Person NameBerwickshire; Burgh of Duns; 1489-1975; Berwickshire
ActivityDuns' origins can be traced to the 12th century and the reign of King William the Lion. The lands of Dunse were given to Randolph, Earl of Moray, by King Robert the Bruce, and he built Dunse Castle in 1320. It was created a burgh of barony by King James IV in 1489 in favour of George Hume of Aytoun. 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 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. Greenlaw was the county town of Berwickshire from 1596 until 1661 when it was replaced by Dunse through an Act of Parliament, but its new status was short lived as a further Act of Parliament in 1696 returned Greenlaw as the County Town. The population in 1700 was 1,200. Despite a lot of local discussion, Duns did not regain the title until 1903. Duns was created a police burgh in 1873 under the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act 1862 (25 & 26 Vict, c 101). Burgh administration was carried out by police commissioners who were responsible for the cleansing, lighting, policing and public health of the burgh. The main industries in the town were plough-making , bleaching, paper, weaving and its market, and later, tourism. Under the Town Councils (Scotland) Act 1900 (63 & 64 Vict, c 49) the police commissioners were replaced by Duns Town Council in January 1901. In 1951 the population was 2028, and in 2001 the population remained steady at 2,400. Duns Town Council was abolished in 1975 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 (c 65). Its powers were assumed by Borders Regional Council and Berwickshire District Council. These in turn were replaced by Borders Council in 1996 under the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994 (c 39).
Corporate NameBurgh of Duns
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