A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2022.

It has taken much time and money to make the six-volumes of Groome's text freely accessible. Please help us continue and develop by making a donation. If only one out of every ten people who view this page gave £5 or $10, the project would be self-sustaining. Sadly less than one in thirty-thousand contribute, so please give what you can.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry Arrow

Dumbarton, a town and parish of Dumbartonshire. A seaport, a royal and parliamentary burgh, and the capital of the county, the town stands on the left bank of the Leven, ¾ mile above its influx to the Clyde, and at the junction of the Glasgow & Helensburgh and Vale of Leven sections of the North British railway, by water being 4¾ miles E by N of Port Glasgow and 7¼ E of Greenock, by rail 4½ S of Balloch Junction, 34¾ WSW of Stirling, 8¼ ESE of Helensburgh, 16 WNW of Glasgow, and 63¼ W of Edinburgh. Its site is a low flat plain, skirted to the W by an east-south-easterly curve of the Leven, and screened to the E by the Kilpatrick Hills (1313 feet), whilst south-south-eastward, between the town and the Clyde, stands the castle-crowned Rock of Dumbarton. From the crescent-shaped High Street, running 5 furlongs concentric with and near the course of the Leven, Cross Vennel and Church Street strike north-north-eastward to Broadmeadow; and a stone five-arch bridge, 300 feet long, built towards the middle of last century, leads over the Leven to the western suburbs, in Cardross parish, of Bridgend and Dennystoun-the latter founded in 1853, and named in honour of its projector, William Denny. Within and without, Dumbarton, it must be owned, presents an irregular and unattractive appearance, little in keeping with its fine surroundings; and, as seen from the Clyde, it looks a mere aggregate of huddled houses, chequered in front by the timbers of shipyards, and overtopped by more chimneys than steeples- Yet few Scotch towns have made more rapid progress than has

Dumbarton since 1852, in point of dwellers rather than of dwellings, whence overcrowding; but now (1882) Messrs Denny propose to erect a new suburb for 2000 families at the eastern extremity of the town, and at the same time to form a new graving-dock that will take in the largest vessel afloat. Amongst the improvements of the last thirty years are the opening of a large and beautiful cemetery (1854); the embanking of Broadmeadow (1858); the introduction of water from Garshake Reservoir (1859) at a cost of £8500, the present supply exceeding 15,000,000 gallons; the taking over of the gas-works, which date from 1832, by the Corporation (1874); and the adoption of the Free Libraries Act (1881)- The chief want now is a better public park or recreation ground than marshy Broadmeadow. The Burgh Hall and Academy, built in 1865-66 at a cost of £7000, is a goodly edifice in the French Gothic style of the 13th century, with a frontage of 132 feet, and a central tower 140 feet high. The Academy, in front, comprises four large class-rooms; and the Hall, to the rear, is 80 feet long, 40 wide, and 37 high, having accommodation for nearly 1000 persons- The County Buildings and Prison, built in 1824 at a cost of over £5000, were in 1863 enlarged by two wings and otherwise reconstructed at a further outlay of £5170; and the Prison now contains 31 cells- A Combination Poorhouse, with accommodation for 156 paupers and 40 lunatics, was erected at a cost of £7000 in 1865; an epidemic hospital in 1874. St John's Masonic Hall (1874-75) has accommodation for 200 persons; the Philosophical and Literary Society (l867) occupies the lower portion of the Town Mission House (1873); and there are also a Mechanics' Institute (1844), the Salmon Club (1796), a curling club (1815), a bowling club (1839), a Burns club (1859), a friendship association (1861), etc. Dumbarton has a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, branches of the Commercial, Clydesdale, and Union Banks, agencies of 32 insurance companies, 2 hotels, and 2 newspapers-the Wednesday Liberal -Dumbarton Herald (185l) and the Saturday Independent -Lennox Herald (1862). Tuesday is market-day, and fairs are held on the third Tuesday in March (St Patrick's) for seeds and horses, the first Wednesday in June (Carman) for cattle and horses, and the second Wednesday in August (Lammas) for cattle and hay.

