Person NameRoxburghshire; Roxburgh Heritors
ActivityThe body of Heritors for each parish in Scotland had statutory responsibility for the provision and maintenance of a parish church capable of holding two-thirds of the population aged over 12 years, a manse and a glebe of set proportions and a stipend (the money or foodstuffs for the support of the minister), the churchyard and school. The heritors were landowners, and to defray all the expenses heritors were due, assessments were imposed on lands and heritages within the parish in proportion according to their valued or real rent. Burghs were slightly different from landward areas, in that in a burghal church (a parish church wholly within a burgh) the magistrates were the heritors, as they represented the community. It may be stressed that heritors had no spiritual responsibilities for parishioners.The heritors had a shared responsibility with the kirk session for the provision of poor relief, which in some cases the heritors dealt with by making voluntary contributions in preference to formal assessment. The intention of the Poor Law (Scotland) Act 1845 (8 & 9 Vict., c.83) was that the newly-established parochial boards would maintain rolls of paupers for whom they bore responsibility by supplying relief drawn from the assessments they imposed on owners and occupiers of lands. The provisions of the Act were not uniformly adopted immediately, but the heritors’ responsibility for provision of poor relief withered. Schools would need to be maintained or replaced by the heritors, and in addition they taxed themselves in proportion to their landholdings to pay the parochial schoolmaster’s salary (1696, c.26, APS, x.63). The Education (Scotland) Act 1872 (35 & 36 Vict., c.62) transferred the upkeep of schools and provision of education to the newly-established school boards. The obligation on heritors to provide and maintain kirkyards (cemeteries) was not a statutory one, but one which they nevertheless accepted. The kirkyard belonged to the heritors, one of their number often having supplied the land required for it in the first instance. The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1894 (57 & 58 Vict., c.58) permitted heritors to transfer the property of any kirkyard they held to parish councils, but heritors retained for the time being the power, duty and expense of extending kirkyards. The Church of Scotland (Property and Endowments) Act 1925 (15 & 16 Geo. V, c.33), which was designed to prepare for the Union of the Church of Scotland with the United Free Church of Scotland, effectively extinguished the powers and duties of heritors. The Church itself would receive all ecclesiastical properties and endowments, and have responsibility for their maintenance and control. The Act made it clear that once its stipulations had been effected there would no longer be need for heritors to record any further business.
Corporate NameRoxburgh Heritors
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