Aberdeen’s medieval burgh records recognised by UNESCO

Aberdeen City Council CopyrightAn extraordinary collection of burgh records for Aberdeen held by Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives has been recognised by UNESCO.

The first eight volumes of Aberdeen burgh registers, which cover the period 1398 – 1509, will now be included in the UK Register of Important Documentary Heritage, part of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme.

The collection is one of 11 items, selected from the UK’s libraries, archives and museums by the UK Register of Important Documentary Heritage, to represent the outstanding heritage of the United Kingdom.

This is the third group of inscriptions to the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register, an online catalogue created to promote the UK’s documentary heritage across the UK and the world.

Other recipients at this year’s award ceremony included the Domesday Book (The National Archives), the Churchill Archive (Churchill College, University of Cambridge), Earl Haig’s papers (National Library of Scotland) and Alfred Hitchcock’s silent films (British Film Institute National Film Archive).

For the Aberdeen Burgh Records to find themselves in such distinguished company is a testament to their unique status. The 5,238 pages of the first eight volumes represent the earliest and most complete body of surviving records of any Scottish town.

Alongside the Exchequer Rolls and the Register of the Great Seal held by the National Records of Scotland, these records are the only surviving near-continuous record for Scotland in the fifteenth century which give an unrivalled insight into the political and social life of the Scottish medieval town. The depth of detail is unique as the registers include not only the records of the town council, which usually met twice a week, but of the bailie, guildry and head courts.

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