Extensive glass and chemical works, established in 1777, and employing 300 men, were closed about two years after the death in 1831 of Provost Dixon and his son, then for a time reopened, and finally discontinued in 1850, when their three prominent brick cones were taken down- The stoppage of these works seemed likely to deal a great blow to Dumbarton's well-being; but their place has been more than supplied by shipbuilding, which now employs upwards of 4000 hands. The two great shipbuilding firms are those of Messrs M`Millan (1834) and Messrs Wm. Denny & Bros. (1844). From the yard of the former firm, which covers 5 acres, 198 vessels of 116,348 tons were launched during 184576. Messrs Denny removed in 1857 from the Wood Yard, on the Cardross side, to the Leven Shipyard, on the Dumbarton side, which, covering 15 acres, has six landing berths, each of 3000 tons capacity; and they During 1844-76 turned out 192 vessels of 234,358 tons. Two lesser, but still large, shipyards have been opened since 1871; and the total output was 14,000 tons in 1872,18,400 in 1873,32,000 in 1874,33,000 in 1875, 17,500 in 1876,28,500 in 1877,41,557 in 1878,33,230 in 1879,34,036 in 1880, and 26,296 in 1881. Dumbarton's first iron steamer was launched in 1844, its first screw in 1845, and its first steel steamer in 1879: whilst among the more notable vessels built here are the Peter Stuart (1867) of 1490 tons, the largest iron sailing ship till then constructed in any Scottish port; the Stuart Hahnemann do- (1874) of 2056 tons; and the Ravenna Peninsular and Oriental steam-liner (1880) of 3448 tons. The other industrial establishments of Dumbarton comprise Denny & Co.'s engineering works (1851); Paul & Co. 's engine and boiler works (1847); Ure & Co.'s iron foundry (1835); the Dennystoun Forge (1854), with a 5-ton double-acting Nasmyth steamhammer; 3 saw-mills; a rope and sail yard; brassfounding, boat-building, and ship-painting works, etc. In 1658 the magistrates of Glasgow made overtures to their brethren of Dumbarton for the purchase of ground for an extensive harbour, which the latter rejected on the ground that ` the influx of mariners would tend to raise the price of butter and eggs to the inhabitants- ' Port Glasgow was thereupon founded, and Dumbarton thus lost the chance of becoming a seaport second to few in the world. Down to 1700 the burgh retained its chartered privilege of levying customs and dues on all ships navigating the Clyde between the mouth of the Kelvin and the head of Loch Long, but in that year it sold this privilege to Glasgow for 4500 merks, or £260 sterling. This and the deepening of the Clyde to Glasgow have done much to lower Dumbarton's commercial prestige, and it now ranks merely as a sub-port. Nor are its harbour accommodations great, the improvements carried on since 1852-such as the deepening of the Leven's channel-having generally had less regard to shipping than to shipbuilding. An excellent quay, however, and a capacious dock have been constructed, mainly at the expense of the late James Lang; and in 1874-75 a splendid pier of pitch pine was built at a cost of £8000. Extending from the Castle Rock into the Clyde, it consists of gangway (640 x 15 feet) and pierhead (90 x 25 feet), the river's depth at the extremity of the pier-head being 10 feet at low water, so that steamers can touch at any state of the tide. St Patrick's collegiate church, founded in 1450 by Isabella, Duchess of Albany, at the end of Broadmeadow, fell into disuse at the Reformation, and now is represented by a single tower arch, removed to Church Street in 1850 to make room for the railway station. The old parish church, at the foot of High Street, a quaint, begalleried, cruciform structure, with western