Record

CodeNA10134
Dates1511-1975
Person NameBurgh of Hawick; 1511-1975
ActivityHawick, in the parish of Hawick and county of Roxburgh, was erected a burgh of barony in favour of the Douglas lairds of Drumlanrig by James IV in 1511. In 1537 Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig granted a charter to the inhabitants of Hawick which was confirmed by Queen Mary in 1545. At this time the town was governed by two bailies and thirty-one councillors. In 1669, by which time the superiority had passed to the dukes of Buccleuch, Hawick was made a burgh of regality. A burgh of barony was presided over by a feudal superior who had authority from the Crown to administer justice and to hold barony courts dealing with crimes and matters of good neighbourhood until 1747 and thereafter solely matters of good neighbourhood. A royal burgh, on the other hand, holds its charter direct from the crown. They were heavily taxed but were granted various privileges: burgage tenure, representation in parliament, and commercial privileges, especially in foreign trade.

Hawick became a police burgh in 1845 in when it adopted the provisions of the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act 1833 (3 & 4 Will. IV c. 46). This arrangement left the existing, self-electing baronial town council in place, but placed some powers in the hands of a body of thirteen comissioners of police, ten of whom were to be voted in by the electorate. The Hawick Municipal Police and Improvement Act 1861 (24 & 25 Vict. ch. clxxvi), which effectively brought about the burgh's adoption of the Police of Towns (Scotland) Act 1850 (13 & 14 Vict., c.33), replaced this hybrid administration with a new fifteen-strong town council, the members of which served also as police commissioners. It was as police commissioners that the councillors were responsible for cleansing, lighting, policing and public health in the burgh. This earlier legislation meant that Hawick made only minor amendments to its administration when, in 1868, it adopted the few applicable parts of the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act 1862 (25 & 26 Vict, c 101). In 1867 the town had become a parliamentary burgh, uniting with Galashiels and Selkirk to return one MP. Under the Town Councils (Scotland) Act 1900 (63 & 64 Vict, c 49) the police commissioners were replaced by Hawick Town Council in January 1901. From 1930 Hawick was classed as a small burgh in conformity with the terms of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929 (19 & 20 Geo. V, c.25). It remained so until 1975, when its town council was abolished under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 (c 65). Its powers were assumed by Borders Regional Council and Roxburgh District Council. These in turn were replaced by Scottish Borders Council in 1996 under the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994 (c 39).

The main industries in the town were linen, woollens, hosiery and carpets. It experienced a rapid period of growth in the mid 19th century and by 1891 the population was 19,000. The town remains famous for its textile industry, in particular cashmere. When the last census before the abolition of the town council was taken in 1971, Hawick had a population of 16,286. In 2001 the population within the bounds of the former burgh stood at around 15,800.
Corporate NameBurgh of Hawick
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