Compared with many parts of Europe urban development came late to Scotland. Nevertheless, the foundation and growth of towns in medieval Scotland shared the same basic features of the urban revival that occurred throughout Europe. Burghs, often associated with royal castles and possessing administrative as well as trading functions, were yet another instrument by which Scottish kings from David I onwards consolidated and extended their control. Because it developed later the Scottish urban hierarchy was still evolving in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, long after the English urban system had achieved a measure of stability. Nevertheless, by the fifteenth century Scotland’s towns had developed distinctive features, particularly regarding their monopolies, patterns of trade, organisation and socioeconomic structure.