spire, was built about 1565, and demolished in 1810. Its successor, completed in 1811 at a cost of £6000, is a handsome edifice, with spire and clock, 1500 sittings, and three stained-glass windows, two of them geometrical designs, and the third (1876) depicting Christ's Sermon on the Mount. A second Established church is now (1882) about to be built in the town; and on the Cardross side is Dalreoch quoad sacra church (1873; cost £2000; 620 sittings)- Free churches are the North (1844; rebuilt 1877) and the High (1864; cost £5000; 850 sittings), a fine Gothic building, with a spire of 140 feet. The U.P. church of West Bridgend (1861) has a good organ; another in High Street (1826) was enlarged and decorated in 1874 at a cost of nearly £2700- Other places of worship are a Wesleyan Methodist chapel (1862), a Baptist chapel (1876), a new Evangelical Union chapel (1882), St Patrick's Roman Catholic church (1830; 500 sittings), and St Augustine's Episcopal church (1872-73; 650 sittings), an Early Geometric Pointed edifice, with nave, side-aisles, lofty clerestory, chancel, and 'sticket' steeple, whose cost, inclusive of a parsonage, came to close on £9000, and which has all but superseded the smaller St Luke's (1856). The Academy, College Street public, West Bridgend public, an Episcopal, and a Roman Catholic school, with respective accommodation for 826,371,530,361, and 373 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 485,533, 314,221, and 262, and grants of £527,19s. 6d-, £398,5s. 6d., £271,14s., £220,2s. 6d., and £177,11s. Apropos of the schools, the famous novelist, Tobias Smollett (1721-74) here learned the ` rudiments ' under Buchanan's vindicator, John Love (1695-1750), who was a native of Dumbarton, as also were the judge, Sir James Smollett of Bonhill (1648-1731), its member for twenty-one years, and Patrick Colquhoun, LL.D- (17451820), the well-known statist and metropolitan magistrate One of its ministers was the Rev. James Oliphant (1734-1818), the 'Auld Light professor' of Burns's Oraination.

Constituted a free royal burgh by Alexander II- in 1222, Dumbarton received fresh charters from several of his successors, all of which were confirmed in 1609 by James VI. It now provost, a townclerk, 3 bailies, a treasurer, a dean of guild, a master of works, and 8 councillors- The General Police and Improvement Act (Scotland) of 1850 was adopted in 1854, and the magistrates an d town council are commissioners of police. An Act was obtained by the magistrates and town council in 1872, empowering them to purchase the old and to erect new gas-works, to improve the water-works, to erect the new pier, and to construct tramways to Alexandria. The police force in 1881 comprised 9 men; and the salary of the superintendent is £150. The sheriff county court is held every Tuesday and Friday during session; the debts recovery court every Friday; the sheriff's ordinary small debt court every Tuesday during session, and occasionally during vacation; and quarter sessions are on the first Tuesday of March, May, and August, and the last Tuesday of October- Dumbarton, along with Kilmarnock, Renfrew, Rutherglen, and Port Glasgow, returns one member to parliament, its municipal and parliamentary constituency numbering 1758 in 1882- The annual value of real property within the parliamentary burgh was £15,004 in 1856, £37,532 in 1875, and £45,898 in 1881-82, when the corporation revenue was £1048, and the harbour revenue £1339 (in 1866, £738)- Pop- of royal burgh (1801) 2541, (1811) 3121, (1821) 3481, (1831) 3623, (1841) 4391, (1851) 4590, (1861) 6090; of parl. burgh (1851) 5445, (1861) 8253, (1871) 11,404, (1881) 13,782, of whom 3482 were in Cardross parish- Houses (1881) 2478 inhabited, 40 vacant, 51 building.

