Burghs and marketplaces

King David I organised the people that lived around his castles by creating towns called Royal Burghs.

Find out more about burghs and marketplaces in the video below.

King David's burghs

  • Before King David I, there were no official towns in Scotland.
  • People would often set up houses near castles and they would make and sell things.
  • King David I decided to organise these groups of houses into royal burghs.
  • These burghs often had marketplaces where people could buy and sell things they grew or made.

Click on the slideshow below to find out what people made and sold at burgh markets.

Medieval markets

Man using a lathe at a re-enactment of a medieval fayre


Wood was one of the most common building materials in the Middle Ages. Craftsmen who worked with wood were called "carpenters". They made furniture and other objects from wood and sell them at the market.

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Did you know...

  • The Cowgate in Edinburgh was named after the cattle which were sold at the markets there in 1428.
  • Cows were herded down the street on market days.
  • The word "gate" is a Scots word for "way" or "road".

Medieval homes

Not everyone could live in a big stone castle, the poorer people lived in small huts, made of wattle and daub.

Wattle and daub was woven wooden strips stuck together with wet soil, clay, or maybe even cow poo!

The homes around the castles were made from wattle and daub.