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Scottish Tolbooths

Most Scottish burghs had tolbooths. These functioned as the collection point for market tolls, as the repository of the market weights, as the town jail and as the home of the burgh council. Many tolbooths were located close to the Mercat Cross ( market cross. ) Tolbooths were important buildings and featured prominently on the townscape, as befitted a building which also functioned as the meeting place for the sheriff court.

For many East Coast Scottish towns, being part of Europe was an everyday reality - a fact given architectural form in the Dutch-influenced designs of the tolbooths of Crail, Culross and Dunbar, the Kirk tower of Anstruther Wester, or the wealthy merchants' houses of George Bruce at Culross or James Dick at Prestonfield in Edinburgh. There are signs of the great wealth accumulated at this time all over Scotland’s East Coast.

The trade in goods complemented the trade in ideas encouraged during the Renaissance period, and ensured that Scotland kept abreast of the latest developments in a rapidly evolving and increasingly cosmopolitan Europe.

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