The Castle of Dumbarton is situated on an acute peninsula at the left side of the Leven's influx to the Clyde, and consists partly of a mass of rock, partly of superincumbent buildings. The rock appears to overhang both rivers-huge, mural, weather-worn-for several hundred yards down to their point of confluence. It culminates at 240 feet above sea-level, measures 1 mile in circumference, and figures picturesquely in most of the views of the upper waters of the Firth of Clyde. The rock is of basalt, like Ailsa Craig, the l ass, Stirling Castle Rock, and other single, sharply-outlined heights, that start abruptly from sea or plain It rises sheer from the low circumjacent level, and stands by itself, without any hills near it. The basalt tends to the prismatic form, being slightly columnar, and in places magnetic; and is all the more curious for protruding through beds of sandstone, nearly a mile distant from any other eruptive formation. The rock towards the summit is cloven by a narrow deep chasm into a double p ark, and presents its cloven sides to S and N. The western peak is 30 feet higher than the eastern, but not so broad, and bears the name of Wallace's Seat. The buildings on the rock have differed in extent and form at different times, and do not seem to have ever had any high architectural merit- The entrance, in old times and till a recent period, was on the N side, by a gradually ascending footpath, through a series of gates, which now might be interesting antiquities had they not been sold for old iron. The present entrance is on the S side, through a gateway in a rampart, whence a long flight of steps leads to a battery and the governor's house-a modern white building utterly out of keeping with the character of the place, and used now as the quarter of the married men of the Coast Brigade stationed here. A second, narrower flight leads from the governor's house to the cleft between the two summits, and at one point is overarched by a small structure, alleged to have been the prison of Wallace, but clearly much later than Wallace's day. The barracks, the armoury, the Duke of York's battery, and the water tank stand in the cleft of the rock, and a steep winding stair conducts thence to the top of the western summit. which is surmounted by a flagstaff, and retains vestiges of a small circular building, variously pronounced a windmill, a Roman fort, and a Roman pharos The barracks contain accommodation for only 150 men, and the armoury has lost its 1500 stand of arms since the Crimean war; while the batteries, though capable of mounting 16 guns, would be of little avail for defensive purposes, and at best could only serve to rake the channel of the Clyde. The castle, too, can be fully commanded by artillery from the brow of Dumbuck (547 feet), 1 mile to the E, so that ever since the invention of gunpowder it has been rendered unavailable for its original purposes, but it is maintained as a national fortress, in terms of the Articles of Union. Nor is it undeserving of good maintenance, for, besides forming a noble feature in a most noble landscape, it commands from its western summit three distant prospects-each different, and each of singular beauty. The first up the Clyde towards Glasgow-Dunglass Castle on its promontory, Erskine House opposite, with boats, ships, wooded hills, and many buildings; the second down the broadening estuary-Port Glasgow and Greenock, and the mountains that guard the entrance of Loch Long; and the third up the Vale of Leven, away to the dusky summits of Loch Lomond. 'If the grand outline of any one of the views can be seen, it is sufficient recompense for the trouble of climbing the Rock of Dumbarton.' So thought Dorothy Wordsworth, who, with her brother and Coleridge, made that climb, on 24 Aug. 1803 (pp. 57-62 of her Tour in Scotland, ed. by Princ. Shairp, 1874). Dumbarton has been identified with the Roman naval station Theodosia, with Ossian's Balclutha ('town on the Clyde'), and with Urbs Legionis ('city of the legion'), the scene of Arthur's ninth battle against the heathen Saxons in the beginning of the 6th century. The third identification slightly confirms the first, and itself is strengthened by the town's title of Castrum Arthuri in a record of David II. (1367); of the second we are told that, whilst Ossian says of Balclutha, 'The thistle shakes there its lovely head,' the true Scotch thistle, though really rare in Scotland, does still grow wild on Dumbarton Rock. On this rock (in alto montis Dunbreten) the legend of St Monenna, who died in 519, records that, consecrated a virgin by St Patrick, she founded one of her seven Scotch churches. Be this as it may, from the battle of Ardderyd (573) we find the Cumbrian British kingdom of Strathclyde comprising the present counties of Cumberland, Westmoreland, Dumfries, Ayr, Lanark, Peebles, Renfrew, and