Burghers

(also known as the Associate Synod). Scottish Presbyterian secessionist group. In 1733 the first secession from the Church of Scotland took place over the question of patronage.* Despite efforts by the general assemblies of 1732 and 1736 to effect reconciliation, Ebenezer Erskine* and three others constituted themselves into a presbytery and were joined by his brother Ralph and four others in 1737. In 1740 they were formally deposed by the Church of Scotland, and the secession was made definitive. In 1747 they split into Burghers and Antiburghers (also called the General Associate Synod), who respectively regarded it as lawful or sinful for members to take the oath required of burgesses of certain cities by which they acknowledged the true religion publicly preached within Scotland and authorized by law. In 1799 the Burghers split into Auld Lichts* and New Lichts; the Antiburghers similarly split in 1806. The New Lichts of both groups formed the United Secession Church* in 1820. The Auld Licht Antiburghers joined the Free Church of Scotland in 1852, though a remnant continued as the Original Secession Church. The Auld Licht Burghers reunited with the Church of Scotland in 1839.