1. During the Wars of Independence William Wallace sent three English knights - William Fitzwarin, William de Ros and Sir Marmaduke Tweng - to Dumbarton Castle as prisoners. He ordered them to be held in chains rather than the comfort normally afforded to wealthy captives.
2. William Wallace himself may have briefly been a prisoner here in 1305. Thereafter he was taken via Carlisle to London for execution.
Attacked by the Picts, the English, the Vikings, Oliver Cromwell and by James IV in his efforts against the rebellious Earl of Lennox, Dumbarton Castle has had a colourful history. Known as the ‘Rock of the Clyde’ it remained garrisoned upto and including World War II.
HISTORY OF DUMBARTON CASTLE
Known in the Dark Ages as the "Rock of the Clyde", Dumbarton Rock has been the site of a fortification for at least 1500 years. As the ancient capital of the British kingdom of Strathclyde - a kingdom that stretched from Loch Lomond to Cumbria - it was attacked by Picts and Northumbrians in the eighth century and by the Viking warlord Olaf 'the White' in the ninth. With the ascendancy of Duncan I in 1034, Strathclyde ceased to exist and was incorporated into the wider political entity of the kingdom of Scotland. In 1098 neighbouring Argyll was conceded to the King of Norway and Dumbarton became an important frontier fortress especially from the 1220s onwards as the Scottish King Alexander II fought with Norway to reclaim Argyll.
During the Wars of Independence the castle was taken by the English in the invasion of 1296 but, following the defeat at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, the garrison withdrew. When the Second War of Scottish Independence erupted in 1332, early English success at the Battle of Halidon Hill (1333) saw their forces surge back into Scotland. Dumbarton Castle was one of only five fortifications to hold out for the young King David II (the others were Kildrummy, Loch Doon, Lochleven and Urquhart). The King stayed at the castle on his way to exile in France.
The fifteenth century was not much quieter for Dumbarton; held against the King by the Earl of Lennox it was besieged by James IV and only surrendered when Mons Meg, the great siege gun, was brought from Edinburgh Castle. Lennox regained the castle after James was killed at the Battle of Flodden (1513) but lost it again to the new King's supporters.
During the Civil War the castle fell to Oliver Cromwell without a fight. It remained a key strategic location however and, to protect against a combined French/Jacobite threat, the castle was upgraded in 1724 with the installation of the gun batteries, magazine and turrets seen today. The castle was garrisoned until WWII.