Jon has picked this one up from several sources, noting, “One of those funny words in folk songs ‘Rigs’. The most sensible (and I guess obvious) suggestion is it relates to ‘rigging’ i.e. the sort of bare skeleton. So The Rigs Of The Time would mean the bare truth of what is going on, whilst The Rigs Of London Town would mean the deep, dark workings of the city that is in some way the real London.” The literal dictionary definition that fits here is ‘To fix fraudulently,’ that must come from he sense of pulling the strings, although there’s also the sense of ‘rigging out’ or to ‘to fit’ usually followed by ‘out’, but in this case with ‘up’, as in ’stitch up’ as well. Anyway, this fine tune is of course on Bellowhead’s Burlesque and Mainly Norfolk has an excellent page noting other versions, recordings and a couple of updates. The latter of those from Maddy Prior particularly surprised me I must say, as I simply didn’t think that she did that. Still her explanation for doing so is modest and her verses sharp as you like. I was thinking that these are unlikely to be the only rewrites, when I came upon this Wiki page linking it to a Newfoundland song, Hard, Hard Times, although the lyrics given here more share the sentiment than actually follow the original. But..! Then on Mudcat, trying to find the origins (1829 seems earliest) I also found a post linking to this article. This is another where I’ve skimmed rather than read the detail, with the honest intent to return later, but the interest here is on page 8 in the section headed Ballads. The Mudcat thread itself contains some notable additional or different verses. Regrettably, this is one of those songs that will probably, with very good cause, continue to evolve. New times simply get new rigs.