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Dunglass Castle

Dunglass Castle Scotland

Dunglass was the stronghold of the Barony of Colquhoun. and in military importance it was second only to Dumbarton Castle. It was used as an outpost to Dumbarton, and was originally built around 1380. Sir John Colquhoun, Chamberlain of Scotland lived here during the reigns of James II and after his death in 1478 his widow, Lady Elizabeth Dunbar, Countess of Murray stayed on at the castle. In 1484 the Lords of the Council decreed that she should " uphold the said lands, place, tenements and orchards yearly, in as good a state of repair as when she received them" presumably because she had been neglecting the place.

James IV attacked Dumbarton Castle during the first year of his reign and while trying to oust the Captain, the Earl of Lennox, sent for a heavy gun, named Duchal, to be based at Dunglass. Before the gun arrived the Earl of Argyll, who was directing operations, was driven out of the town of Dunglass when the houses were fired, leaving the way clear for Lennox and his rebels to escape to the north, where they were later surprised and defeated at Aberfoyle.

In the 16th Century Sir Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss built the turreted mansion inside the walls of the old castle, but did not spend much time here, for not long after he was slain in his own castle of Bannachra. The story is told that having been beaten in a skirmish with the MacFarlanes of Arrochar he fled to Bannachra, but was followed by his enemies who surrounded the house and bribed one of the servants to point out his master, whereupon a skilled bowman killed the knight with an arrow.

The Colquhouns kept Dunglass until about the beginning of the 18th Century. In 1738 it belonged to the Edmonstones of Dentreath and from then on it deteriorated into its ruined state. In 1783 the Commissioners for Supply for the County of Dumbarton ordered stones to be taken from the castle to repair the nearby quay. This vandalism continued until 1812, when Mr. Buchan of Auchentorlie bought the castle and added yet another wing to the 16th Century mansion.

Dunglass was a courtyard type of castle of which the main feature was a strong surrounding wall pierced by arrow-slits. Against this wall permanent and temporary buildings were erected, and although little of these remains there are signs of stone seats and windows to be found. Along the top of the south wall are still several corbels which supported a platform from which the defenders shot arrows or poured boiling pitch on the enemy below. The door in the south wall was the sea-gate, which was used as the main approach at this time when roads were almost non-existent; this was defended by a platform above and a gun-loop at the side. Inside the door a stair which led to the rooms above the gate rises sharply to the left. At the landing place by the sea-gate the Colquhouns moored their galleys, which were made compulsory by an act of James I for all lords having land near the sea. Dunglass is now in ruins.

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