Burgage plot patterns and dimensions in four Scottish burghs
2006, Early Medieval, Late Norse, Medieval
A comparison is reported of cartographic studies that have been made of the burgage plots in Edinburgh, Canongate, St Andrews and Perth. The results confirm and extend those of earlier studies of St Andrews and Perth. In particular, the presence of plots differing in width by quarter-widths is confirmed. The earlier reports of some plots not complying with this scheme are discussed, and it is demonstrated that the plot widths in the four burghs all do in fact conform. It is suggested that the plots were set out to these varying widths rather than the pattern resulting form later subdivision and amalgamation of plots of uniform width. Possible measurement units which may have been used in setting out the plots are discussed. A systematic pattern of the closes used to access the backlands is reported and it is suggested that a degree of central control is likely to have been exercised over their positioning.