BOROUGH, n. bur'ro. [L.parcus, saving.] Originally, a fortified city or town; hence a hill, for hills were selected for places of defense. But in later times, the term city was substituted to denote an episcopal town, in which was the see of a bishop, and that of borough was retained for the rest. At present, the name is given appropriately to such towns and villages as send representatives or burgesses to Parliament. Some boroughs are incorporated, other are not.
BOROUGH, n. bur'ro. In Saxon times, a main pledge, or association of men, who were sureties or free pledges to the king for the good behavior of each other, and if any offense was committed in their district, they were bound to have the offender forthcoming. The association of ten men was called a tithing, or decenary; the presiding man was called the tithing man, or head-borough; or in some places, borsholder, borough's elder. This society was called also friburg, free burg, frank pledge. Ten tithings formed a hundred, consisting of that number of sureties, and this denomination is still given to the districts, comprehended in the association. The term seems to have been used both for the society and for each surety. The word main, hand, which is attached to this society, or their mutual assurance, indicates that the agreement was ratified by shaking hands.
Some writers have suggested that the application of this word to towns sprung from these associations, and of course was posterior to them in time. But the word was used for a town or castle in other nations, and in Asia, doubtless long before the origin of the frank pledge.
In Connecticut, this word, borough, is used for a town or a part of a town, or a village, incorporated with certain privileges, distinct from those of other towns and of cities; as the Borough of Bridgeport.
In Scotland, a borough is a body corporate, consisting of the inhabitants of a certain district,erected by the Sovereign, with a certain jurisdiction.
Boroughs are erected to be held of the sovereign, as is generally the case of royal boroughs; or of the superior of the lands included, as in the case of boroughs of regality and barony. Royal boroughs are generally erected for the advantage of trade.
Boroughs English, is a customary descent of lands and tenements to the youngest son, instead of the eldest; or if the owner leaves no son, to the youngest brother.
Borough English,is a customary descent of lands and tenements to the youngest son, instead of the eldest; or if the owner leaves no son, to the youngest brother.
Borough-head, the same as head-borough, the chief of a borough.