Market towns often grew up close to fortified places, such as castles, in order to enjoy their protection. They tended to be located where transport was easiest: for example, at a crossroads or close to a river ford.
The most obvious feature of the traditional market town is a very wide main street or market place, with room for stalls and booths to be set up on market days. A market cross often stood in the centre of the town, as a way of obtaining God's blessing on the trade. The best remaining examples of market crosses in England are at Chichester and Malmesbury. There would often be a market hall, with administrative quarters at first floor level, above the covered market.