Meaning and Origin of: Burgess

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First name origins & meanings:

  • Old English : Free citizen; shopkeeper

First name variations

Last name origin & meaning:

  • English and Scottish : status name from Middle English burge(i)s, Old French burgeis ‘inhabitant and (usually) freeman of a (fortified) town’ (see Burke), especially one with municipal rights and duties. Burgesses generally had tenure of land or buildings from a landlord by burgage. In medieval England burgage involved the payment of a fixed money rent (as opposed to payment in kind); in Scotland it involved payment in service, guarding the town. The -eis ending is from Latin -ensis (modern English -ese as in Portuguese). Compare Burger.
  • Thomas Burgess came from England to MA in about 1630 and eventually settled in Sandwich, MA.