Burghs and Burgesses
Burgesses were merchants or craftsmen who owned property in burghs and were allowed to trade in burghs free of charge. They could obtain these rights by inheritance, by marriage, by purchase, or by the gift of a burgh.
Burghs were essentially urban settlements which enjoyed trading privileges from medieval times until 1832, and which regulated their own affairs to a greater or lesser extent until the abolition of Scottish burghs in 1975.
By 1707 three types of burgh existed: royal burghs, burghs of regality and burghs of barony. Burghs produced characteristic forms of historical record, such as court books, guild records, and registers of deeds.
John Whyte’s Burgess Ticket, 1852
ROLE IN THE FORFAR COMMUNITY
Forfar Burgesses (See Histories of Scotland & Royal Burgh of Forfar for more on the position of a Burgess).
Most senior male members of the family were probably awarded Burgess ‘tickets’. The Burgess Roll was very loosely kept, and available lists today are extremely incomplete, with many entries lost. The following Whytes have been identified as Burgess’s from various family records.
1637 William Quhyt Skinner/Glover Forfar
1664/1700 David Whyt Shoemaker
1745/49 Thomas Whyte Shoemaker
1773 Robert Whyte Shoemaker Forfar (son of Thomas Whyte)
1776 John Whyte Shoemaker Forfar (son of Thomas Whyte)
1779 Thomas Whyte Dyer Forfar (son of Thomas Whyte)
1779 Patrick Whyte Glover Forfar (son of Thomas Whyte)
1803 William Whyte
1816 Patrick Whyte son of Baillie Patrick Whyte
1816 William Whyte son of Baillie Patrick Whyte
1820 David Whyte son of Baillie Patrick Whyte
1830 Thomas Whyte son of Baillie Patrick Whyte
1852 John Whyte son of William Whyte - Writer & Banker
Burgess members of the family have played various roles in the Forfar Town Council over the years. However, all the old town papers and records were destroyed in 1745. The following list has been built from other sources, and is certainly very incomplete. Arguments about land ownership also caused many rifts between families and the Town Council.
1664 - David Whyt (Quhyt, Quheit) Quartermaster
1667 - David Whyt (Quhyt, Quheit) Councilor
1668- 1690 David Whyt (Quhyt, Quheit) Tax Collector (Stentmaster)
1670 - David Whyt (Quhyt, Quheit) Treasurer
1682-1700 David Whyt (Quhyt, Quheit) Trade Deacon
1689 - David Whyt (Quhyt, Quheit) Baillie
1703-1716 Thomas Whyt (Elder) Trade Deacon
1726-1727 Thomas Whyt (Younger) Trade Deacon
1736-1740 John Whyte Trade Deacon
1754-1755 Thomas Whyte Trade Deacon
1773 - Robert Whyte Baillie
1790 Robert Whyte Trade Deacon
c1815 - Robert Whyte Baillie
1825 - Patrick Whyte Baillie
1800’s John Whyte Councilor (31yrs)
1866 John Whyte Lord Provost
1869 John Whyte Lord Provost
1872 John Whyte Lord Provost
1874 John Whyte Lord Provost
1880-81 John Whyte Lord Provost
Late 1800’s Robert Whyte Procurator Fiscal (Forfar)
St John’s Episcopalian Church
Many of the Whyte family were Scottish Episcopalians. It is not known if they were loyal during the latter Reformation period, when Episcopalians could not worship as such, nor hold local office (e.g. Town Council). However this is possible and with all the problems that this would have brought them.
William Whyte and his sons Robert Whyte & John Adam Whyte were all Secretary of the Vestry (lay manager) in continuous succession for almost 100 years. The Whyte family was a subscriber in 1880 to the fund for the new Forfar Episcopalian Church.
The three Whyte-Shaw
stained glass windows in
the church are in memory
of William Whyte (died 1
849) and Margaret Adam/
Whyte (died 1893), paid
for by their daughters
Elizabeth Whyte and
Forfarshire and Forfar were long been known for their Royalist support through the ages. They made a significant contribution to the Jacobite causes of 1715 and 1745, with the local Earl of Panmure and Earl of Airlie raising large local Jacobite armies on both occasions. However by 1745 local support may have waned. After the defeats, the Hanovarian forces hunted-down, tried, imprisoned or had transported to the colonies many men from Angus and Forfar. The Whyte family was clearly a part of these events , particularly as Escopalians and it probably accounts for the confusion and gaps at that time in the Whyte History by Generation - particularly Thomas Whyt (1708-1760) whose life up to the age of 40 is a complete mystery.