NS3974 : Dumbarton Rock: the Portcullis Arch

taken 16 years ago, near to Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, Great Britain

Dumbarton Rock: the Portcullis Arch
Dumbarton Rock: the Portcullis Arch
[This is one of a linked series of articles about Dumbarton Rock. See the end of Link for a list of the reference works that are cited here in abbreviated form.]

As mentioned in the article about the Guard House ( Link ), there is a narrow defile that ascends the southern side of the Rock, between the two peaks. It leads from a low terrace where the present-day Governor's House stands (in the medieval castle, this area was referred to as the Nether Bailey), to a high terrace on the area between the peaks (this area was known as the Over Bailey). There were two defensive structures spanning this defile at different heights; of these, the upper barrier was the Portcullis Arch, which is shown here [OSG07, p5, 9].

This probably dates to the fourteenth century; it is the oldest surviving structure on the Rock. Its function is two-fold: not only does it defend this narrow southern cleft, but it also served as a bridge providing easier access to a watch-tower (called the White Tower) which is now completely destroyed, but which once stood on the western peak of the Rock (that peak is still known as White Tower Crag) [OSG92, p16; HD, p73].

Even in the present-day layout of the castle, steps on top of the Portcullis Arch are the means of reaching the summit of the western peak; note the railings that are visible on top of the arch.

Previous: NS3974 : Dumbarton Rock: Carved face on Guard House.
Next: NS3974 : Dumbarton Rock: the French Prison.
Dumbarton Rock and Castle :: NS4074

The Rock is a volcanic plug, and it has a long history as a fortified site. For further information, see the Geograph article "Dumbarton Rock and Castle": Link

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NS3974, 250 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Monday, 8 August, 2005   (more nearby)
Thursday, 2 July, 2009
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts 
Place (from Tags)
Dumbarton Rock 
Period (from Tags)
14th Century 
Arches   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3999 7447 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:56.1944N 4:33.7927W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3999 7446
View Direction
North-northwest (about 337 degrees)
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Portcullis Arch 

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