List of constituencies in the Parliament of Scotland at the time of the Union

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List of Constituencies in the Parliament of Scotland at the time of the Union is a list of the constituencies of the Parliament of Scotland (the Estates of Scotland) during the period shortly before the Union between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England. The unicameral Estates of Scotland existed from medieval times until 1707.

The Commissioners for the burghs (the "Third Estate") and shires and stewartries (sometimes called the "Fourth Estate", or classified as a subgroup within the "Second Estate") were elected, but on a very restrictive franchise. Commissioner was the title for ordinary, representative members of the parliament (junior peers were called Lords of Parliament; and senior peers, representatives of the monarch, and certain members of the clergy also sat in parliament).

The Scottish ministers (the Privy Council of Scotland), were not answerable to the Estates of Scotland but to the Scots monarch (which, after the Union of Crowns in 1603, usually meant de facto to the Privy Council of England, which had the opportunity to advise a king or queen resident in London). The Parliament of Scotland was abolished when it merged with the Parliament of England to create the new Parliament of Great Britain, in 1707 under the Acts of Union.

Constituencies[edit]

The representation of the burghs and those of the shires and stewartries, by the time of the Union, consisted of 154 Commissioners elected from 99 constituencies.

An election was not held immediately after the Union because the establishment feared a possible landslide victory for the anti-Union Commissioners. Instead 45 Commissioners were hand-picked to represent the whole country (see Scottish representatives to the first Parliament of Great Britain) as the first MPs from Scotland. 43 of these hand-picked representatives were pro-Union.

From 1708, there were 45 single member constituencies of the Parliament of Great Britain. These constituencies remained unchanged until 1832. All the burghs were grouped into 4- or 5-member districts, apart from Edinburgh. Three pairs of shires were represented in alternate Parliaments.

The names given in the 'Shire or Stewartry' column in the list below were those for the shires and stewartries used in the Parliamentary returns for the Estates of Scotland which met on 6 May 1703, as reported in 1878 (this reporting date is important to note, as the names used are the anglicised ones introduced by the Victorians, and not the names given to the subdivisions of Scotland extant in 1703). In some cases the form of the name is unusual and not consistent with the version commonly accepted. In others the name changed after the Union.

The names used for UK constituencies are those used in The History of Parliament 1754-1790. These may not be exactly the same as those applied in the first half of the 18th century.

Scottish Burghs, Shires and Stewartries[edit]

