Definition of burgage in US English:



  • 1(in England and Scotland) tenure of land in a town held in return for service or annual rent.

    • ‘Every holder of burgage lands must perform suit for them at the four General Courts.’
    • ‘It has been the practice in Ipswich from antiquity that no tenant of tenements in the town held by free burgage do homage or fealty for them to the property's chief lord.’
    • ‘In the 12th cent. burgage tenure came to be seen as the normal characteristic of an English borough: each burgess held a burgage, usually a house with little other land, for a money rent.’
    • ‘In parliamentary boroughs the franchise had always varied but there were four main groups - corporation, freeman, burgage, and inhabitant householder.’
    1. 1.1 A house or other property held by burgage tenure.
      • ‘This plan, if it ever existed, has been very much obscured by burgages facing Magdalene Street.’
      • ‘If any man wishes to sell any burgage property, the sale must be announced at the next court when, if any of his kinsman wishes to buy the property, he may do so at a lower price than anyone else.’
      • ‘The grant of a borough charter might formalise the urban status of such communities, the town-plan evolving to assume a more economically inspired layout through the planning of a regulated street network, burgage plots and defences.’
      • ‘This traffic had the effect of multiplying burgages and therefore votes in the Pembroke interest.’
      • ‘Bruce Jones, Cumbria's former County Archivist, has found documentary evidence of turf roofs in the lease of a four room burgage in Scotch Street, Carlisle, dated 1589, although the lease also mentions slates.’
      • ‘The hamlet of Oldfield, lying between Ordsall and the town of Salford, was his, with twenty burgages and 30 acres of land.’
      • ‘For a modest rent, the holders of these burgages, the burgesses, became free men, and were released from any feudal services to an overlord.’
      • ‘The area is roughly a quarter of an acre, which seems to have been a common size for burgages in many parts of the country.’
      • ‘Some of the peripheral burgages were never settled, e.g. parts of Linney where the land was liable to flooding; but as a whole the planned town was a success.’
      • ‘Traces of these burgages and the medieval layout can still be seen.’
      • ‘Towns did have suburban burgages, of course.’
      • ‘This survey lists 170 burgages and 7 tenements, compared with the 160 ¾ burgages in the Red Book.’
      • ‘By the 14th century, the original burgages had become divided, and election as a ‘freeman’ was now more important than being a burgage-holder.’
      • ‘The Portmanmoot, as it was known, held major sessions every second Thursday to hear pleas of the crown, pleas initiated by royal writ, and pleas relating to burgage tenements.’
      • ‘The Skipton burgages, by now Clitheroe School land, are well seen on a recently rediscovered map of 1757 in the Skipton Castle Papers.’
      • ‘Warkworth was promoted as a borough in the C12, and long but narrow burgage plots line the main street.’
      • ‘As the plans stand, the historic burgages will be bulldozed to make way for the cinema and a restaurant.’
      • ‘Cottages and cabins, the dwellings of the cottiers and tenants, were interspersed among the burgages.’
      • ‘In several instances, the holdings are described as messuages or burgages only, no land being mentioned.’
      • ‘What then, could be the nature of the relationship between these burgages and the block to the south, which may cause this re-orientation?’
      • ‘No ye that we have granted to all who have taken burgages at Liverpul that they shall have all liberties and free customs which any free borough on the sea has in our land.’


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin burgagium, from late Latin burgus ‘fortified town’.