Dumbarton; its northern half occupied by the Damnonii, belonging to the Cornish variety of the British race; its first king Rhydderch Hael, Columba's and Kentigern's friend; and its capital the strongly fortified rock on the Clyde's right bank, termed by the Briton's Alcluith (` height on the Clyde '), and by the Gadhelic pcople Dunbreatan (` fort of the Britons '). By the victory in 654 of Osuin or Osway of Northumbria over Penda of Mercia, the ally of these Britons, the latter became Osuin's tributaries; but Ecgfrid's crushing defeat at Dunnichen in 685 restored them to full independence. This lasted down to 756, when a Northumbrian and Pictish army under Eadberct and Angus mac Fergus pressed so hard upon Alclyde, that the place was surrendered after a four months' siege; and four years later we hear of the burning of its fortress, 'which,' says Hill Burton, 'was probably, after the fashion of that day, a large collection of wooden houses, protected by the height of the rock on which it stood, and, where necessary, by embankments' In 870 Alclyde sustained a second four months' siege, this time by the Vikings, under Olaf the White, Norwegian King of Dublin, who reduced its defenders by famine. Before which siege, with the disorganisation of Northumbria, the whole of the British territory from the Clyde to the Derwent had once more become united under its line of independent kings, claiming Roman descent, the last of whom, Donald, died in 908- Thereon the Britons elected Donald, brother to Constantin, King of Alban; and thus Alclyde became dependent on Alban, till in 1018 its sub-king Owen or Eugenius the Bald was succeeded by Duncan, Malcolm II. 's grandson-the 'gracious Duncan' of Macbeth. Malcolm dying in 1034, Duncan succeeded him as King of Scotia, in which Strathclyde thenceforth becomes absorbed. In 1175 the northern portion of the old Cumbrian kingdom, nearly represented by Dumbartonshire, was formed by William the Lyon into the earldom of Levenach or Lennox, and conferred on his brother David- By 1193 this earldom had come into possession of Aluin, the first of a line of Celtic earls, who, down to their extinction in 1425, frequently figure in Dumbarton's history, but who only retained the castle till 1238, from which year onward it was always a royal fortress. As such, during the competition for the Scottish crown (1292), it was delivered up to Edward I. of England, who gave it o to Baliol, on the adjudication in his favour; but from 1296 to 1309 it was held again by the English, with Sir Alexander Monteith for governor. He it was who on 5 Aug. 1305 took Wallace captive at Glasgow, so that likely enough the 'ubiquitous troglodyte' was really for a week a prisoner here, where (as elsewhere) his huge two-handed sword is preserved in the armoury, along with old Lochaber axes and skene-dhus 'from Bannockburn,' flint pistols, rude pikes, and tattered regimental colours. In 1313, according to our least veracious chroniclers, Bruce, almost single-handed, achieved the capture of Dumbarton Castle. A sort of Guy Fawkes and Bluebeard episode this, with keys and a cellar figuring largely therein- the cellar first full of armed English soldiery, who are overawed by the Monarch, and the traitor Monteith next led to it in fetters, but presently pardoned by the magnanimous Hero. Anyhow, by Bruce the castle was committed to the governorship of Sir Malcolm Fleming of Cumbernauld, whose son was one of the few that escaped from Halidon Hill (1333), when Dumbarton became the rallying-point of the remnant adhering to the boy-king, David II. Sir Robert de Erskine was next appointed governor (1357), and after him Sir John de Dennistoun or Danielstoun. He was succeeded by his son, Sir Robert, on whose death in 1 399 Walter, his brother, the parson of Kincardine O'Neil, forcibly seized the castle, as belonging heritably to his family. He held it till 1402, surrendering it then in the hope of obtaining the vacant see of St Andrews-a hope cut short by his death before the end of the year. In 1425 James Stewart, son of the late Regent Albany, and grandson of the eighth and last Celtic Earl of Lennox, assaulted and burned the town of Dumbarton, and murdered the king's uncle, Sir John Stewart, who held the castle with only thirty-two men. Dumbarton was next besieged in 1481 by the fleet of Edward IV., but was bravely and successfully defended by Sir Andrew Wood of Largo. For the next half century the history of Dumbarton is virtually that of the Stewart Earls of Lennox. Their founder, John, having taken up arms against James IV., the castle was twice besieged in 1489-first by the Earl of Argyll without success, and then by the young king himself, who after a six weeks' leaguer compelled the four sons of Lennox to capitulate. The surprise of the castle one stormy night by John, third Earl (1514), the