Person NameBerwickshire; Royal Burgh of Lauder; 1502-1975; Berwickshire
ActivityLauder, in the parish of Lauder, Berwickshire, has variously been said to have been created a royal burgh in the reign of William the Lion, that it was given its charter from Edward I of England in 1298, and that it acquired burgh status from Robert I when he granted Lauderdale to Sir James Douglas in 1324. Whether it was in origin a royal burgh or a burgh of barony, it seems likely that Lauder came into the crown's possession after the Douglas forfeiture of 1455 and that it was then retained by the crown, given that its earliest extant charter is that of 1502, whereby James IV erected the town a royal burgh. Royal burghs were urban franchises set up for the mutual benefit of crown and merchants, created by royal charter and held directly of the crown; although heavily taxed they were granted various privileges: burgage tenure, representation in parliament and commercial privileges, especially in foreign trade.

Lauder retained this status and went on to become a police burgh in 1864 under the terms of the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act 1862 (25 & 26 Vict, c 101). Burgh administration was carried out by the town council of 2 baillies and 7 councillors, serving also as police commissioners who were responsible for the cleansing, lighting, policing and public health of the burgh. Under the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act 1892 (55 & 56 Vict., c.55) Lauder's commissioners of police were nine in number, amongst them a provost and two bailies. The Town Councils (Scotland) Act 1900 (63 & 64 Vict, c 49) abolished the police commissioners and replaced them with Lauder Town Council in January 1901. From 1930 until 1975 Lauder was a small burgh as defined by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929 (19 & 20 Geo. V, c.25). Lauder Town Council was abolished in 1975 in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 (c 65). Its powers were assumed by Borders Regional Council and Roxburgh District Councils. These in turn were replaced by Scottish Borders Council in 1996 under the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994 (c 39).

For its parliamentary representation Lauder united with Haddington, Jedburgh, Dunbar and North Berwick to return one MP in the 19th century. The main industries in the town were agriculture and sheep farming . In 1841 the population was 2,198. From 1901-1958 a light railway ran to Edinburgh but the town declined as a centre and by 1971 the population had dropped to 604. The Regional Council established an industrial estate to compensate for the decline in agricultural work and by 1991 the population had increased to 1,064.
Corporate NameRoyal Burgh of Lauder
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