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- the long narrow property or burgage plot fronting onto the main street which was the
normal unit of ownership in the Scottish medieval and early modern town. The rigg could be
divided into foreland, innerland and backland, with the main buildings on or near the frontage, and
workshops and gardens behind. Riggs could be divided from their neighbours by wooden fences
or by walls. As a town prospered, the buildings might be extended forward into the street, or into
the backlands. Once the pattern was established, it was almost impossible to change, and is still
visible in many towns today.
The word probably derives from rig (Ridge) as used for the long narrow strips into which open
fields were divided - Corn rigs, barley rigs etc. The open field system before the enclosures and
clearances was known in Scotland as Runrig.