By the charters of 1664 and 1674 the corporation was given the title of mayor, aldermen and burgesses.
In 1254 it received a charter from William II., count of Holland, similar to that of Haarlem, but in the 15th century duke Philip the Good of Burgundy made the impoverishment of the town, due to ill-government, the excuse for establishing an oligarchical regime, by charters of 1436 and 1437.
Later charters were given by Henry II., by John in 1204 (who also granted an annual fair of three days' duration, 29th of October, at the feast of St Modwen, and a weekly market on Thursday), by Henry III.
Later charters were granted by various sovereigns, and it was incorporated by Elizabeth in 1598 under the style of a mayor, 6 brethren and 12 capital burgesses.
The office, Mark Napier states, is repeatedly mentioned in the family charters as appertaining to the "pultre landis" near the village of Dene in the shire of Linlithgow.