Keys to the Past

Glossary

Borough

The term borough originally applies referred to a fortified town. However, the name came to indicate a town governed by a corporation of its citizens and which had special rights, such as permission to have fairs and markets, given to it by charter This gave such borough towns considerable importance and they were eventually allowed their own Members of Parliament (MPs). The first MPs in 1295AD for Northumberland were sent from Bamburgh, Corbridge and Newcastle.
By 1832AD, some Medieval boroughs had been lost to the sea or declined substantially in population. However, despite the loss of importance they continued to send Post-Medieval MPs to London - whilst other newer and often large places developed as part of the Industrial Revolution could not. These boroughs were called 'rotten boroughs'.

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