[This is the first of a linked series of articles about the various present-day buildings and structures that make up the castle on Dumbarton Rock; earlier periods of occupation and fortification are also discussed. The various references that are cited in an abbreviated form below are listed at the end of this article; the same references are cited in the other articles in this series. Those who are more interested in the archaeology of the Rock, and the fortifications located here in the Early Historic Period (when the site was the capital of the Strathclyde Britons), may wish to refer to NS4074 : Dumbarton Rock: sentry box and curtain wall
King George's Battery, an angle-pointed gun bastion that consists of the sentry box visible in this photo and the adjacent sections of wall, was built as part of a large-scale Georgian remodelling of the fortifications of Dumbarton Castle; this work was ordered by General Wade in response to rumours (in 1727) of a planned Jacobite invasion [MacPhail, p144]. The ruinous northern defenses were repaired first, in 1728; next, in the 1730s, a major rebuilding of the southern and western defences was carried out under the direction of Captain John Romer [OSG07, p10].
This rebuilding work included, in 1735, the building of King George's Battery. The date of construction is inscribed upon a quoin at the angle of the battery, accompanied by initials denoting the governor and lieutenant-governor of the castle [MacPhail, p144]: NS4074 : Date stone below sentry box
. The round-domed pepperpot sentry box is in Romer's hallmark style; other examples can be seen in Edinburgh Castle's northern and western defences [OSG92, p20]. This battery was built on the site of a demolished seventeenth-century barbican [OSG07, p11].
Although this is the only present-day entrance to Dumbarton Castle, it was originally the postern or back gate; the main entrance of the medieval castle was on the north. That entry, which was protected by a tall building called the Wallace Tower, was blocked up and finally abandoned as a point of entry in about 1795 [HD, p74-75].
The building visible at the upper right corner of this photo is the Governor's House, which is the subject of the next item in this series.
Next: NS4074 : Dumbarton Rock: The Governor's House
● [HD]: "Historic Dumbarton: The Scottish burgh survey", E.P.Dennison and R.Coleman (1999).
● [MacPhail]: "Dumbarton Castle", I.M.M.MacPhail (1979, John Donald Publishers).
● [OSG92]: "Dumbarton Castle: Official Souvenir Guide" (1992, Historic Scotland).
● [OSG07]: "Dumbarton Castle: Official Souvenir Guide" (2007, Historic Scotland).