Scheduled Monument

Dumbarton CastleSM90107

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (

The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Crosses and carved stones: inscribed stone, Prehistoric domestic and defensive: fort (includes hill fort and promontory fort), Secular: artillery mount; castle
Local Authority
West Dunbartonshire
NS 39999 74486
239999, 674486


The monument consists of a volcanic plug of basalt on which are the remains of a) a Dark-Age fort, b) a medieval castle, and c) a Georgian garrison.

The Dark-Age fort is represented by buried archaeological evidence and by two carved stones (located in the Governor's House). The medieval castle is represented by the Wallace Tower, the Portcullis Arch and the Guard House. The Georgian fortress is represented by the Governor's House, the French Prison, the Magazine and by the present curtain walls and gun-batteries.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, consisting of the volcanic basalt plug with all its surviving buildings, walls, fences, stairs and paths, and measures 250m E-W by 260m N-S, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because Dumbarton Rock has one of the longest recorded histories as a stronghold in Britain. There is known to be significant archaeological evidence for the Dark-Age fort of Alcluith, which was the 'capital' of the British kingdom of Strathclyde. There are significant upstanding elements of the medieval royal castle, built as an important frontier fortress and later used as a place of safety and state prison. The fortifications and buildings constructed for the Georgian garrison in the 18th century are among the most important surviving in Britain.



RCAHMS records the monument as NS47SW 5.


Alcock, L, 1975-76, 'A multi-disciplinary chronology for Alt Clut, Castle Rock, Dumbarton', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, 107, 103-13.

MacIvor, I, 1986, Dumbarton Castle, Edinburgh.

McPhaill, I M M, 1979, Dumbarton Castle, Edinburgh.

Historic Environment Scotland Properties

Dumbarton Castle

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Related Designations


    Designation Type
    Listed Building (A)

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 18/04/2021 04:11