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The Inheritance
Reform to 1850
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The Reform Act - Reform to 1850

The Burghs had different rules about who should get the vote to the Counties. It was easier to get the vote in the burghs.


In 1832:

  • Male tenants or owners, of property with an annual rental value of £10 or more, got the vote
  • 2,024 men qualified to vote in Aberdeen
  • Most of the new electors were middle class or shopkeepers
  • There were hardly any working class electors
  • Aberdeen, which included Old Aberdeen and Woodside, became a constituency on its own. It was no longer part of the Montrose burghs
  • Inverbervie remained part of the Montrose Burghs, along with Brechin and Forfar
  • Peterhead became a parliamentary burgh for the first time. It was added to the Elgin Burghs
  • MacDuff was included in the parliamentary boundary of Banff (another Elgin Burgh)

The parliament elected in 1832 passed legislation to reform the Royal Burghs. These changes:

  • Introduced elections in 1833
  • Removed un-elected councillors


There was no radical change in the counties.

  • It was more difficult to qualify for the vote in the countryside than in the burghs
  • Small tenant farmers did not qualify to vote
  • Tenants with the vote had to vote for the candidate that the laird supported
  • There was no threat to the traditional rule of the landlords

As there was no reform of county government, un-elected Commissioners of Supply (rich landowners), remained in control until 1889.

Reform to 1850 >>

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