Today marks the 813th anniversary of the creation of the Royal Burgh of Ayr. Evidence of this milestone is contained in the Ayr royal burgh charter (B6/30/1), held by Ayrshire Archives.
Burghs were created in Scotland for trading, legal and administrative purposes. Although there were several types of burghs, the signing of a royal charter by the crown established Ayr as a royal burgh on 21 May 1205. Granted by King William the Lion, the charter provided trading privileges and established a weekly market day allowing burgesses who were merchants and craftsmen holding land within the burgh, to trade free from tolls. The royal charter also founded a burgh court composed of a provost, bailies, treasurer and dean of guild. This charter is one of the oldest of it’s kind, providing important historical evidence of the creation of the Royal Burgh of Ayr.
Charters were highly important in confirming the trading and legal privileges to burghs granted by monarchs. Seals were often attached to verify these rights, although not all seals have survived to the present day. Charters are one of the many types of burgh records which are held in archives across Scotland today.