The surname of BURWICK was from the Old Barony of Borthwick along Borthwick water in the parish of Roberton, Roxburghshire. A family of this name held Borthwick Castle since the 14th century. The place name come from the Old English BORDWIC, literally meaning the outlaying village or dairy farm. Quondam Thomas de Borthwic is mentioned in a document of his son William de Borthwic, regarding the lands of Middleton in Midlothian in 1368. William de Borthwick was owner of the lands of Catcune in Midlothian to which he gave the name Borthwick in 1378. George de Borthwike was documented as the archdeacon of Glasgow in 1423. The surname was common in Edinburgh in the 16th and 17th centuries. The first people in Scotland to acquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial. Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification.
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