TITLE'S ANCIENT ROOTS
THE ancient privilege of hereditary freedom stretches back to the Middle Ages and the body known as the burgesses of Swansea.
The burgesses enjoyed special rights compared to others living in the town, such as the right to vote at parliamentary elections and the right to stand for public office in the borough.
The burgesses wished to see the number enjoying these rights and privileges kept as low as possible, and so protected them by carefully controlling admission to their body, mostly by passing the rights only to their sons and sons-in-law.
All rights and privileges associated with the burgess body were removed under legislation in 1835, but the custom of enrolling hereditary freemen - as they came to be called - has continued to the present day, as in many other ancient boroughs in England and Wales.
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Being a hereditary freeman of Swansea nowadays carries no rights and privileges with it, beyond the personal satisfaction of having a certificate and your name in a register of freemen dating back to 1790 alongside those of your ancestors.