landing here of Albany from France (1515), the establishment of a French garrison (1516), the interception of a large French subsidy (1543) by Matthew, fourth Earl, Lord Darnley's father, and his design of betraying the fortress to England (1544)-these are events that can merely be glanced at in passing. On 7 Aug. 1548 Queen Mary, then six years old, embarked at Dumbarton for France; in July 1563 she paid a second visit to the castle; and hither her army was marching from Hamilton when its progress was barred at Langside, 13 May 1568. For nearly three years the castle held out for her under its governor, John, fifth Lord Fleming; and the story of how it was taken by escalade on the night of 1 April 1571 deserves to be told with some fulness. Captain Thomas Craufurd of Jordanhill, to whom the attack was entrusted, had long been attached to the house of Lennox. He it was whose evidence was so important regarding the death of Darnley, and who afterwards accused Lethington as one of the murderers, since which time he appears to have resumed the profession of aims. In the enterprise he was assisted by Cunningham, commonly called the Laird of Drumwhassel, one of the bravest and most skilful officers of his time, and he had been fortunate in bribing the assistance of a man named Robertson, who, having once been warden in the castle, knew every crag of the rock, 'where it was best to climb, and where fewest ladders would serve.' With him and a hundred picked men Craufurd set out from Glasgow after sunset. He had sent before him a few light horse to prevent intelligence by stopping all wayfarers, and about midnight he arrived at Dumbuck, within a mile of the castle, where he was joined by Drumwhassel and Captain Hume. Here he explained to the soldiers the hazardous service on which they were engaged, provided them with ropes and scaling ladders, and, advancing quickly and noiselessly, reached the rock, whose summit was fortunately wrapped in a heavy fog, whilst the bottom was clear. But, on the first attempt, all was likely to be lost. The ladders lost their hold while the soldiers were on them; and had the garrison been on the alert, the noise must have inevitably betrayed them. They listened, however, and all was still. Again the ladders were fixed, and, their 'craws' or steel hooks this time catching firmly in the crevices, the leaders gained a small out-jutting ledge, where an ash tree had struck its roots. Fixing the ropes to its branches, they speedily towed up the rest of their comrades. They were still, however, fourscore fathoms from the wall. They had reached but the middle of the rock, day was breaking, and when, for the second time, they planted their ladders, a singular impediment occurred. One of the soldiers in ascending was seized with a fit, in which he convulsively grasped the steps so firmly, that no one could either pass him or unloose his hold. But Craufurd's presence of mind suggested a ready expedient; he tied him to the ladder and turned it round, so the passage was once more free. They were now at the bottom of the wall, where the footing was narrow and precarious; but once more fixing their ladders in the copestone, Alexander Ramsay, Craufurd's ensign, and two other soldiers, stole up, and though at once discovered by a sentinel, leapt down and slew him, sustaining the attack of three of the guard till they were joined- by Craufurd and the rest. Their weight and struggles to surmount it brought the wall down with a run, and afforded an open breach, through which they rushed in shouting, 'A Darnley, a Darnley !' Craufurd's watchword, given evidently from affection to his hapless master, the murdered king. According to Dr Hill Burton, the point thus gained was the top of the western peak, the ascent being made to the left of the present entrance; and from this vantage-ground the assailants now turned the cannon on the garrison, who, panic-struck, attempted no resistance. Fleming, the governor, from long familiarity with the rock, managed to escape down the face of an almost perpendicular gully, and, passing through a postern which opened upon the Clyde, threw himself into a fishing-boat, and so passed over to Argyllshire. In this achievement the assailants lost not a man, and of the garrison only four were slain. In the castle were taken prisoner John Hamilton, Archbishop of St Andrews, who was found with mail shirt and steel cap on, Verac, the French ambassador, Fleming of Boghall, and John Hall, an English gentleman, who had fled to Scotland after Dacre's rebellion. Lady Fleming, the wife of the governor, was also taken, and treated by the Regent courteously, being suffered to go free, and carry off with her her plate and furniture. But Hamilton. the primate, was instantly brought to trial for the murder of Darnley and Moray, condemned, and hanged and quartered without delay.

