgage tenements. Since these could be freely bought and sold, and since the owner of the tenement was perfectly entitled to convey it for the election period to a reliable nominee, who could then vote, it was possible to purchase the majority of the burgages and thereby the absolute power to nominate the members of Parliament. Most of the burgage boroughs became pocket boroughs in this way. The practice was abolished by the Great Reform Act 1832 which applied a uniform franchise to all boroughs.

ee also

*Burgage plot


* [http://the-orb.net/encyclop/culture/towns/glossary.html Medieval English Towns - Glossary]
*The Local Historian's Encyclopedia by John Richardson - ISBN 0-9503656-7-X

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  • Burgage — Burg age, n. [From {Burg}: cf. F. bourgage, LL. burgagium.] (Eng. Law) A tenure by which houses or lands are held of the king or other lord of a borough or city; at a certain yearly rent, or by services relating to trade or handicraft. Burrill.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • burgage — [bʉr′gij] n. [ME < OFr bourgage < ML burgagium < LL burgus, castle, fortress < Gmc * burgs: see BOROUGH] a former system of land or property tenure in towns, specif., in England, from an overlord for a yearly rental and, in Scotland,… …   English World dictionary

  • burgage — /berr gij/, n. Law. 1. (in England) a tenure whereby burgesses or townspeople held lands or tenements of the king or other lord, usually for a fixed money rent. 2. (in Scotland) tenure directly from the crown of property in royal burghs in return …   Universalium

  • Burgage — ♦ A unit of property in a borough, generally comprising a house but not much appurtenant land, held for a money rent and according to the more or less standard rules of burgage tenure. (Reynolds, Susan. An Introduction to the History of English… …   Medieval glossary

  • burgage — noun Etymology: Middle English, property held by burgage tenure, from Anglo French, from burc, borg town more at bourg Date: 15th century a tenure by which real property in England and Scotland was held under the king or a lord for a yearly rent… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Burgage — Land and buildings in a city or town held in tenure of a lord for service or rent. Sometimes it is known as burgage tenure . The Latin term is burgagium; this was also used of a tenement within a borough. [< OldEngl. burh = borough] Cf.… …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • burgage — bur•gage [[t]ˈbɜr gɪdʒ[/t]] n. law (formerly, in England) tenure of crown or feudal property for a fixed rent or the service of guardianship • Etymology: 1250–1300; ME borgage < AF borgage, burgage; see burgh, age …   From formal English to slang

  • burgage — noun a medieval tenure in socage under which property in England and Scotland was held under the king or a lord of a town, and was maintained for a yearly rent or for rendering an inferior service (not knights service) such as watching and… …   Wiktionary

  • burgage — [ bə:gɪdʒ] noun historical (in England and Scotland) tenure of land in a town held in return for service or annual rent. Origin ME: from med. L. burgagium, from burgus fortified town , of Gmc origin …   English new terms dictionary

  • burgage — bur·gage …   English syllables

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