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Glasgow City Council

Freedom of the City

What is it?

The Freedom of the City is the greatest tribute of respect that is in the power of the municipality to offer any person and is conferred by the Lord Provost of Glasgow.


Who has the Freedom of the City?

The Freedom of the City, as bestowed on Sir Samuel Curran, Nelson Mandela, Benno Schotz, Jim Watt, Harry McShane, Kenneth Mathieson Dalglish, The Very Rev George Fielden MacLeod, Sir Alex Ferguson, Rt Hon The Lord MacFarlane, Aung San Suu Kyi and Billy Connolly, is awarded by the council to "persons of distinction or persons who have rendered eminent service to the City". It is, in effect, a civic honour and represents the highest award that it is in the power of the City to bestow - it confers no rights or privileges of any kind on the recipients.

Freemen and Burgesses have the same rights and privileges. These rights are chiefly in connection with trading.

Historically Freemen and Burgesses have full rights to trade within the Burgh, specifically on market days. Freemen do not have to associate with un-Freemen. They have the right to graze their cows on the common land (Glasgow Green); the right to fishing on the Clyde; the duty to patrol and guard the town (watch and ward); the duty to defend the town by arms - if they do not perform this duty they could be prosecuted for perjury of their oath, but if they were to be prosecuted they have a right to a prison cell of their own, that is without un-Freemen in it. They have the duty to pay the equivalent of today's valuation tax and the right to be present at all court hearings.

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