SP Constituency Shire or Stewartry Commissioners Constituency after the union
Aberdeen Aberdeenshire 1 Part of Aberdeen Burghs
Aberdeenshire Aberdeenshire 4 Aberdeenshire
Annan Dumfries & Annandale 1 Part of Dumfries Burghs
Anstruther Easter Fifeshire 1 Part of Anstruther Easter Burghs
Anstruther Wester Fifeshire 1 Part of Anstruther Easter Burghs
Arbroath Forfarshire 1 Part of Aberdeen Burghs
Argyllshire Argyllshire 3 Argyllshire
Ayr Ayrshire 1 Part of Ayr Burghs
Ayrshire Ayrshire 3 Ayrshire
Banff Banffshire 1 Part of Elgin Burghs
Banffshire Banffshire 2 Banffshire
Berwickshire Berwickshire 4 Berwickshire
Brechin Forfarshire 1 Part of Aberdeen Burghs
Burntisland Fifeshire 1 Part of Dysart Burghs
Buteshire Buteshire 2 Buteshire
Caithness-shire Caithness-shire 2 Caithness
Campbeltown Argyllshire 1 Part of Ayr Burghs
Clackmannanshire Clackmannanshire 1 Clackmannanshire
Crail Fifeshire 1 Part of Anstruther Easter Burghs
Cromartyshire Cromartyshire 2 Cromartyshire
Cullen Banffshire 1 Part of Elgin Burghs
Culross Perthshire 1 Part of Stirling Burghs
Cupar Fifeshire 1 Part of Perth Burghs
Dingwall Ross-shire 1 Part of Tain Burghs
Dornoch Sutherlandshire 1 Part of Tain Burghs
Dumbarton Dunbartonshire 1 Part of Glasgow Burghs
Dumfries Dumfries & Annandale 1 Part of Dumfries Burghs
Dumfries & Annandale Dumfries & Annandale 4 Dumfriesshire
Dunbar Haddingtonshire 1 Part of Haddington Burghs
Dunbartonshire Dunbartonshire 2 Dunbartonshire
Dundee Forfarshire 1 Part of Perth Burghs
Dunfermline Fifeshire 1 Part of Stirling Burghs
Dysart Fifeshire 1 Part of Dysart Burghs
Edinburgh Edinburghshire 2 Edinburgh
Edinburghshire Edinburghshire 4 Edinburghshire
Elgin Elgin & Forresshire 1 Part of Elgin Burghs
Elgin & Forresshire Elgin & Forresshire 2 Elginshire
Fifeshire Fifeshire 4 Fifeshire
Forfar Forfarshire 1 Part of Perth Burghs
Forfarshire Forfarshire 4 Forfarshire
Forres Elgin & Forresshire 1 Part of Inverness Burghs
Fortrose Ross-shire 1 Part of Inverness Burghs
Glasgow Lanarkshire 1 Part of Glasgow Burghs
Haddington Haddingtonshire 1 Part of Haddington Burghs
Haddingtonshire Haddingtonshire 4 Haddingtonshire
Inverbervie Kincardineshire 1 Part of Aberdeen Burghs
Inveraray Argyllshire 1 Part of Ayr Burghs
Inverkeithing Fifeshire 1 Part of Stirling Burghs
Inverness Inverness-shire 1 Part of Inverness Burghs
Inverness-shire Inverness-shire 2 Inverness-shire
Inverurie Aberdeenshire 1 Part of Elgin Burghs
Irvine Ayrshire 1 Part of Ayr Burghs
Jedburgh Roxburghshire 1 Part of Haddington Burghs
Kilrenny Fifeshire 1 Part of Anstruther Easter Burghs
Kincardineshire Kincardineshire 2 Kincardineshire
Kinghorn Fifeshire 1 Part of Dysart Burghs
Kinross-shire Kinross-shire 1 Kinross-shire
Kintore Aberdeenshire 1 Part of Elgin Burghs
Kirkcaldy Fifeshire 1 Part of Dysart Burghs
Kirkcudbright Burgh Stewartry of Kirkcudbright 1 Part of Dumfries Burghs
Kirkcudbright Stewartry Stewartry of Kirkcudbright 2 Kirkcudbright Stewartry
Kirkwall Orkney 1 Part of Tain Burghs
Lanark Lanarkshire 1 Part of Linlithgow Burghs
Lanarkshire Lanarkshire 4 Lanarkshire
Lauder Berwickshire 1 Part of Haddington Burghs
Linlithgow Linlithgowshire 1 Part of Linlithgow Burghs
Linlithgowshire Linlithgowshire 2 Linlithgowshire
Lochmaben Dumfries & Annandale 1 Part of Dumfries Burghs
Montrose Forfarshire 1 Part of Aberdeen Burghs
Nairn Nairnshire 1 Part of Inverness Burghs
Nairnshire Nairnshire 2 Nairnshire
New Galloway Stewartry of Kirkcudbright 1 Part of Wigtown Burghs
North Berwick Haddingtonshire 1 Part of Haddington Burghs
Orkney & Zetland Orkney & Zetland 2 Orkney & Shetland
Peebles Peeblesshire 1 Part of Linlithgow Burghs
Peeblesshire Peeblesshire 2 Peeblesshire
Perth Perthshire 1 Part of Perth Burghs
Perthshire Perthshire 4 Perthshire
Pittenweem Fifeshire 1 Part of Anstruther Easter Burghs
Queensferry Linlithgowshire 1 Part of Stirling Burghs
Renfrew Renfrewshire 1 Part of Glasgow Burghs
Renfrewshire Renfrewshire 3 Renfrewshire
Ross-shire Ross-shire 2 Ross-shire
Rothesay Buteshire 1 Part of Ayr Burghs
Roxburghshire Roxburghshire 4 Roxburghshire
Rutherglen Lanarkshire 1 Part of Glasgow Burghs
St Andrews Fifeshire 1 Part of Perth Burghs
Sanquhar Dumfries & Annandale 1 Part of Dumfries Burghs
Selkirk Selkirkshire 1 Part of Linlithgow Burghs
Selkirkshire Selkirkshire 2 Selkirkshire
Stirling Stirlingshire 1 Part of Stirling Burghs
Stirlingshire Stirlingshire 3 Stirlingshire
Stranraer Wigtownshire 1 Part of Wigtown Burghs
Sutherlandshire Sutherlandshire 1 Sutherland
Tain Ross-shire 1 Part of Tain Burghs
Whithorn Wigtownshire 1 Part of Wigtown Burghs
Wick Caithness-shire 1 Part of Tain Burghs
Wigtown Wigtownshire 1 Part of Wigtown Burghs
Wigtownshire Wigtownshire 2 Wigtownshire

Analysis of Scottish constituencies, 1703 and 1708[edit]

Key to categories in the following tables: BC - Burgh constituencies, SC - Shire and Stewartry constituencies, Total C - Total constituencies, BMP - Burgh Members of Parliament, SMP - Shire and Stewartry Members of Parliament.

Table 1: Constituencies and MPs, by type of constituency

Year BC SC Total C BMP SMP Total MPs
1703 66 33 99 67 87 154
1708 15 30 45 15 30 45

Table 1: Constituencies and MPs, by type and number of seats

Year BCx1 BCx2 SCx1 SCx2 SCx3 SCx4 Total C Total MPs
1703 65 1 3 16 4 10 99 154
1708 15 0 30 0 0 0 45 45

References[edit]

  • Return of the name of every member of the lower house of Parliament of England, Scotland and Ireland, with names of constituency represented, and dates of return from 1213 to 1874 H.C. 1878
  • History of Parliament: House of Commons 1754-1790, by Sir Lewis Namier and John Brooke (Sidgwick & Jackson 1964)

See also[edit]