In 1581, as a signal and crowning favour, Esmé Stewart, the new-made Duke of Lennox, received the governorship of Dumbarton Castle, one of the three great national fortresses; in 1639 it was seized on a Sunday by the Covenanters, its captain, 'a vigilant gentleman,' attending church with so many of the garrison that, they being taken on their homeward way, the place was defenceless. It was, however, recaptured by the Royalists, to be lost again on 28 Aug. of the following year. Thereafter the castle drops quietly out of history, a visit from Queen Victoria on 7 Aug. 1847 being all that remains to be noticed. Nor of the town is there anything worthier of record than the injury done it by floods of the Leven in 1334, and again in the early years of the 17th century, when the magistrates felt obliged to apply to parliament for aid in constructing bulwarks. A commission of 1607 reported that 'na less nor the sowme of threttie thousand poundis Scottis money was abill to beir out and furneis the necessar charges and expenses in pforming these warkis that are liable to saif the said burgh from utter destructioune.' A grant of 25,000 merks Scots was accordingly made for the purpose by parliament; and, this proving insufficient, a farther sum of 12,000 was afterwards granted by King James. In 1675 Dumbarton gave the title of Earl in the peerage of Scotland to George, third son of the first Marquis of Douglas, but this peerage became extinct at the death of his son about the middle of the 18th century.

The parish of Dumbarton is bounded NW by Bonhill; N by Kilmaronock; NE by Drymen and Killearn in Stirlingshire; SE by Old Kilpatrick; S, for 3 furlongs, by the river Clyde, which separates it from Renfrewshire; and W by the river Leven, dividing it from Cardross. Its utmost length, from NE to SW, is 6½ miles; its breadth, from E to W, varies between 1½ furlong and 55/8 miles; and its area is 8563 acres, of which 98¾ are foreshore and 174 water. The Leven winds 41/8 miles southward along all the western border, and is joined from the interior by Murroch Burn; whilst Overton Burn, tracing munch of the south-eastern boundary, and itself joined by Black Burn, flows direct to the Clyde. The southern and western districts, to the mean distance of 1¼ mile from the Leven, present no striking natural feature except the Castle Rock, in whose vicinity they lie so little above sea-level as to be sometimes flooded by spring tides. From this low valley the surface rises north-eastward to Auchenreoch and Dumbarton Muirs, attaining 895 feet at Knockshanoch, 1228 at Doughnot Hill, 1118 at Knockupple, and 892 at Knockvadie. Limestone abounds at Murroch Glen, 2½ miles NNE of the town; red sandstone is quarried on the moors; and an excellent white sandstone occurs at Dalreoch, in Cardross parish. The soil-in a few fields a rich alluvinm-in some of the arable tracts is very clayey, in others gravelly, and in most somewhat shallow, yet generally fertile; whilst that of the moors is sparse, and of little value. Strathleven, on the river Leven opposite Renton, is the chief mansion. Dumbarton is seat of a presbytery in the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the living is worth £202. Valuation of landward portion (1882) £5 108,5s. Pop. of entire parish (1801) 2541, (1831) 3623, (1861) 6304, (1871) 8933, (1881) 10,837, of whom 538 were in the landward portion.—Ord. Sur., sh. 30,1866.

The presbytery of Dumbarton comprises the old parishes of Arrochar, Baldernock, Balfron, Bonhill, Buchanan, Cardross, Drymen, Dumbarton, Fintry, Killearn, Kilmaronock, New Kilpatrick, Old Kilpatrick, Luss, Roseneath, Row, and Strathblane; the quoad sacra parishes of Alexandria, Clydebank, Craigrownie, Dalreoch, Garelochhead, Helensburgh, Jamestown, Milngavie, and Renton; and the chapelries of Duntocher, Helensburgh - West, and Kilcreggan. Pop. (1871) 56,216, (1881) 70,081, of whom 8971 were communicants of the Church of Scotland in 1878.-The Free Church also has a presbytery of Dumbarton, with 2 churches at Dumbarton, 2 at Helensburgh, 3 at Renton, and 14 at respectively Alexandria, Arrochar, Baldernock, Bonhill, Bowling, Cardross, Duntocher, Garelochhead, Killcarn. Luss, Old Kilpatrick, Roseneath, Shandon, and Strathblane, which 21 churches together had 4262 members in 1881. See, besides works cited under Dumbartonshire, John Glen's History of the Town and Castle of Dumbarton (Dumb. 1847); William Fraser's The Lennox (2 vols., Edinb., 1874); and Donald Macleod's Castle and Town of Dumbarton (Dumb. 1877).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better