Freedom of the City of Aberdeen

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The Freedom of the City of Aberdeen is an honour bestowed by the city of Aberdeen, Scotland.


The Freedom of the City of Aberdeen has its origins in the 12th century, through the city's Burgesses of Guild. Certain respected residents would be granted free entry into the Guild, earning them the title of Free Burgess. Members of the Guild would have special trading rights, such as exemption from tolls, but would also be required to own arms and be prepared to use them in defence of the city.[1]

Today, the Freedom of Aberdeen is a purely symbolic honour, which can be bestowed by Aberdeen City Council under the terms of Section 206 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, Part XI – 'Admission of honorary freemen'. The Act states that:[2]

(1) A local authority may, by resolution passed by not less than two-thirds of the members voting thereon at a meeting of the authority the notice of which specifies the proposed admission as an item of business, admit to be honorary freemen of their area persons of distinction and any persons who have rendered eminent service to their area.

(2) An officer designated for the purpose by local authority shall keep a roll containing the names of persons admitted to be freemen under this section.

Section 207 of the same Act – 'Limitation of rights of freemen' – further states that:[3]

Nothing in this Part of this Act shall—

(a) confer any right of membership or any right or interest in the properties, funds, revenues or privileges of any guild or incorporation of crafts; or

(b) confer any right or interest in any burgess acres or any grazing rights connected therewith, or affect the law or practice existing at the commencement of this Act with reference to the use, enjoyment and administration of any such burgess acres or grazing rights.

List of recipients[edit]

Since the Reform Act, the Freedom of Aberdeen has been conferred on the following persons:[1]


  1. ^ a b "Burgesses of Guild" (PDF). City of Aberdeen. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "Section 206: Admission of honorary freemen". Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.
  3. ^ "Section 207: Limitation of rights of freemen". Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.
  4. ^ "Postscript". The Spectator. F.C. Westley. 21: 870. 9 September 1848. 
  5. ^ "Lord John Russell at Aberdeen". Otago Witness (422). 31 December 1859. p. 7. 
  6. ^ "The Queen's statue in Aberdeen". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 November 1866. p. 6. 
  7. ^ "Sir Arthur Gordon at Aberdeen". The Sydney Morning Herald. 19 November 1878. p. 5. 
  8. ^ Krause, Paul (1992). The Battle for Homestead, 1880-1892: Politics, Culture, and Steel. University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-822-97151-1. 
  9. ^ "Court News". The Times (36545). London. 28 August 1901. p. 7. 
  10. ^ "Lord Strathcona at Aberdeen". The Times (36738). London. 10 April 1902. p. 12. 
  11. ^ "Premier of Canada feted in Aberdeen". The Montreal Gazette. 21 June 1937. p. 12. 
  12. ^ "Churchill fears trouble ahead". The Free Lance-Star. 27 April 1946. p. 1. 
  13. ^ "She Radiates Friendship". Evening Times. 25 May 1959. p. 3. 
  14. ^ "Who's Who". Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  15. ^ "Who's Who". Retrieved 2016-11-27. 
  16. ^ "Freedom of city for Dr. Mary". The Glasgow Herald. 10 October 1981. p. 5. 
  17. ^ "Freedom of Aberdeen for the Mandelas". The Glasgow Herald. 30 November 1984. p. 5. 
  18. ^ "City freedom for pioneering medic". BBC News. 14 August 2004. Archived from the original on 14 March 2013. 
  19. ^ "Highlanders return to their roots". BBC News. 23 June 2006. Archived from the original on 14 March 2013. 
  20. ^ Dow, Bob (21 April 2008). "Legendary Aberdeen comic trio Scotland The What? honoured by city". Daily Record. Archived from the original on 14 March 2013. 
  21. ^